The Golden State Warriors have been struggling to keep their heads above water this season. Injuries to Stephen Curry and Andrew Wiggins derailed some of their progress, but even since those two have returned, they still haven’t been the team many expected them to be.
Losers in six of their last nine games, the Warriors currently sit at 23-24 on the season, good for 10th place in the Western Conference standings. Their January 22 loss to the Brooklyn Nets was particularly embarrassing, as they blew a 17–point lead. After the game, Nets head coach Jacque Vaughn spoke about the battle between Stephen Curry and Kyrie Irving.
“It’s just, how can you not be a fan of basketball? This is a great game,” Vaughn said via the team’s official YouTube channel. “Unbelievable athletes. Two of the premier athletes at their position trying to get their team the win. And so, I think it brings out the best in all really competitive athletes. That’s one of the special things about this game. I talk about it all the time, is being able to look across [to] the guy that you’re competing against and try to win against them.”
Curry and Irving developed quite a rivalry over the years. They met in the NBA Finals for three years in a row, with Curry winning two of the three and Irving capturing the 2016 NBA Championship, running Curry’s and the Warriors’ 73-9 season.
As for their January 22 matchup, both players led their teams in scoring. Curry ended the game with 26 points, six rebounds, and seven assists on 7-of-16 shooting from the field and 4-of-8 shooting from behind the three-point line. Meanwhile, Irving put up 38 points, seven boards, and nine assists on 12-of-22 shooting from the field and 5-of-7 shooting from three-point range.
Kyrie Irving Sounds Off on Warriors
Golden State failed to maintain their lead against Brooklyn, allowing Irving and the Nets to mount an impressive comeback. After the contest, Irving sent a strong message about what it’s like to play the Warriors on their new home court in San Francisco.
“In terms of going against the Warriors and being out here, it’s amazing to see the change here in San Francisco,” the Nets star said via the team’s official YouTube channel. “I’m so used to going over to Oakland to play against the Warriors, but I still feel the same fan appreciation here. They still have championship fans. They expect a great product out there, they have great players. So, I never take it for granted when I’m here playing in this amazing arena, this new arena. I look forward to it in the future.”
Stephen Curry on Nets Loss: ‘Losing Sucks’
Meanwhile, Curry was very upset after the Warriors’ loss to the Nets. During his post-game press conference, he stressed the importance of Golden State making changes and turning their season around.
“Losing sucks, no matter what the reason is,” Curry said via NBC Sports Bay Area. “Losing is a terrible feeling and we hate it. Being 23-24 past the halfway mark of the season, we’ve experienced a lot of it. So, we need to bottle it up and do something about it. I feel like nobody’s letting go of the rope, nobody’s thinking that we can’t do it. Again, that’s our challenge, to not be in the situation where every other night we’re explaining why we didn’t get the job done.”