Steve Kerr played in three-straight Finals with Michael Jordan in Chicago, plus more with the Spurs in San Antonio, and whenever he talks about those experiences it’s the mental drain he mentions far more than anything physical. Playing into June, having a shorter offseason, just leads to mental fatigue.
That’s where the Warriors are right now. Sure, they are 8-2 in their last 10, but their defense has fallen way off (18th in the league over the last 10 games) and they are winning games by flipping the switch for a quarter and getting enough from one of their stars to get the “w.”
Kerr was honest that his team needs a break after beating Sacramento, via Monte Poole at NBC Sports Bay Area.
“Our guys are dying to get to the All-Star break,” he said. “We’re limping to the finish line of the All-Star break. But we’ve got to fight through it until the break, and then we need to get the hell away from each other and go sit on a beach and relax.”
He added this, via Chris Haynes at ESPN.
“… It’s painful obviously that our guys are mentally fried right now,” Kerr said. “So it’s a good job to just get a win. … Our guys are tired mentally, emotionally. So we just got to fight through, get to the break and rejuvenate.”
This is all largely moot. The Warriors are going to finish with the best record in the NBA and enter the playoffs the prohibitive favorite. When the games matter, they will get their focus — and their defense — back and be the force we know and expect.
But these are the dog days of the NBA season, and the Warriors are feeling them. Nothing unusual there.
NEW YORK (AP) — Hall of Fame basketball player Dikembe Mutombo will receive the Sager Strong Award at this year’s NBA Awards show.
The award is named for longtime Turner Sports sideline reporter Craig Sager and presented annually to an individual who has been a trailblazer while exemplifying courage, faith, compassion and grace.
Mutombo’s honor was announced Tuesday by the NBA and Turner.
The four-time Defensive Player of the Year created the Dikembe Mutombo Foundation to improve conditions for people in his native Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the Biamba Marie Mutombo Hospital has treated nearly a quarter of a million people since opening in 2007.
He will receive a colorful suit jacket, the kind Sager fashioned during his years on air before dying of leukemia. The award will be presented on June 25 in Santa Monica, California.
Former New Orleans coach Monty Williams was last year’s inaugural recipient.
It wasn’t just Lonzo Ball‘s awkward jumper that was a problem for him, so was his finishing around the rim — Ball shot less than 50 percent in the restricted area and 43.6 percent inside eight feet. In today’s NBA, he has to become more of a consistent scoring threat to open up his passing lanes.
Part of that is Ball getting physically stronger, something that also would help him avoid injuries and play in more than 52 games (what he did as a rookie). That part he is working on already, Kyle Kuzma told Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.
“Consistency in the weight room, that is the biggest thing,” Kuzma said on Tuesday of what he has seen out of Ball this offseason so far. “He has been in there pretty much every day I have been in here around this time. You can tell he is taking the weight room a lot more serious and that is going to help him by allowing him to recover faster and hopefully next year be on the court more because of that weight room.”
The Lakers are counting on the development of their young core — Ball, Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, etc. — as well as free agents they can attract this summer to lift them into the playoffs next season.
Magic Johnson told Ball this is going to be the most important summer of his life, that now he has to put in the work to take his body and game to the next level. To play like a No. 2 pick.
So far, so good.
After the game, Warriors coach Steve Kerr said his team ran out of gas, which is what led to their 3-of-18 fourth-quarter shooting and just 12 points. There’s some truth to that, particularly with Andre Iguodala out forcing other guys into the rotation and a heavier load on the stars.
But give the Rockets credit here.
Part of what wore down the Warriors was fantastic pressure defense from Houston that made Golden State really work on offense. As Golden State got tired, players settled for midrange jumpers, not getting to the rim much (three times in the quarter) and not having the legs under their threes (0-of-6 in the quarter).
Meanwhile, it wasn’t pretty, but James Harden and Chris Paul were making plays.
Check out those plays again in the video above — we finally got a good game in a series, we should savor that.
The Houston Rockets leveled the Western Conference finals against the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday night by a margin of 95-92. The win for the Rockets was ugly, but it leveled the series at 2-2 heading back to Houston.
It was a close game down the stretch, and it looked like Golden State’s last chance to get the win was going to come on a possession with 11 seconds to go following a missed James Harden jumper.
The Warriors immediately turned up the floor and did not call a timeout. The resulting possession was messy, and it wound up ending on a difficult Klay Thompson turnaround jumper. Golden State would get another shot at a 3-pointer with half a second left thanks to a foul on Thompson’s miss, but many were still left wondering why Steve Kerr did not choose to call a timeout during the possession before.
Kerr addressed the decision after the game.
You sort of have to side with Kerr in principle, but if you’d seen the way the Warriors played the rest of that fourth quarter you would probably err on calling a timeout and letting them set something up. Curry was 1-of-8 in the fourth, Durant shot poorly most of the game, and Golden State scored 12 total points in the final period.
When you consider Curry got a look at a wide open 3-pointer in the corner with 0.5 seconds left on the clock when the Warriors did call a timeout on the next possession, it makes it look even worse.
In any case, Houston beat out Golden State in a close game and we’re headed back to Texas for Game 5 on Thursday.