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Steph Curry: “eventually you’ve got to do it or time runs out”; evoking mortality of dynasty
[+notes/quotes/video from Warriors-Suns]
At the postgame podium after the Golden State Warriors lost to the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday night, Stephen Curry was asked by TheAthletic’s Marcus Thompson if he expected the team to “turn-up” at some point. The fully quoted response is below (courtesy of whomever transcribed it for Warriors PR), but the ending — the if-I’m-being-brutally-honest conclusion — of “eventually you’ve got to do it or time runs out” …just reminded me that time will actually eventually run out on this dynasty. Maybe we’re seeing the wear-and-tear of it right now.
But instead of operating from a position of fear, I’d like to encourage fans to, as Steph often says, enjoy the process. Enjoy every detail. In that fourth quarter against the Suns, the championship DNA showed up. Instead of lamenting its mortality, feel a sense of gratitude that we can watch Andrew Wiggins, by my hand-count during the livestream (see my live notes below as well), make at least six defensive stops — video breakdown in the works, btw. Curry described that effort in the “turn-up” response as well:
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You always expect a turnup. You always expect us to find a way to go on a run. We’ve been talking about it for a while. The way the guys played those first five games (of this homestand) and scratching and clawing and pulling out those wins was huge. We hit a tough stretch with the last three. It happens, but I think we have to be honest with ourselves about the details of what makes a winning team and remind ourselves what that is and hold ourselves to that standard in terms of everything you saw in the fourth quarter tonight. I’m not saying you’re going to pick up 94-feet every possession and be able to sustain that for 48 minutes, but the level of focus, the level of togetherness, toughness, high-IQ basketball, we demonstrated a lot of that to try to give ourselves a chance to win tonight. So, you’ve got to put those pieces together. A lot of it too is our defensive principles, not fouling, rebound the ball, which we didn’t do either one of those tonight. Offensively, moving the ball. We showed bright spots of that and then, figuring out our rotations again, because we’ve had guys in and out of the lineup and guys on minute restrictions, and you want to find hopefully a good run where we have like I said, a full squad and understand again, how we can build momentum. We’ve been talking about it for a long time and eventually you’ve got to do it or time runs out.
This road trip is going to be a tall order. On the one hand, the Sacramento Kings reaching the halfway point in 4th place in the West while the Warriors are mired in 8th, one game below .500, seems daunting. On the other hand the Kings are only four games over .500. But then again this road trip features two back-to-backs.
Speaking of which, it was a topic of discussion on our livestream recently (there’s hardly anything we don’t cover). Livestream regular Dean Agan chipped in with some due diligence the day after. The Warriors have nine back-to-back road situations this season. That’s nine scheduled losses for this older team. The Chicago-Washington and Boston-Cleveland sets on this upcoming trip are the 6th and 7th road back-to-backs this season. You start thinking again about the youth of the NBA and the mortality of this dynasty.
Most road back-to-back games: Warriors 9, Heat 8, Clippers 8.
Least road back-to-back games: Pelicans 1, Nuggets 3, Bulls 3, Grizzlies 3, Hawks 3.
Curiously, yesterday Patrick Baldwin, Jr. was assigned to Santa Cruz, which has a home back-to-back today and tomorrow vs Sioux Falls. Center Trevion Williams was also traded to Washington’s affiliate for former Warriors Summer League wing/shooter Jordan Schakel.
Meanwhile, Jonathan Kuminga, James Wiseman and JaMychal Green all haven’t yet practiced with the team, see quotes from Steve Kerr on two radio shows yesterday, below — and we know how difficult it is to find time to practice on the road. An update on Green will be given at some point today, see note from Suns pregame near the end of this post.
Will PBJ be recalled for the game in San Antonio? Will he be asked to play more of the 5 in G League now that Williams is gone? I might do a livestream tonight during the SCW game (7:00PM PST); we’ll see.
