OAKLAND -- Going up and down the roster, from one side of the locker room to the other, there is no sense of alarm among the Warriors as they enter the final turn of the season without their All-Star backcourt.
No Stephen Curry, no Klay Thompson and no panic.
Not even a hint, even as multiple losses to vastly inferior teams have contributed to the Warriors sitting in an unfamiliar place, No. 2 in the Western Conference.
“People are seeing that we’ve been a little vulnerable, and it scares them,” coach Steve Kerr said after practice Thursday.
“But it doesn’t scare us.”
This comes one night after Kevin Durant calmly directed the Warriors to a 117-106 win over a resurgent Lakers team that had won 20 of its last 29 games. With Draymond Green joining Curry and Thompson on the sideline, Durant scored 26 points and, moreover, seemed at ease single-handedly filling the leadership void.
“The way I approach the game is with confidence,” he said after the game. “I’m not trying to tell everybody what to do every single play. That’s just not how I get down and I don’t think people respond well to that. I was trying to tell guys what I see at the moment, and if it needed correction I’m going to correct it at the moment. And I’ll let it simmer for a couple plays until it boils over if it’s not bad.”
Though Green missed only one game and will return Friday, the Warriors are bracing for the possibility that Curry and Thompson won’t be back until the end of the month.
Already three games behind the Houston Rockets in the race for the overall No. 1 seed, the Warriors are facing late-season adversity for the first time under Kerr, who took over prior to the 2014-15 season.
Between the injuries to the All-Star guards and the team’s place in the standings, anxiety levels are rising among many citizens of Dub Nation.
“We know our fans panic a little bit,” Kerr said. “But nobody’s out for the year. Guys are out for a couple weeks. It’ll be good for them and be good for us, for the rest of the guys.
“We have seemed invulnerable the last few years. You’re never invulnerable. People are seeing our vulnerability this year, but we’ve always known that we were vulnerable. We all are. It’s just been exposed more this year through injury, through whatever. It’s all part of it.”
Kerr noted that he receives updates from the team’s communications boss, Raymond Ridder, that provide the pulse of the fan base. That’s enough for the coach to get a feel for the chatter about the team. And, yes, it is more pensive now than it was in the latter stages of seasons past.
“I’m not on the message boards going, ‘Come on, Joe from Piedmont. We’re actually fine. We’re going to be OK, Joe,’ ” Kerr said.
That comment was followed by laughter, which is not in short supply around the Warriors. The culture instilled by Kerr, along with abundant assistance of Curry, has resulted in a belief that won’t shake their confidence and won’t strip them of humor.
The Warriors believe now, just as they believed on opening night when they were presented with championship rings earned last season.
It’s just a different route, one with a few more pitfalls and potholes, especially over the final weeks.
“Everybody is getting an opportunity to play,” center Zaza Pachulia said. “They’re in shape. They feel the game. During the playoffs, it’s all we’re going to see how the series is going to go, how the matchup is going to go. The good thing is, everybody is going to be ready.”
Kerr is thankful the injuries are coming now, rather than at any time in April.
“The timing of all this, hopefully, is going to work out,” he said. “We’re going to have two or three weeks to finish the year with everybody back and ready to go.
“But you can’t ever count on that. You don’t know what’s going to happen. But the nature of our injury situation right now is that it looks like we’re going to have everyone healthy down the stretch. That’s what we’re hoping for.”