At multiple points during an NBA season, teams are met with games that fans and pundits alike consider measuring-stick contests. Mystical, one-night affairs that somehow reveal the untold truths of a months-long campaign. On Thursday, the Golden State Warriors had one of their own against the Milwaukee Bucks.
Entering the bout, the Warriors had lost three games in four tries, struggling offensively along the way. If they could just beat the defending champion Bucks, though, it would prove that all is right with the world.
Instead, the Warriors fell on their collective faces. The Bucks won by 19 points and never trailed in the game. Milwaukee was also plus-15 on the fast break and plus-12 in the paint. Meanwhile, Giannis Antetokounmpo lit the Dubs up with a 30-12-11 line, adding three blocks for good measure.
As a result, three in four has now become four in five for Golden State with a road bout against the East-leading Chicago Bulls looming. However, as Warriors coach Steve Kerr sees it, this is just the kind of thing that happens when you’re competing. He’s more interested in what comes after a slump or a setback than the thing itself.
“Part of being a competitor is, once in a while, you get your ass kicked, and it’s humiliating and it’s not fun, and it’s all about how do you respond,” Kerr said, via NBC Sports Bay Area.
“We’ll find it again. Right now, we are a little out of sorts. We just have to weather the storm.”
Steph Curry Sounds off on the Struggle & What Has to Happen
For his part, Stephen Curry — who was held to 12 points on 4-of-11 shooting in the game — has a similar outlook on what’s occurring. He believes that the Warriors need to look themselves in the eye and remember who they are.
“It’s a situation where you are comparing yourself to yourself,” Curry said. “There is never a moral victory situation, we’re not talking about that. It’s maintaining confidence in who you are, what you established yourself to be.”
In spite of their recent struggles, the Warriors continue to be in that small group of teams that are legitimately contending for a title; what’s happening now is simply part of the journey. That’s not to say there isn’t work to be done, though.
“We beat some really good teams in this league, we have lost to some really good teams, we’ve got blown out a couple times,” Curry said. “It’s the life of an 82-game schedule. But where it gets tricky is there are consistent things that show up night after night, and obviously, we have to correct that sooner than later.”
Although the MVP frontrunner believes that there’s some soul-searching to be done, Curry reiterated that no one is overreacting to what’s going on currently.
“We want to be able to right the ship as quick as possible. But there is no panic.”
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The Klay Adjustment
A perhaps underreported aspect of what’s going on in Golden State right now is the chaos that has been created by the return of Klay Thompson. Although the five-time All-Star could eventually ease some of Steph’s burden and diversify Golden State’s attack, it’s going to be a rough build up to that point.
“We tried to prepare for it, but it is an adjustment,” Curry said of the changing rotation. “As far as where we are in the season, there is no panic because we have time to figure that out for guys to get comfortable. We knew Klay was coming back — a new starting lineup, Draymond [Green] being out has required some adjustments…
“This period we are in right now where we have to make those adjustments and continue to get better, stay patient and get everybody comfortable with our new chemistry and then a playoff push which by post-All-Star break type vibe where you have to get really dialed in and understand who you are.”