Turnovers. They’ve often haunted Steve Kerr’s Golden State Warriors, even in the best of times.
Lately, each mistake is compounded by the Warriors’ poor record, which just got worse after a 116-109 loss to the Heat in Miami on Thursday. The defeat dropped Golden State to 23-25 and left it on the fringe of playoff contention in the Western Conference.
Kerr said recently that while evidence on the court might not suggest it, he had a feeling the Warriors would string a run of wins together soon. That run certainly didn’t start against the Heat. Golden State had 20 turnovers and committed a host of silly fouls, many near the 3-point line, hearing the whistle 26 times in all.
Postgame, Kerr was not amused. He called any talk of improving “cheap” if the team doesn’t follow through and correct bad habits. Here’s his comment, courtesy of the Mercury News’ Wes Goldberg.
Ouch. But it’s true. And guard Stephen Curry doesn’t disagree. He backed his coach up after the loss, in which Curry battled his sore tailbone and an impressive Heat defense to score 36 points.
Gritty sounds good, that’s no doubt. Getting over the hump has indeed been a season-long theme.
But those turnovers. They were excessive against the Heat. Rookie James Wiseman had five in 20 minutes, but at least he has his “rookie” excuse. Forward Draymond Green set a bad example with four giveaways of his own. Curry and forward Andre Wiggins had three each, and G Kelly Oubre Jr. had two.
Back in the championship days, turnovers were a product of Warriors excellence, a bit like the exhaust on a Ferrari. With a loaded roster, Kerr’s bunch could easily burn them off.
But now, with the team operating like a beat-down hooptie, the exhaust in unpalatable. Each mistake costs Golden State dearly, with turnovers being compounded by the fouls.
Additionally, Kerr had decided on a youth movement, and Wiseman, while he’s learning, must take better care of the basketball and not reach on defense, as do all his teammates.
So will the cheap talk turn into some gritty performances and that run of wins Kerr and Curry have been talking about? Limit mistakes, and the Warriors have a punchers’ chance.
(Photo credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports)