OAKLAND – Sitting in a back office at Oracle Arena, Steve Kerr did plenty of shifting and stewing while watching the Warriors play perhaps their most nonchalant first half of the season Monday night.
He may be on leave of absence, but he’s still the head coach. And when the Warriors entered the locker room wearing a 61-58 deficit against the lowly Kings, Kerr had to get a few things off his chest.
The Warriors heard him, loud and clear, none more than forward Draymond Green.
“It was just, ‘Be a championship team,'” Green said of the message. “‘Play like we’re trying to win a championship, and not like we’re trying to win a pickup game.’”
After the Warriors were jolted by a 28-7 Sacramento run spanning the final 4:21 of first quarter and the first 5:46 of the second, interim coach Luke Walton gladly stepped aside to let the boss convey his thoughts.
“Normally he talked in the coach’s room,” Walton said. “But this is his team. He was just as frustrated as the rest of us at the way the first half went. When we got in there, he said that he had something to say. And when the boss says he’s got something to say, you let the boss speak.
“He wasn’t yelling at people. He was just making the point of who we are and who we need to be. That was not what happened in the first half.”
After taking roughly seven minutes to race out to a 23-13 lead, the Warriors seemed to get casual. Which devolved into negligence. The defense took a nap. The offense committed 10 first-half turnovers, off which the Kings scored 16 points.
“It was awful,” Green said.
It took a dazzling scoring spree by Stephen Curry to put life into the building and keep the Warriors from being down by more than three. He scored 17 points in the final 3:16 of the half. The Warriors cut an 11-point deficit to three.
“It wasn’t just the turnovers,” Green said. “It was just the style of play. Steph kind of bailed us out, be we didn’t execute. We didn’t get it done on the defensive end.
“It was just all-around pathetic.”
And Kerr, who has not sat on the bench all season, was not going to stand for it. He spoke up, and the Warriors responded by opening the second half on a 21-5 run – with the final 14 points coming without a Sacramento response.
“Be us,” Curry said was the tone of Kerr’s speech. “Don’t get bored with the process, which I don’t think we did. Don’t get trapped into losing the focus of how we play and how we’re going to be successful down the road.”
It should be noted that Kerr will travel with the team Tuesday on the flight to Dallas. This is his first out-of-state trip with the Warriors this season. He won’t coach, not yet, but that doesn’t mean he’ll be silent.