Golden State Warriors ‘best defensive game of the year’ sets stage for big run


MILWAUKEE — As he patiently answered questions during a post-shootaround media availability Friday afternoon, Steve Kerr was asked if there was any more pressure on his team heading into Friday night’s showdown with the Milwaukee Bucks given that the Bucks smoked the reigning champs by 23 points last month at Oracle Arena.

The Golden State Warriors‘ head coach deflected the question with an ease that can only come from the confidence of having been to four straight NBA Finals and winning three of them.

“No,” Kerr said matter of factly. “You know what happens if we lose tonight? Nothing. We fall another game back in the standings and there’s 55 games left or something, I didn’t do the math. But we’ve been here many times. We’ve been in the Finals four years in a row. A game like this isn’t going to phase us, but it has our attention because of what the Bucks did to us last game, but we’ve played much bigger games.”

After watching the Warriors take it to the Bucks throughout Friday night’s 105-95 win, the reality was that Kerr was slow-playing his team’s hand. They didn’t enjoy getting drilled at home and they wanted to send a subtle message both to the Bucks and the rest of the league: They’re better than everybody else, and this is just the beginning of what they believe will be a long stretch of wins as the core of the group gets healthy again.

“This is a game that meant a lot to us,” Kerr admitted after it was over. “We were embarrassed a few weeks ago. We have an eye on them. This is a team we could play later on and this is the last time we’re going to play them so we wanted to come out and give our best defensive effort, which I thought it was. I thought it was our best defensive game of the year. We got after it right from the opening tip.”

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