If a basketball fan lived under a rock the last few years, they may not be surprised to see the Golden State Warriors at the bottom of league standings in the 2019-20 season. However, after one of the best runs in NBA history, coach Steve Kerr’s team is adjusting to life in the cellar once again.
With the heart of their core out and wins harder to come by, the Warriors take its wins to heart. They demonstrated this during a December 25, 2019 win against the Houston Rockets. And Kerr had a lot to say about it after the game.
The Warriors’ unexpected season
After both Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant went down with long-term injuries, the team knew the next season, 2019-20, would be riddled with injuries even if Durant stayed with the team. Now, KD is gone and Thompson won’t likely step on the court this year, reports the Los Angeles Times.
The Warriors entered the new season looking like a different team. But under Steph Curry and the newly-added D’Angelo Russell, many believed they could still have a decent year. The team came out looking awful, however. With the season barely commenced, Curry broke his hand. Since then, the team has been an utter disaster.
Russell has done his best to keep the team afloat, but Green has a hard time impacting a roster that doesn’t feed his strengths. Although not lacking bright spots, like Eric Paschall and Alec Burks, the Warriors have also faced disappointments.
Newly-acquired big man Willie Cauley-Stein started the year injured and has been inconsistent in effort and talent. In the end, the once-deep Warriors bench has been dreadfully thin. With all of this working against them, a Christmas day game against Rockets with one of the league-worst records did not look merry in foresight.
The Warriors face the Rockets
The Warriors were 8-24 heading into the game against the Rockets. Unlike the last two seasons where they’d beaten the Texan rivals in the playoffs, things looked bleak. The Warriors hung in there in the first and second quarters, however. They trailed by only four at halftime.
The second half, however, was all Warriors. With James Harden having a slow night and Russell Westbrook shooting terribly, the Warriors’ balanced effort took advantage of Houston’s struggles.
Damion Lee led the team with 22 points and 15 rebounds, while Russell scored 20 points to go with four assists. Green broke out of his slump and give the team 20 points and 11 rebounds. Understandably, the team was excited about the underdog victory; they celebrated with playoff intensity.
Was it excessive?
The referees reportedly told Warriors coach Steve Kerr that he needed to control his team. Kerr did not oblige the official, telling him that the season had been too hard not to celebrate a big victory.
“At one point the ref, he wanted me to tell our guys not to run on the floor,” Kerr said. “I said that’s not happening. We’ve had a lousy season. We’re gonna run on the floor. If you gotta call a T, call a T.”
Some coaches may have made the team calm down. After all, Kerr’s own teams complained about excessive celebrations when they were at the height of their dominance. Now that Kerr has tasted adversity, however, he has a different take. Some may view this season as a lost cause for the Warriors, but Kerr still demands that his team competes every night.
Kerr sparked the Warriors’ historic run, but the ability to coach through the hard times says more about a coach’s standing than their ability to coach through the good ones. Kerr still has his team’s back through this abysmal season, and the team seems to have his back, too.
Time will tell if the Warriors can return to title-contention any time soon. Until they do, Golden State can take solace in having a coach who does not forget the big-picture and lets his players have fun in the process.
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