OAKLAND — The Golden State Warriors are just like anyone else looking forward to a vacation. They badly want it to be here already and have been content going through the motions in the meantime.
That attitude resulted in an underwhelming 15-point win in Sacramento on Friday, followed by a collapse in Denver the next night. (Let’s pretend that “an underwhelming 15-point win” isn’t a ridiculous premise for a moment.)
The team got Sunday off for the Super Bowl and was back at work on Monday, when head coach Steve Kerr led a “good practice” that focused on correcting some of the bad habits the Dubs have fallen into lately.
Despite being visibly dejected after recent games, Kerr said he isn’t panicking or putting any extra pressure on his players to turn it around.
“I don’t need to yell and scream. We’re doing fine,” he said. “We just have to mix in some drill work, some film work. Prod them a little bit. And our guys are great, they’ll turn it around quickly.”
The time of year has a major influence on that philosophy, Kerr said. There’s no point in early February when the team’s real season starts in April.
“I’d like to see us come back from the All Star break and really turn it up,” he said. “But for now, we’re going to continue to talk about the issues, not grind them to death but keep them mindful of what we’re trying to accomplish.”
There are other factors that should keep the team engaged: Like the quality of teams coming to Oracle over the next week-and-a-half.
Golden State hosts the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday and the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday (with a tilt against the Dallas Mavericks in the interim).
At the end of the day, the Warriors aren’t going to over-exert themselves in the regular season because they remember the lessons of the 2015-16 season.
They aren’t happy focusing on results. They want the process to produce unstoppable basketball like the end of last season when they won 15 of their final 16 games.
“We talked about chasing 73 and all that type of stuff. We weren’t playing great basketball to end that regular season, we were just doing just enough to win games,” Stephen Curry recalled. “That’s the only reminder I think you need is what that felt like going into that playoff run, where we scratched and clawed our way to the Finals again, but looking back, we didn’t have the right habits and the right perspective of how we were playing versus just winning games down the stretch during the season. that’s all the reminder that I needed.”
Process trumps results, always. Even for the best team in professional sports.