The Golden State Warriors spent Tuesday decompressing in their various ways and then returned to their actual job – which, since you need to know, meant Kevin Durant working on his shooting with a bit of advice from consultant/soccer maven Steve Nash.
He did not discuss The Thing. Neither did Draymond Green, who wasn’t at practice, or Stephen Curry, who got a haircut, or Klay Thompson, who was working on his own shot in another corner of the gym.
Which is where Steve Kerr came in with the daily mantra: “It’s what we do.”
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“What we do” is a nice catch-all for whatever task is presented to the Warriors at any given moment. Right now, what they do is try to figure how to stop losing basketball games in this upcoming home stand, starting with Oklahoma City Wednesday night. "What we don't do," by extension, is obsessing on the Eight Days Of Rage that have been stretched out from their original three because the Warriors are breaking out a rare losing streak to keep it alive for us.
Toward that end, Kerr chatted up the notion that even their current struggles are not that extraordinary. Several times he referenced the fact that the Warriors closed last regular season 7-10, including a 40-point blowout loss to Utah in Game 82, and then foiled the Houston Rockets to win their third title in four years.
“We looked a little out of sync and then we got to the the postseason and I think we averaged 11 turnovers a game and we had the best defensive numbers of any of the 16 teams,” Kerr reminisced, trying to reinforce the notion that the outside world will do what the outside world will do, but the Warriors’ main jobs are to tidy up their play and wait for health to happen to them.
They can also try to find new ways to spring Thompson for the open looks he requires. His three-point percentage of .321 is easily the worst of his career, and if you remove the 14-for-24 night in his 52-point performance in Chicago, it is a hideous .265, which would rank him 296th out of 441 total players.
In other words, the Warriors are trying to do basic game maintenance while letting the tumult of The Story We Can’t Let Die churn outside the walls.
If there is anything they can cling to, it is that the NBA never doesn’t have drama elsewhere; it is the off-network reality show that makes the basketball seem like a mere prop. Indeed, when Durant has complained that people aren’t paying more attention to the games, he kind of misses the point of much NBA coverage – that it is often the side stories and internal politics that make the 82 games more endurable.
The Washington Wizards have become an absolute clown show, with salary cap problems surrounding a team that essentially hates itself. The Cleveland Cavaliers just dumped J.R. Smith, the Bay Area’s Player of the Game from Game 1 of last year’s Finals. LeBron James remains the perpetual go-to guy when all else is quiet.
And then there are the Warriors in all their current weirdo splendor. The difference here, of course, is that everyone gets the end game and once they get over the irritation when The Story is brought up again, they’ll be able to get back to “That’s what we do.”
Because for four years now, that’s been exactly what they do. Now they have to get back to doing it, and to do that, they have to get healthy, get accurate, get efficient and get a new narrative. In that order. After all, if they didn’t want noise, they shouldn’t have bothered to do all that winning.