Warriors look to push recent struggles aside, focus on another NBA Finals run
The NBA playoffs are now upon us, and the Golden State Warriors come in as a two-seed in the West — having the third-most wins in the NBA at 58. Despite the usual dominance and top-tier finish, the Warriors have dealt with injuries and fatigue issues amid their uncommon struggles.
The Warriors begin the playoffs by playing the seventh-seeded San Antonio Spurs, a team they swept in the regular season. Despite Steve Kerr’s fantastic track record as both a head coach and member of the Chicago Bulls’ dynasty, what the Warriors are presently experiencing is entirely new to him.
“I was never on a team that went to the Finals four years in a row,” Kerr said. “You have to have LeBron [James] on your team to do that. Or Bill Russell. … It’s tough. A hard feat, and our guys know that.”
The Warriors’ success over the past four years have put the team in some good company, but there are still big challenges ahead. The Warriors will have to weather the storm in their first-round series without two-time MVP Stephen Curry in the lineup, along with their recent struggles still fresh in their minds.
“You have two choices,” Kerr said after being blown out by the Jazz in Golden State’s regular-season finale Tuesday. “Fight through everything and give all you got, or go quietly.”
Kerr has been able to keep the Warriors alive and well by implementing unorthodox methods. For example, he gave the coaching duties to the players during a game against the Phoenix Suns during the season. Even though all this is new for Kerr, Warriors players have seen his experience rub off on them.
“As a former player, he kind of gets the energy,” David West said. “He hasn’t forgotten what it’s like to be a player going through it.”
The Warriors kick off their first-round series against the Spurs Saturday, and will be looking to set the tone in the series early against a well-coached and experienced Spurs team.