OAKLAND -- With Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, DeMarcus Cousins or Klay Thompson all restricted to the sidelines Monday night, the Warriors tried something new to shake things up.
The Warriors were not trying to win the game. This was the third of five preseason games, against a Phoenix Suns team they expect to wallop once the results actually matter, so they wanted to get their edge on.
Kevin Durant was whistled for a technical foul in the second quarter. Stephen Curry took his turn nine seconds into the second half, which led directly to coach Steve Kerr getting T’d up in back-to-back fashion and, therefore, being ejected.
Four technical fouls and not a Warrior in the locker room expressed the slightest remorse.
“I love it,” Curry said.
“It was cool,” Quinn Cook said.
“It was a good reason,” Damian Jones said.
Kerr’s mini-tantrum and ejection, punctuated by a wave goodbye to referee Ben Taylor pretty much summed up this 117-109 loss to the Suns. The game was ugly enough to be considered a crime, so the Warriors played it for what it was worth.
They’re looking for little things to motivate them beyond the usual championship goal. Sometimes, emotion fills that need. Why not practice it now?
“I love it,” Curry said. “We’ve got a good vibe going about what we’re doing. It’s never too early to get that fire going. We’ll see how we sustain that throughout the year. But when a blatant call that should go one way goes the other, (Kerr is) going to have a reaction to it. It doesn’t matter whether it’s preseason, regular season or the playoffs. It’s nice for him to have that fire.”
To be fair, the officiating crew -- Derrick Collins and Jonathan Sterling, along with Taylor -- were in preseason form. The whistles were at times unnecessarily active and at other times mute when there were clear calls to be made.
That the Warriors fell behind late in the first quarter never caught up also may have been a factor for the hostility in the air.
“The ref called a lot of offensive fouls, and that last one he called got us all riled up,” Kevin Durant said.
Yet Kerr conceded that when he came stomping onto the court, it was by design. Asked if he was trying to get sent into the locker room.
“Yes, I was trying to make a point and trying to back up my guys,” he said. “We had all these offensive fouls one after another and I finally had enough.”
In the end, however, Kerr recognized what was obvious almost from the start. The Suns played like a team trying to win.
“I thought Steph looked great,” Kerr said of Curry, who scored a game-high 23 points in 24 minutes. “We did not play good defense. We weren’t ready for the task tonight and that’s OK. It’s game three of the preseason.”
Passion can matter in the regular season. Too much of it can be a liability. The Warriors through this experience got to know each other a little better. They bonded over giggles. Maybe it’ll make a difference once the games count.