Here are the notes, quotes and videos since pregame Suns, in reverse chronological order…
• Steve Kerr on radio shows, on what grade he would give the Warriors first half of the season: “C. We haven’t been good enough. We’re passing the class because we’re right in the thick of everything playoff wise… We got to do better.” (95.7 The Game)
• On last night's loss to Suns: “I just think my staff and I could’ve done a better job preparing the team…I felt responsible, you know, as a coach. That's a big part of my job: to get guys prepared for what's coming and them getting mentally ready to play…When those nights happen, I kick myself afterwards for not walking into the locker room and banging on the walls during our pregame meeting and yelling, ‘Do you guys understand what's about to happen?’” He thought the Suns physicality was the key to last night's game. (95.7 The Game, KNBR)
• On the struggles: “When you're winning, it doesn't seem hard to win an NBA game. When you lose a few, you're reminded of how hard you have to play over 48 minutes. You know how many things you have to do to earn a victory. And we're just not doing enough of those things.” (KNBR)
• On Jonathan Kuminga: “He hasn’t practiced yet. So, he’s still a little bit away. I don’t know how long it’s going to be but we need him back.” Kerr also said Wiseman and JaMychal haven't practiced yet, either. (95.7 The Game)
• On why Moses Moody hasn't seen the floor lately: “There's only so many guys you can play and frankly, Anthony Lamb and Ty Jerome have both played really well and played positions of need for us given the injuries.” (95.7 The Game)
• On the 49ers: “I’ve really enjoyed watching the Niners this year… I’m absolutely pulling for the Niners, but just don’t tell Pete (Carroll) that.” (95.7 The Game)
11:15 6min16 Q1 DPOY help by Draymond Green for Stephen Curry, Andrew Wiggins all-defense stop, but Steph commits the and-one foul and says "my fault"
13:30 gonna be a tough night because the Suns are gonna buckle down missing so many guys, it's just like when we beat Atlanta and after the game someone on the Warriors (Steve Kerr?) said that when you're depleted, you tend to lock in better
16:00 5min09 Q1 Dray says it's his fault on the turnover pass to Jordan Poole, that's a couple times he's done this in the past
16:45 4min30 Q1 Andre Iguodala knocks the ball out, Klay gets a 3 in transition = Warriors Basketball
20:15 if we go on a winning streak, will Steph keep the black left shoulder sleeve? Juve McKenzie: "looks like a menace"
23:30 Klay says my fault 2min00 Q1 on the charge
25:30 Lamb bad pass to Poole, is that the same as Draynond's earlier zig-zag miscue
30:30 11min30 Q2 if Lamb can continue to hit the catch-and-shoot, he will make millions
34:00 11min00 JP airball but then gets a reverse layup, I've had airball/turnover type slumps in rec league and pickup games (3 hour pickups)
35:30 three guys in a slump: Steph missing threes, JP and Wiggins getting blocked at the rim, gotta support our guys
37:45 7min50 Q2 Draymond with two straight DPOY plays and then gets a backpack three
38:30 HOT TAKE: Lamb draws a charge, he is the best two-way player in the league BUT Ty Jerome is the 2nd-best two-way player in the NBA
44:15 6min45 Q2 Lamb was too late to vacate for the Wiggs vs Saric mismatch
45:15 5min59 Q2 Lamb forgets the shot clock
49:00 4min00 Q2 Klay bombs a three from Looney (no roll), no Tiki-Taka still, I think the main reason we're not getting hard cuts is during the absences of Steph (minutes restriction), Klay's mad, and guys like Ty Jerome and Donte DiVincenzo just aren't quite used to that yet. It takes many, many reps (just like Wiseman) to really understand how important it is to make hard cuts, which is part of our system
1:01:30 not using social media to complain is one of the biggest ways to earn personal growth in this day and age. We can apply our experiences watching and observing and enjoying the process of the Warriors and apply these learnings to life.
1:04:30 I said before the half ended that I didn't agree with Kerr not playing Steph at that moment. But now that I think about it, I'm gonna guess that Steve wanted to carry those minutes over to the second half. We should always give the guys that we're rooting for the benefit of the doubt.
1:06:30 9-minute diatribe on Warriors culture with direct experience from Luke Loucks and how not to throw your guy under the bus
1:19:30 10min15 Q3 Wiggs missed Klay in the corner, still rusty
1:22:15 9min00 Q3 Klay turnover to Wiggs, Klay says "come to me", however, he did miss Steph on the first curl
1:23:00 8min50 Q3 was that take foul by Washington on Steph?
1:32:00 5min24 Q3 Draymond took out his mouthpiece to yell at Scott Foster
1:39:30 3min46 Q3 BIG NEWS: Looney is wearing the KT8 Koi colorway, we are going to get a pair from ANTA. Caveat: my shipping process is broken so I need to fix that immediately
1:29:30 6min45 Q3 Steph was mad at the rotation (Wiggs?) Saric three
1:46:30 "Poole gotta attack more" but everyone has to and it's about not running Tiki-Taka
1:52:00 on the team being off mentally and having no cohesion: part of it might be the mentality that Steph is back and all is well
1:55:45 9min35 Q4 Wiggs two straight charges in the post
1:56:30 9min21 Q4 when JP misses he misses bad
2:01:45 8min45 Q4 Andre making a difference!
