Warriors Coach Steve Kerr Makes Surprising Admission After Loss

Steve Kerr Warriors-Nets

Getty Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr reacts during a bout with the Brooklyn Nets.

If you’re a glass-half-full kind of person, there were definitely some things to take away from the Golden State Warriors‘ 125-113 loss to the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday. First and foremost, Stephen Curry was back after an 11-game absence. And while he was obviously rusty after the extended break, he made it through the comeback game without incurring any setbacks.

Moreover, he, Klay Thompson and Jordan Poole combined to put 80 points up on the scoreboard, giving Dub Nation a sneak preview of things to come once everybody finds their bearings.

That said, the team’s effort on the defensive side of the ball over the contest’s first three quarters — against a team that was missing Devin Booker, Chris Paul, Deandre Ayton and others — was woeful. When all was said and done, though, Warriors coach Steve Kerr actually pointed the finger at himself for the letdown over his players.

“I take responsibility for [the defensive shortfall] — I clearly didn’t have our guys ready to play and that’s my fault,” Kerr said after the game. “I’ve got to do a better job of giving them the slap in the face that Phoenix gave us.”

Steve Kerr’s Warriors Are the Latest Team to Get Outplayed by a Shorthanded Squad

This game was a textbook example of the undermanned, overmatched team outplaying a superior club, a concept that is bandied about by players, coaches and pundits alike on the regular. However, this was one of those times where the old cliché actually played itself out.

“These games are always… they always go like this,” Kerr said. “A team’s got a bunch of starters out and then all the guys who normally don’t play much, they can’t wait to get out there. A guy like [Dario] Saric, he comes out and just kicks our butt and these are all NBA players.

“There are no easy days in the league. I think the combination of that dynamic and then us getting some guys back and trying to find our rhythm, it really got us off to a slow start.”

While Mikal Bridges, Duane Washington Jr. and former Warrior Damion Lee all scored more points, Saric — who has been DNP-CD’d on a number of occasions this season — dropped 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting to go along with nine boards, seven assists and a steal in a season-high 30 minutes of action.

As Ever, Winning in the Association Is Hard

Kerr appreciated that his guys “competed in that fourth quarter and fought like crazy,” and that effort was definitely reflected in the numbers. The Suns were outscored by seven points during the final frame; after hitting 13 of their 28 attempts from deep over the game’s first 36 minutes, they were just 1-of-3 in the fourth.

Phoenix was also forced into committing a whopping 12 turnovers in the period.

In the end, though, it wasn’t enough to prevent the loss (which was Golden State’s third in a row). And Kerr believes there’s a lesson to be learned and/or reminded of in amid the disappointment.

“Sometimes in this league, you forget how hard it is to win a game. It’s really hard to win an NBA game and the difference between winning and losing is like that,” Kerr added. “One team has the edge emotionally, like Phoenix did, and they set a tone right away. That’s all it takes.”