Warriors’ Steve Kerr Issues Reality Check on Officiating & ‘Must-Win’ Games

Steve Kerr Warriors-Lakers

Getty Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr reacts during a playoff game against the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Golden State Warriors had a golden opportunity to move into the driver’s seat in their second-round series against the Lakers during Game 3 on Saturday. Instead, they played what was arguably one of their worst games of the 2022-23 campaign, losing a 127-97 laugher in Los Angeles.

Now, one can’t help but wonder if the Dubs are in danger of losing their footing entirely in the best-of-seven bout. For his part, though, Warriors coach Steve Kerr doesn’t want to hear any talk about “must-win” games. Not at this point, anyway.

“You know my feelings on that expression,” Kerr mused when asked by reporters on Sunday whether his team had ventured into said territory with their latest setback. “Must-win is when the other team has three wins, and if you lose, you’re done. That’s a must-win.”

As Kerr sees it, his team has been in this position before and he’s confident it can produce a similar result this time around.

“I have faith that our team can win any series as long as we have more games to play. We’re in the same situation we were in a year ago in Boston, in the Finals, down 2-1 on the road. We know what we have to do to get the job done and that’s the plan.”

Steve Kerr Doesn’t Want to Hear the Officiating Namechecked as the Reason for the Warriors’ Game 3 Loss

While there was no shortage of deficiencies for Golden State amid the club’s Game 3 loss, fans and pundits alike have been commenting on how the contest was officiated. And the free throw disparity was definitely eye-opening — the Lakers attempted 37 foul shouts compared to just 17 for the Warriors, even as Kerr’s crew attacked the basket.

Nevertheless, the Dubs play-caller doesn’t want to use the officiating as an excuse for what transpired.

“We didn’t lose the game because of the officials,” Kerr declared. “So, there’s no point in whining about anything. There were definitely calls we didn’t like but, every game, both coaches could say that. So, this is not about anything other than our performance.”

It’s worth noting that the Warriors were actually only whistled for one more foul than their opponents (22-21) on Saturday. For his part, though, Draymond Green opined that the fouls called on his team during the second quarter were key in halting its forward momentum.

“The game stopped on the free throw line every time,” Green said. “It is what it is. Game over now. Don’t matter if I’m satisfied [with how it was officiated].”

Jonathan Kuminga Is Keeping Receipts

After initially losing his spot in Kerr’s rotation, second-year forward Jonathan Kuminga rebounded as the regular season wore on, getting people reinvigorated about his hardwood future in the process. By year’s end, he was averaging 9.9 points and 3.4 rebounds while shooting 52.5% from the field and 37.0%.

Despite the dramatic turnaround, Kuminga has spent most of the playoffs glued to the bench; to date, he has only eclipsed the 10-minute mark once. As if that weren’t disappointing enough for the baller, a segment of the Warriors fan base has been taking shots at him on social media. He’s very clearly keeping receipts, too, liking tweet after tweet from fans knocking him.

Kuminga has been vocal about the current campaign being a struggle for him, most recently telling the San Francisco Chronicle, “It’s tough going through this season and being in [the game] most of the time and then things just flip out of nowhere without you knowing what’s going on,” Kuminga said. “It’s still tough to lock in every single time. It’s still tough to smile every single time,”

The former No. 7 overall pick scored 10 points on 3-of-4 shooting and hit his only try from three-point range in nine minutes of action in Game 3.

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