May 9, 2022 will undoubtedly go down as one of the wildest daysof Mike Brown’s basketball career. A matter of hours after the Golden State Warriors‘ associate head coach was named as the new headman in Sacramento, the 52-year-old suddenly found himself running the show for the Dubs.
Shortly before Golden State tipped off their Game 4 showdown with the Grizzlies, head coach Steve Kerr returned a positive COVID-19 test. As a result, Brown was called into action with precious little time to prepare himself for the switch-up.
In the end, he acquitted himself well for the Warriors, who outlasted Memphis in a 101-98 thriller at Chase Center to take a 3-1 series lead.
After the contest, he was shouted out for answering the call.
Klay Speaks on Brown’s Sudden Ascension
While speaking with the media postgame, Warriors star Klay Thompson — who put up 14 points and seven boards in the contest — pointed out that Brown had been put in this position before and directed winning efforts.
“His head coaching record for a Warrior playoff game I think is undefeated,” Thompson said, via ESPN. “We did miss Steve a lot, just his voice, his presence, but we’ve been here before, 2017 when Mike took over and we rolled off a lot of wins, so I reflected on that a lot.”
During that ’17 playoff run, Kerr was forced out of action for several games due to back problems. In his stead, Brown led the club to a perfect 13-0 record. Golden State went on to win the title with a league-record 16-1 mark during postseason play.
Just how many games Kerr will miss this time remains to be seen, but the Warriors clearly have reason to feel confident in Brown’s abilities.
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Brown Sounds off on the Switcheroo
For his part, Brown didn’t hide the fact that he was thrown for a loop by Kerr’s positive COVID-19 test. Nevertheless, he handled the situation like a pro.
“Obviously there’s butterflies, because again you’re going into the game with a certain mindset and it’s a big game. Every game that we play at this point in the year, it’s huge,” said Brown. “So to have that kind of thrown at you, you’ve got to switch gears because I know what my responsibilities are going in as Mike Brown the assistant coach, and it changes.”
Although the Warriors trailed for large swaths of the contest, they dropped a 39-point bomb during the final frame. Stephen Curry set the tone when the game was on the line, scoring 18 fourth-quarter points and adding eight clutch free throws.
Moreover, the Dubs were solid on the defensive end throughout the game, which allowed them to overcome a 24% shooting night from three-point range.