Steve Kerr Defends Controversial Decision on Steph Curry in Warriors Loss

Warriors coach Steve Kerr

Getty Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr questions a call.

A12-point swing with Stephen Curry on the bench doomed the Golden State Warriors in their 114-110 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday, March 24, that put them in danger of falling out entirely out of the play-in picture.

But Warriors coach Steve Kerr defended his decision and adamantly pushed back on the narrative that it was the culprit of their third loss in their last four games.

“No,” Kerr told reporters after the loss. “We’ve got Chris Paul out there. We’ve got Klay [Thompson]. We’ve got Draymond [Green]. We’ve got great players out there.

We can’t expect to just ride Steph game after game after game. These last few weeks have been really tough on him. We’ve put the burden of this franchise on his shoulders for 15 years. We can’t expect him to play 35 minutes. We have five games in seven days on this road trip. If you want to say that him playing 30 minutes instead of 32 is the difference in the win or the loss, I totally disagree with that. We’re trying to win the game. We’re trying to keep him fresh.”

Keeping Steph Curry Around 30

Curry sat the final 4:07 of the third quarter with the Warriors up 69-65. By the time he returned with 6:54 left in the fourth quarter, the Timberwolves had already tilted the momentum to their side with a 97-89 lead.

“We’re trying to keep him around 30, get him as much rest as we can,” Kerr said. “[We] Played him a lot of minutes, played him 35 two days ago. As long as we were hanging in there, we wanted to limit the minutes a little bit. Not limit them, but not overplay him.”

Curry’s return from the extended rest inspired a Warriors’ late rally that fell short.

They tied the game 104-104 on a Curry 3-pointer with 3:28 left. But Curry couldn’t summon another magical moment down the stretch. He missed a game-tying 3-pointer 87 seconds left as the Timberwolves sealed their come-from-behind win on free throws.

The Collapse of a Dynasty

Curry wound up with 31 points in only 30 minutes. But it was enough to save the Warriors from blowing another double-digit lead.

They led by 12 points in the first half but they allowed the Timberwolves, who Karl-Anthony Towns (meniscus tear), to get back in the non-Curry minutes.

A clear sign that the Warriors’ margin for error is slim to none — a far cry from their dynasty years when they just steamroll over opponents.

It was their 13th loss with double-digit blown leads, the most in the NBA this season.

The loss cut the 36-34 Warriors’ lead for the 10th place in the West to just one game with the soaring Houston Rockets (35-35) lurking behind.

The Rockets, who are on an 8-game winning streak, can further trim that gap with a victory against the lottery-bound Portland Trail Blazers on Monday, March 25.

On the other end, the Warriors will face playoff contenders Miami Heat (March 26) and Orlando Magic (March 27) on a back-to-back set which factored into Kerr’s decision to not overextend Curry’s minutes.

But the damage has been done. And they need to recover some lost ground before it’s too late.