From the moment Zaza Pachulia fell back into Kevin Durant‘s knee, sidelining the Warriors’ leading scorer until around the start of the playoffs, the Warriors have gone 2-5. In those games, the Warriors have had the third-worst offense in the NBA, and arguably the greatest shooter the game has ever seen in Stephen Curry has shot 27.7 percent from three and 41.8 percent overall.
All of that has allowed the Spurs catch up and tie the Warriors for the best record in the NBA. It has Warriors fans nervous — but not the Warriors.
“There’s been no panic in our locker room or around our team,” Stephen Curry told NBCSports.com Monday when asked about the recent losing streak. “We know who we are, we know what we’re capable of. The ultimate goal is winning a championship and you’re not going to do that in game 65 or 67 or what not, so it’s not to get wrapped up in what we think is a normal NBA experience.”
The Warriors have not been a normal team in the NBA’s regular season the past two seasons. They won 65 games and an NBA title two years ago, 73 games and returned to the Finals last year. They had gone 146 games without losing consecutive games. Curry said the Warriors see this recent slide as simply reality catching up with the team — a key injury and a brutal stretch of the schedule had them looking vulnerable.
He added getting the No. 1 seed remains a goal, and that the Warriors can do it while still getting healthy and rested for the postseason.
“We want to get that done, obviously, we want to lock up home court advantage throughout the playoffs. That’s a big deal,” Curry said. “I think we can do both (lock up the home court and get healthy). We have 15 or 16 games left in the season (16), that’s a lot of time to control your own destiny with taking care of the rest of our home games, and finish out the season strong. There’s plenty of time to get that done and get rested to make sure we’re energized for the playoffs.”
Curry is known for that energy on the court, and in his workouts off it. Curry, who endorses Degree deodorant, partnered with that company to produce 360-degree videos showing what it’s like to be with him on the court during one of his workouts.
“Degree, they provide me the protection I need to perform my best on the floor. Part of that is developing a new 360-degree video that puts you on the court with me, in kind a never before seen perspective and look at my game, and some of the moves I try when I’m out there on the court,” Curry said.
For the Warriors, the schedule does soften up. They have 11 of their final 16 games at home, starting with the Sixers on Tuesday night. Only five of their final 16 games are against teams with records over .500 (one of those is against the Spurs in San Antonio).
Contrast with the recent stretch, when the Warriors played eight games in 13 days, which included two cross-country flights, all in the name of getting them on national broadcasts more. It left the team with clearly tired legs, all while trying to adapt to playing without Durant. Curry didn’t want to make excuses, but there was a reason Steve Kerr decided to rest his four best players against the Spurs Saturday night.
“As players you try not to let that defeat you, you don’t think about it in the moment, you just try to go out and win no matter what the schedule says or now many miles you fly, or how many time zones you cross over. And honestly every team has tough stretches throughout the season schedule-wise,” Curry said. “Obviously, with KD’s injury on top of that it was a lot going on, but we got through it, we’re home for three games this week, and we have the opportunity to kind of get back on track. We have to take advantage of that obviously.”
Expect them to. And expect the race for the No. 1 seed in the West and the NBA to be tight and interesting all the way down to the final days of the season.