2:02:00 8min15 Q4 turns out JP should have shot the ball, esp with Bridges scoring next
2:07:30 5min40 Q4 I don't get why the NBA refuses to want Steph and-ones when that's what Planet Earth wants
2:15:45 3min16 Q4 Mikal Bridges taunting again after the Klay block, Klay now jawing at the free throw line
2:19:00 3min11 Q4 how many offensive fouls has Wiggs drawn tonight? At least 3.
2:21:15 2min02 Q4 Wiggs four times!
2:22:15 2min00 Q4 win or lose, it's nice to see the championship DNA
2:23:00 1min28 Q4 Wiggs individual defense AGAIN + Steph's strip and we're down 2 possessions!
2:25:00 1min28 Q4 Wiggs taken out for Donte, is he at his minutes restriction?
2:30:00 1min03 Q4 Wiggs 6th defensive play
2:34:00 0min32.5 Q4 Draymond would be better served long-term to reach another level of Zen if he can resist the temptation of the barking with the ref when it doesn't matter
2:40:00 I can never just blame the refs
2:46:00 we will never get to the line much w/o JK
2:47:45 Steph wearing the sleeve might be long-term just as a precaution for it popping out again, and possibly not an indication that he's not 100%
2:50:00 prediction: Warriors day off tomorrow, then fly to San Antonio then do a late practice Thursday to get used to Alamodome (depth prescription)
2:53:00 Boston was 18-21 last season
2:54:00 I'm willing to bet a lot of money that there are no 10-day contract guys that will move the needle, however, I've been wrong before so I'm just sit back and let Bob Myers do his job
3:17:45 HOT TAKE: this might be the era or the season where we can get away with some of these "shenanigans" and still win a title
3:24:00 defending reporters and the newspaper-like jobs they have to perform with the quotes needed
3:30:00 on Jordan Poole's interviews and wishing he would understand the ecosystem better
3:41:00 I get that Steve could do a better job of preparing the guys, but then again that's one of the toughest tasks to accomplish in basketball, especially if you don't really have the right personnel, but also such a diverse personnel. For example, if this team was just full of youngsters, we would probably do pretty great on the energy front every game.
3:44:00 Reagan Chavez: "I love the Warriors but sometimes they disappoint" -- that's where I come in. That's what makes me a pariah. I'm here to change that perspective. So to change "disappointment" to "understanding" or "wisdom" or "patience" or "observance" or "embracing the unknown". Enjoying the process.
5:19:00 Poole said "flip a switch" in this postgame. I think they can get away with more in this era than in previous eras, even though it's probably frowned upon by the basketball gods.
5:26:30 recalling Monty Williams naming the Warriors, Raptors and Heat as the teams that switch the most in the NBA
6:00 • Monty Williams postgame on the Warriors: “Playing a team like that that switches about as much as anybody in the league. Idk who switches more, them, Toronto or Miami. They go to the drop, they go to zone, they go to switching…they blitz pick and rolls. They have a guys that have championship equity here and so they don’t get rattled in moments. They all know how to knock down big shots. They all know how to set screens that open up guys for shots…they have enough hardware where they can just turn the page.”
8:15 • On Damion Lee: “to come back here and get your championship ring…Sydel…come back here, get a ring, play well and win the game, that’s a trifecta…gave him his flowers at the end.”
• Damion Lee postgame recap: “the journey of making it to the NBA, everything it took, hard work, Daily Deposit Crew…hard grind…when I woke up I was nervous, I couldn’t even get a pregame nap…nothing was gonna ruin today…soak it in…most important was seeing this thing in real life (the ring). It is real.”
• On Steph Curry handing him the ring: “had my son…Wish I could’ve had my whole family.”
• On beating his former team: “you can’t take any win for granted…nine active bodies…even though it’s Golden State’s slogan, it’s just us…flying out, Denver’s gonna be a tough game…if you wanna be great, you gotta go through the greats.”
• On being back at Chase: “being in the organization for five years is huge. Blood, sweat and tears…excited that this day is over.”
• Klay Thompson postgame recap: “I’m not sure but maybe with Steph and Wiggs coming back we probably relaxed…we thought just showing up we’d get the dub…sometimes you need a loss like this to remind yourself how hard it is to win…turn it into a positive.”
• On dialing it up: “great effort and intensity and just being the more aggressive team.”
