Steve Kerr: Our mental conditioning needs to improve
While the Golden State Warriors may have gained the physical endurance to play through an NBA season after a preseason trip overseas, Steve Kerr doesn’t think his team’s mental strength matches up, even following a 117-112 win over the Toronto Raptors.
“Our mental conditioning is not where it needs to be,” said Kerr after the Warriors 117-112 victory over the Toronto Raptors.
The lack of focus was evident in the third quarter, as the Warriors squandered a 14-point lead Wednesday night in a stretch marred by turnovers, miscommunication, and an overall lack of focus.
Golden State’s mishaps nearly cost them the game as the Raptors took a brief five-point lead with 2:13 left before the Warriors ended the game on a 10-0 run, capped off by three-point bucket
“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.”
Rebounding, in particular, caught the ire of Kerr, who lamented the team’s lack of fundamentals on the boards. The Raptors, for their part, outrebounded the Warriors 42-37, led by Toronto forward Jakob Poeliti, who pulled down 14 of his own, including 11 offensive rebounds.
“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.”
In addition the rebounding woes, the Warriors continued to turn the ball over, giving the ball up 17 times. Turnovers have been a theme for the Warriors to start the season, as they are ranked near the bottom of the league in that category (25th).
“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.”
However, if there is a silver lining from Wednesday night it would be the effort shown during the last two minutes of the contest, when the Warriors, led by the exploits of Curry and Durant, held the Raptors scoreless.
“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.”