Warriors

Steve Kerr thinks Warriors can improve fans' energy by playing better

Steve Kerr thinks Warriors can improve fans' energy by playing better

OAKLAND - Following Sunday's loss to the Phoenix Suns, Warriors guard Klay Thompson urged the Oracle Arena crowd to be better, and lamented the lack of energy from the home fans.

Fewer than 24 hours later, Warriors coach Steve Kerr took a more diplomatic approach when he was asked about Golden State's homecourt advantage. Kerr admitted a change in fan engagement, but noted the team's on-court play can be a factor in how spectators cheer. 

"I don't think there are any obligations," Kerr said Monday. "The teams that I cheer for, I don't feel obligated to cheer. There's no obligation. People follow us, people are sports fans because they are interested the team and the sport and the energy of it all, and it's on the team to make it interesting and make it compelling.

"I think we've done a pretty good job of that here and we've been blessed to have amazing fans here in the Bay Area, so it all ties together. Let's put a better effort out on the floor, and give our fans something to cheer for."

Thompson criticized the crowd on Sunday, saying he expects fans "to be a little more into it" during games. On Monday, Kerr said he agreed with Thompson, saying that fans have become accustomed to a certain standard over the last five years,

[RELATED: Kerr jokes about viral lip-reading comment about Draymond]

But, Kerr thinks the Warriors, who have lost three of their last five games at home, can control fan reaction with on-court play. 

“I think I understood what he was talking about but like I said its all tied together," Kerr said. "When you play well, when you play with a great energy, a great pace and spirit, fans are going to be naturally more excited. And on the flip side, the fans were probably more excited five years ago than they are now because the journey was fresh and new and it's different now. It's different for everybody.

"I do know one thing, we thrive off on the energy at Oracle. The fans have helped us win at a high level and we need them, but we have to give them more to cheer about."

Warriors fans will next have an opportunity to plead their case on March 21, when Golden State hosts the Indiana Pacers.

Giannis' NBA All-Star Game block on LeBron James had Steph Curry hyped

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Giannis' NBA All-Star Game block on LeBron James had Steph Curry hyped

Here's a sentence I didn't think I would write Sunday: Officiating decisions in the NBA All-Star Game brought out plenty of passion.

Not just for degenerate gamblers, mind you. The NBA's format change, where the winner had to score 24 more points (in honor of Kobe Bryant) in the fourth quarter than the leading score of the third, led to one of the best finishes to an All-Star Game in recent memory. The All-Stars brought it on defense, with Kyle Lowry drawing multiple offensive fouls. The intensity was perhaps best defined by Giannis Antetokounmpo guarding fellow All-Star captain and namesake LeBron James in isolation. 

Antetokounmpo's block on James originally was ruled a goaltend, prompting vehement disagreement from injured Warriors star Steph Curry watching with his wife Ayesha on vacation. Steph's reaction, posted on Ayesha's Instagram story, was catnip for Giannis-to-the-Warriors truthers. 

"Review it!" Curry, who played for Team Giannis in the 2019 NBA All-Star Game, shouted. "That's not goaltending!"

Curry hasn't played since breaking his left hand just before Halloween, but the two-time MVP sent Warriors fans into a speculative frenzy when he appeared to say "Let's do it" to Antetokounmpo after Bucks beat the Dubs at Chase Center last month. Curry insisted he wasn't recruiting another lanky swingman, telling Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes he talked to Antetokounmpo about playing "Player Unknown's Battlegrounds."

Antetokounmpo, in case you haven't heard, can become an unrestricted free agent in 2021. Teams reportedly already are clearing the decks ahead of his free agency, including the Miami Heat and Toronto Raptors. NBC Sports Bay Area's Monte Poole wrote last month that the Warriors will be among the Greek superstar's suitors and do all they can to clear enough salary-cap space beforehand. 

[RELATED: Siakam jokes about Raps' anti-Steph defense in All-Star Game]

There are hurdles to clear. The Warriors already have four players (Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins) signed to max contracts, for one. They can't exactly bet on the same salary-cap spike that left enough room to sign Kevin Durant in 2016, either, considering the league's television contracts are a half-decade away from expiring and commissioner Adam Silver said the NBA expects to lose "hundreds of millions" of dollars China's backlash to Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey's support of Hong Kong protestors. 

Still, after seeing Sunday's shockingly competitive fourth quarter (this was an All-Star Game, after all), anything is possible in the NBA. 

Pascal Siakam jokes about using box-and-1 defense in NBA All-Star Game

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Pascal Siakam jokes about using box-and-1 defense in NBA All-Star Game

Pascal Siakam was ready to pull from the playbook his Toronto Raptors used to try to slow down Warriors guard Steph Curry ... in Sunday's NBA All-Star Game? 

Kawhi Leonard, Siakam's former Raptors teammate, channeled Curry at the United Center on Sunday. The 2019 NBA Finals MVP made eight 3-pointers Sunday, and a mic'd-up Siakam joked that the Nick Nurse-coached Team Giannis would turn to a strategy Nurse's Raptors briefly used against Curry last June: The box-and-1 defense. 

"No more 3s, bro!" Siakam joked. 

"Y'all gonna deny me?" Leonard laughed. 

"Box-and-1!" 

The Raptors used the strategy against Curry in Game 2 of the NBA Finals after Klay Thompson left with an injury. Kevin Durant hadn't returned at that point, either, leaving Curry as the Warriors' best -- and, arguably, only -- offensive option. 

Curry was held off the scoresheet in that fourth quarter, and the two-time MVP didn't attempt a single shot. He called the defense "janky" after the Warriors' win to even the series, but the Raptors again used the box-and-1 in a Game 4 win and kept Curry occupied with multiple defenders all series. The Warriors' depleted roster didn't help matters, but the Raptors' containment of Curry -- along with Leonard's MVP performance -- allowed Toronto to win its first NBA title. 

[RELATED: Dubs' Toscano-Anderson visits pivotal stop on NBA journey]

Siakam's joke didn't come to fruition Sunday, and it might not have worked anyway. Leonard led Team LeBron to a 157-155 All-Star Game win under the new format, scoring a game-high 30 points and winning the first-ever Kobe Bryant All-Star Game MVP. 

The fourth quarter got pretty competitive Sunday, with the All-Stars playing to a set score -- "first to 157," just as you did growing up -- rather than counting down the clock. Raptors guard Kyle Lowry even took multiple charges! We'll have to wait until (at least) next year to see if that competitiveness extends to truly employing a Steph-stopping defense.