• On losing the last three at home and if there’s anything to be made out of the contrast with the first five wins: “tbh not really but we’re halfway through the regular season, we’re one game below .500 which is not ideal but we know we can get that turned around…collective effort…same intensity that we played with at the end of the game and I know we’ll come out with a better record.”
• On his technical: “I might’ve said a bad word…but what can you do. I just did not agree with the call and I let it be known.”
• On if he’s concerned about the standings: “what’s more important than that is to be 100% healthy…we know how to win on the road, we know how to win a championship…be at peak physical form…get in a great rhythm offensively and be tight-knit defensively.”
• On Iguodala: “he’s done so much for this franchise…great veteran…a pleasure to see him out there in a uniform of the Warriors; anytime he’s out there that No. 9 is special for the franchise.”
• Steph Curry postgame recap: “hit or miss on how much rust you’ll have…speed of the game…first quarter felt good just to be back out there…a little lull in the 2nd and 3rd quarter…stronger as the game went on which is exciting…body will respond…road trip…build my endurance back…get everybody on the same page…right the ship.”
• On shooting himself into a rhythm: “you’re trying to pace yourself but you’re also looking at the clock every possession (when on aunties restriction)…intensity of the game picked up…felt like myself again…we all kinda found a rhythm…bottle up…have to play desperate on the road…rectify the way that we’ve been playing in the season on the road.”
• On the sleeve: “gives it support and keeps it warm…composed…strengthening my shoulder…flow of the rhythm of being able to shoot the ball (is why he doesn’t wear anything on the right arm).”
• On if the shoulder took any hits: “more so I’m not thinking about it during the game…I don’t think it matters how it feels…between games to keep it strong…rehab process.”
• On seeing Damion Lee being bittersweet: “No, not at all…I did enough cheerleading for DLee…Suns organization speaks so highly…shooting the ball so well…you hate to see it against our team. I know it was a special night for him…I hate it at the same time.”
• On expecting a turn-up: “you always expect a turn-up…We’ve been talking about it for awhile…we have to be honest with ourselves about the details…the level of focus…togetherness…toughness, high-IQ basketball…gotta put all those pieces together…defensive principles of not fouling and rebounding which we didn’t do…guys on minutes restrictions…find a good run where we have a full squad…build momentum. We’ve been talking about it a long time. Eventually we gotta do it or we’ll run out of time.”
• On #FullSquad: “no t-shirts will be made.”
• On Wiggins’ defense: “helped us get back in the game…remind your body what it’s like to meet that level of intensity…so hard to simulate that…I’ve had 3-4 of those kinda 4-to-6-week absences…everybody responds to it differently…shock the system a little bit…hopefully he felt that tonight.”
• On not being locked in from the jump: “we’re a different team than we were…expectations of how we started last year…bench was trying to find an identity…injuries…can’t win on the road…reinforcements…had moments where we built an identity…it escapes us…Coach obviously is gonna take the blame, that’s his character…individually…41 games to figure it out.”
• On if Damion Lee should be in the Three-Point Contest: “oh for sure…he got it out the mud…G League…found his way and went to the roster full-time and was a huge part of our championship run…everything he brought to our locker room…shared it with another organization…he’s a professional and obviously belongs in the league.”
• On going 6-5 without him: “we’re in a great position if we run 5, 6 games off you can have a real cushion…out of the play-in…it’s not ideal to finish these last three games with losses…the way JP played, Klay…Draymond putting up defensive clinics…Donte…Loon…those guys held down the fort…awesome to watch. Now we gotta take the positives…give ourselves some real life.”
• On the road record, if he thinks the youngsters might not think they can win: “if you think like that then you already lost…(gives examples of game film study)…the rest will take care of itself…put yourselves in position to beat anybody.”
• On the White House visit: “excited about the celebration of what we did last year…one last moment to reflect on the accomplishment…really special honor…we know all the, I’ll call it, drama that we went through…two years…skipped it.”
• On the Alamodome visit: “unique…cool to be part of a record-setting night…I have played in a dome before at Ford Field in Detroit…it’s a wild experience when the court is in the middle of the floor…sight lines…depth perception…any time a shot was made or something to cheer about there’s kind of delay…a wave…if they have a real homecourt advantage.”
• Jordan Poole postgame recap: “played a bit more aggressive…came out with more energy in the second half, just gotta find more ways to start the game like that.”
• On coming off the bench for the first time in 17 games, and the slow start: “(Long pause) Be ready, be prepared…just go out there and play my game…pick times to be aggressive…tempo…momentum…first 6 minutes or so…see how they’re playing.”
