The Golden State Warriors may have found themselves with the upper hand in physical endurance to play through an NBA season after a preseason trip overseas, head coach Steve Kerr thinks that the team is struggling with their mental strength.
“Our mental conditioning is not where it needs to be,” said Kerr after the Warriors 117-112 victory over the Toronto Raptors.
The absence of undiluted focus was very evident during the third quarter of the Warriors game against the Toronto Raptors. The Warriors squandered a 14-point lead Wednesday night with a plethora of mental issues including focus and communication.
These mistakes nearly cost them the game as the Raptors were able to take a short five-point lead with 2:13 left before the Warriors came back with a 10-point run.
“We call a few plays and all of a sudden one guy is out of position so we don’t get the full execution. We don’t box out. We aren’t mentally conditioned more than physically. I think that’s the problem now.”
The rebounding game for the night was upsetting for Kerr. He told the team that they were lacking in fundamentals on the boards. The Raptors outrebounded the Warriors 42-37 for the night.
“It took us a while to figure out we needed to box out,” said Kerr. “The final piece of a defensive possession is you have to box out and get the rebound. That’s effort, that’s focus, that’s communication.”
Warriors forward Draymond Green agreed, suggesting that the team may be a little too relaxed, which leads to mistakes.
“I think sometimes you get a little too comfortable and you think that ‘aww man, we’ve done this before, its just going to happen.’ [In] game 40 a switch might be seamless, but in game five, you need to communicate a little more. So think we just have to build the right habits.”
The Warriors also struggled with turning the ball over several times, giving the ball up a total of 17 times. This seems to be a reoccurring theme for the Warriors this season and we will see what happens throughout this season.
“It feels like we’re still in training camp,” said Kerr. “Just the basic stuff, executing plays that we call, where we’re just in the wrong spot, we don’t get the punch, the force we need out of the plays.”
If there’s something to admire about Wednesday night’s game it should be the efforts shown by Curry and Durant as they kept the Raptors scoreless in the last two minutes of the game.
“We’re a championship team,” said Green. “We fought and that’s what we expect ourselves to do. Fight each and every time we step on the floor and when we do that, we give ourselves a chance to win every game.”