OAKLAND - Less than 24 hours after the Warriors beat the Denver Nuggets and kept pace atop the Western Conference, the team's focus shifted towards goal that's only been achieved in spurts this season: Consistency.
Finding a consistent effort is important to Golden State as the team navigates through the stretch run of the season.
"That's the goal," coach Steve Kerr said following Saturday's practice. "We're focused on all the little details that have alluded us the last couple weeks but great effort last night. We took care of a lot of those details and now the goal is to be consistent with it and build our habits."
Friday's 122-105 win over Denver capped off of a peculiar stretch for the Warriors. Since the All-Star break, the team has been up-and-down after winning 11 straight games in January. Over their last eight games entering Friday, Golden State was just 3-5, giving up more than 115 points per game.
In the last week, the Warriors seemed to have two personalities. One of persistence, displayed in a 120-117 road win over the Philadelphia 76ers on March. 2. The other, a lack of focus, was evident during a 128-95 beatdown to the Boston Celtics two nights later, the worst home loss under Kerr.
The loss to Boston caused the team to "look in the mirror" for the next three days prior to the win against Denver.
"Sometimes you can have a good loss," forward Andre Iguodala said. "Sometimes losses are good and they wake you up a little bit."
The irony of the Warriors' troubles this season is that they've been a model of consistent excellence for the last five years. Under Kerr, the team has finished the regular season no lower than second place in the Western Conference. Even this season, with the on-court bickering between Draymond Green and Kevin Durant, the uncertainty of Durant's future beyond the season and integrating DeMarcus Cousins, Golden State enters the last 17 games of the season atop the West.
"We're first place in the West so you have to have some type of consistency it's just that the standards that we set for ourselves it's just about having the right energy night in and night out," Iguodala said. "It's tough to do over the course of a four or five-year stretch but that's a part of the mental challenge. It's good for us to have and see how we can continue going into the playoffs."
Last season, during a similar stretch, Golden State finished the regular season 7-10, and ended the season second in the Western Conference for the first time under Kerr. Now, almost exactly a year later, the Warriors hope history doesn't repeat itself.
"We've got to put ourselves in a position where we can play good basketball and everything else will take care of itself."