OAKLAND -- In the five weeks since Christmas, the Warriors are 13-2, with 12 of the wins by double-digit margins. They were playing so well that splitting their last two games set off an alarm with coach Steve Kerr and his staff.
So the team went back to school on Thursday, toiling through one of their longest practices of the season.
"We've had a couple close games in a row," Kerr said. "We've had some good things that we've done (in certain situations) and a couple things that we didn't do so well, so it's a good day to go over late-game execution."
This comes in the wake of 114-111 win over the Celtics on Sunday, followed by a pulsating 113-111 overtime loss to the Bulls on Tuesday that snapped the Warriors' 19-game win streak in their Oracle Arena home.
[RECAP: Warriors home streak end with OT loss]
Blowout wins are nice, even preferred. The Warriors have gotten accustomed to them, as 27 of their 36 victories have been by 10 or more points.
But it's unrealistic to expect such comfortable margins over the course of a full season. Moreover, big leads don't prepare a team for the high-stakes games of March and April and, of course, the postseason.
Losing to the Bulls served as a warning for what the Warriors can expect when they don't have center Andrew Bogut on the court to face opponents with a defensive mentality and considerable length in the paint.
"It's good for us to get tested," guard Klay Thompson said. "We hadn't been tested in a while, especially at home. It would've been great if we'd won, but there were a few mental errors at the end and some easy shots we missed that I know will go down next time."
Maybe the Warriors needed to experience some tight games.
"I never want to say we need that," Kerr said. "I'd much rather just win. But you definitely learn from those games."
Chief among the things the Warriors learned, and not for the first time, is that the absence of Bogut, who missed the game with an illness, leaves them vulnerable to teams with productive height.
Another thing they learned is that they're not accustomed to being in tight games in the final minutes.
And there is no question there was plenty teaching and learning going in Thursday at the team facility.