Though his team lost another game Saturday night - a defeat that dropped them to 6-9 in their last 15 games - Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr was far more satisfied with his players' effort than he was after their performance Thursday night, which he deemed "pathetic."
Against the desperate New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday, the Warriors carried a four-point lead into the fourth quarter, before ultimately being undone by a slew of turnovers and some red-hot Pelicans shooting. To Kerr, this was a far cry from Thursday's 20-point drubbing at the hands of the Indiana Pacers, and it has him feeling better about where his team is at as the playoffs approach.
"We're going to be alright," Kerr told reporters postgame. "Tonight, we were playing a team that desperately needs to win. You can tell the teams around the league that have to win, like they're getting after it, they're playing for their season. Our season begins next week, and we know that. So, I'm not disappointed with the effort."
That's been the through line of the Golden State's season. Even before getting railroaded by injuries, the Warriors seemed to be pacing themselves, approaching the 2017-18 campaign with the longest of views. Kerr told the team at the start of the regular season started how emotionally challenging it was going to be to maintain focus and hunger for 82 games while trying to win a third title in four years. Warriors players like Kevin Durant have explained how difficult it was to go from winning a championship to starting again from square one.
The Warriors are playing without two-time MVP Steph Curry, are locked into the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference, and at this point are just trying to get to the playoffs without suffering another significant injury. We'll know a lot more about them in a week.
"It has been a long haul, for sure," Kerr said. "I was hoping that we would be heading into the playoffs healthy - obviously, everyone wants that - but because we weren't able to, the last few weeks have been made more difficult. But this is all part of it, it's all part of the journey, and this is our journey this year. Every year's different. It's been a bumpy road, but here we are, and I'm really proud of our guys. We have, what, 57 wins? And a couple more games, and a chance to go into next weekend relatively healthy. So we're in good shape."