OAKLAND (AP) — So what if coach Steve Kerr added a pair of extra turnovers to his team’s ugly, uncharacteristic two-day total? He made his point that the Golden State Warriors’ sloppy play of late must stop, well before the playoffs begin as the record-setting NBA champions chase another title.
“Yeah, 46 turnovers in the last 36 hours, inexcusable,” Kerr said of what should actually have been 44 turnovers. “I think the team leading the league averages 12 or 13 a game so some are going to happen, but I can rattle off 10 easy that were just inexcusable. Sometimes the game comes too easy for our guys and they just think they can do anything.”
That’s largely because Golden State has been so, so good this season — far better than during that special run to the franchise’s first title in 40 years last year.
Sure, the Warriors won a 45th straight regular-season home game on Monday night to surpass the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls’ previous-best mark and improve to 56-6. Yes, reigning MVP Stephen Curry became the first player in NBA history to make 300 3-pointers in a single season — with 20 games still to go.
“It’s still kind of surreal to have accomplished that knowing that I love to shoot the ball and I try to do it at a high level,” Curry said.
All those milestones can be properly celebrated, Kerr just wants more from this group than what he has seen of late. He wants his Warriors to know one thing about the turnovers after matching a season high with 24 on Monday against the Magic: “That’s kind of our weakness.”
“If we don’t get that cleaned up then we are in big trouble,” Kerr said. “That’s a major goal for us going forward.”
The miscues nearly cost Golden State on its precious home floor in Oracle Arena, where the Warriors held off Orlando 119-113. A day earlier, they lost 112-95 to the lowly Lakers in Los Angeles with 20 turnovers.
Curry spent his day off Tuesday golfing, then visiting Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary School in Oakland during the afternoon to talk to the students about the importance of a healthy lifestyle — including drinking water — making good choices and going to college. He high-fived the children and agreed to be doused with water.
The superstar point guard is eager to get back on the court Wednesday night at home against Utah as the Warriors try to become even better down the stretch.
“Right now it’s kind of an awkward period in the schedule when you have 20 games left and you’re trying to lock up No. 1 seed and everybody’s talking about the record 73 wins,” Curry said in a sit-down Tuesday.
“We want to get there and we want to be our best come playoff time, but there’s so much time in between now and then that you can’t get too ahead of yourself. You’ve got to stay as patient as possible. We don’t want anybody trying to rush to the playoffs and skipping any lessons we might learn in these last 20 games about ourselves.”
Curry scored 41 points Monday in another spectacular outing. It was his 12th 40-point performance of the season, most by a Warriors player since Hall of Famer Rick Barry’s 15 in 1974-75.
“We are winning and Steph is bailing us out an awful lot and he bailed us out tonight,” Kerr said. “But we can’t count on that and we can’t rely on that. We need to get back to being the best defensive team in the league, which we were a year ago - which we are not right now anywhere close to.”
Curry considers it his job as Golden State’s best player — not to mention the NBA’s biggest star — to do just that.
“My job on the floor is to help our team win,” he said. “I kind of see it as that’s what I’m supposed to do.”
Despite the struggles of the past couple of games, Kerr realizes how special his team’s unbeaten run at home is. He was part of history himself alongside Michael Jordan in Chicago.
He was on that Bulls team that won 44 in a row at the United Center, and now the Warriors are trying to top Chicago’s record 72-win season that year.
“Remarkable by our players over these last two years,” Kerr said. “The effort and the consistency it takes to do that. Pretty amazing. There are so many games where the ball could bounce either way and we definitely had some of those during the streak. Could have lost several times last year and could have lost tonight very easily. We keep putting ourselves in position to win games and dominate our home floor and I’m really proud of the guys for that.”