Programming note: Warriors-Spurs coverage starts Tuesday at 7 p.m. with Warriors Pregame Live on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area
And with the sixth game, his first loss as an NBA head coach, Steve Kerr now has his teachable moment. Or moments. There were, after all, 27 of them.
The Warriors were destined to lose at some point and it came in fairly predictable fashion Sunday night. They were in Phoenix, playing the go-go Suns in the second game of a back-to-back road set, without star guard Klay Thompson and after center Andrew Bogut submitted a strenuous 37 minutes the previous night.
The Warriors started well enough, taking a 13-point lead (62-49) in the third quarter, but disintegrated down the stretch and leaving US Airways Center in Phoenix with a 107-95 loss during which the Warriors, already turnover-prone, committed a season-high 27.
"It came back to haunt us," Kerr said of a subject he has discussed maybe 27 times in the 33 days since the preseason opener. "You’re not going to win in this league turning it over 26 (actually 27) times.
"I thought we lost the game in the second quarter, really, to be honest with you. I mean, we could have been up twenty at the half. But careless turnovers again, so they hang around."
The Suns not only hung around, they grew stronger as the game went on, feasting on Warriors turnovers and getting fat at the foul line. Phoenix made 27 of 33 free throws and scored 30 points off gifts from the Warriors.
"We turned the ball over in the first half, but eventually they catch up to you," forward Draymond Green said. "I'm one of the main culprits; I had five myself. So we really just have to cut down on the turnovers. Once we do that, we'll be fine."
That has been Kerr's message for weeks, going back to preseason games. The Warriors (5-1) have yet to solve the problem. They average 22.3 turnovers per game, four more than the next highest team in the league.
[RELATED: NBA standings]
They were winning despite sloppiness until Sunday, when All-Star guard Stephen Curry had a game-high 28 points and 10 assists but also committed 10 turnovers.
"It's on us," Curry said. "We're the ones out there making plays, so we have to be conscious of it. It's the ultimate give-and-take between freedom to make plays and being aggressive. You don't want to take that away, but we've got to be able to control the game by making the smart plays and not just handing it to them.
"(Sunday) was the first night that the turnovers really affected the game in terms of us winning. It gave them life and easy buckets that they were struggling to find. And, obviously, they took advantage of it, especially in the second half. We've got to correct that."
There were a lot of reasons behind the Warriors allowing the Suns (4-3) to finish the game with a 58-33 run during which the crucial moments came late in the third quarter and early in the fourth.
With the Warriors taking possession up 10 (79-69) and 15.6 seconds left in the third quarter, Kerr reinserted Curry in hopes of getting a good last shot of the quarter. The move backfired when Curry committed an offensive foul and followed up by being whistled again when he gambled on defense.
Just like that, Curry was saddled with four fouls and the Suns saw an opening. They went on a 21-7 run and outscored the Warriors 38-16 the rest of the way.
"I figured I’d get (Curry) out there and try to get him a shot or at least open up the floor for someone else," Kerr said of turning to Curry. "I think he got the offensive foul with 1.9, that’s when I should have taken him out. That’s my mistake. I've got to get him out of there and get Shaun (Livingston) back in and not risk (Curry) picking up a fourth. And of course, he got the fourth and that changed the entire quarter. So that was definitely my mistake."
Well, yes it was. But Kerr on this night had plenty of company in committing miscues.
THE GOOD: Curry was terrific through most of three quarters, despite the turnovers. He played with surprising energy and looked for a while as if he could push the Warriors to victory.
Green and Harrison Barnes, perhaps sensing that Bogut was dragging, each grabbed nine rebounds to help build those early leads. Green also put in 22 points, while Barnes added 12.
THE BAD: The turnovers. They just kept coming and coming and coming, like rain clouds in Seattle or petty disputes between political parties.
On a night when the bench was really needed -- Thompson was sidelined by a sprained hand/wrist -- Warriors subs were outscored 48-17 by Suns reserves, led by firebrand guard Isaiah Thomas, who tallied 22 points.
Andre Iguodala had one of his most forgettable games as a Warrior, finishing with 1 point, three rebounds and one assist in 31 minutes.
THE TAKE: Kerr's preaching about reducing turnovers was easier to dismiss when the Warriors were undefeated. Now it's impossible to ignore the need to protect the ball. The Warriors faced long odds Sunday, but they were undone by turnovers.