• On any difference in the way he approaches the game with the lineup changes: “Not necessarily in my approach but…when you start the game, you kinda get the feel of the game…got all game to figure it out…different pictures…play into the rhythm (when you come off the bench)…it’s a learning process.”
• On readjusting to Curry and Wiggins: “Even Andre came back…Andrew and Steph were playing at an extremely high level. It’ll take probably a couple games…we’ve all played with each other before, we know what everybody’s strengths are.”
• On a common denominator for the last 3 losses: “I’m not sure.”
• On the difficulties this season vs the Suns: “I’m not sure.”
• On the current state of the team: “We’re 20-21 and we need to string some wins together…these guys have been there before…we’ll apply that and it’s about time to start winning some games.”
• On if this was a wake-up call: “(Long pause) I guess? It’s a lot of good teams in the league…best league in the world…gotta find a way to win games. We will. It takes some time…it’s about time for us to flip the switch for sure.”
• Steve Kerr postgame on Steph Curry’s performance: “looked really good in the second half…had to feel the game out…it’s gonna take some time…found something in the second half.”
• On the defense: “I clearly didn’t have our guys ready…that’s my fault…giving them the slap in the face that Phoenix gave us…they always go like this…can’t wait to get out there. Guy like Saric comes out…kicks our butt…and then us getting some guys back and trying to find our rhythm…we competed in that 4th quarter and fight like crazy…you forget how hard it is to win a game…one team has the edge emotionally…that’s all it takes…they made 14 threes and got 20 offensive rebounds…hoping that team in the 4th quarter is the team I’ve come to love…that’s my job.”
• On Jordan Poole: “great the second half. The first half we didn’t have anything going but I didn’t like…the body language…feeling sorry for ourselves…got out of own heads…we’ve had this weird stretch with no Wiggs, no Steph…we’re not a team that’s in rhythm…part of finding a rhythm is just competing.”
• On Andre Iguodala to start Q4: “so good defensively, so good moving the ball…got an intelligence…connection…with the guys…helped spark that run.”
• On Andrew Wiggins on defense: “Wiggs was really rusty the other night and in the first half…intensity that he showed in the second half…that’s who we need him to be, that’s who he was in the playoffs…he hasn’t looked right until that fourth quarter. I actually told the coaches, I think this could be a good thing…you need a wake up call…level of commitment to each other, to the game, to win the title. Our vets know that…hopefully this is the jolt that we needed.”
• On the double-overtime game have any effect: “No.”
• On if the Andre tech was explained: “I never got an explanation (from Karl Lane).”
• On if the young guys expected a win with Steph back: “idk if that was the case. We didn’t play young guys today…letting our guard down because Phoenix was out so many guys…the only way you can get through that is to compete and we didn’t start competing until it was too late.”
• Steve Kerr started his pregame presser by congratulating Tim Roye on being named California Sportscaster of the Year: “He’s beloved here. He’s phenomenal.” (95.7 The Game)
• Warriors starters vs the Suns: Steph, Klay, Wiggins, Draymond, Looney. On Curry: “It’s not a hard restriction. Given that it’s his first game in several weeks, he’s not gonna play a heavy load.” Tonight is the first time the Warriors have had that starting five since Dec. 2. This starting five is still the best plus/minus five-man unit in the NBA: +132 in 278 minutes. (Dalton Johnson, 95.7 The Game, Anthony Slater)
• On Warriors going 6-5 without Steph Curry: “It’s a tribute to the guys that they were able to hold down the fort.” (95.7 The Game)
• On Jordan Poole back to the bench: some of the pressure will be taken off with Steph back because the best defender will be on Steph, “I think he’ll be fine, given that he went through this last year…I’m expecting Jordan to play really well.” (95.7 The Game, Nat)
• On Damion Lee getting his championship ring: “We couldn’t be happier for him and his family.” (95.7 The Game)
• On Poole falling so much and if anything can be done: wonders sometimes if it’s the low tops but he thinks he just slips sometimes and also may just be in a hurry sometimes. Kerr said maybe it's just that Poole is trying to go too fast. (Nat, Tim Kawakami)
• There will be an update on JaMychal Green's status on Thursday, Warriors say. He's been recovering from a right lower leg infection. Apparently JaMychal was in the hospital for his infection and wasn’t able to practice. So he’s gotten some shots up but is still working his way back and they’re trying to ensure that is body is right. (CJ Holmes, Nat)
• The Suns have Ayton, Shamet, Paul, Payne and Booker out vs Warriors tonight. (Marc Spears)
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