Warriors on rare 4-game losing streak but not panicking

ByNick Friedell ESPN logo
Thursday, November 22, 2018

OAKLAND, Calif. -- For the first time in the Steve Kerr era, the Golden State Warriors have lost four games in a row.

The latest setback came Wednesday night in a 123-95 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder, a game in which the Warriors never found a solid rhythm and struggled to close down the stretch yet again.

It's the first time the Warriors have dropped four straight since Feb. 26-March 2, 2013, according to ESPN Stats & Information. The 450 games between those losing streaks is the fourth-longest such streak in NBA history, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

"We just aren't scoring the ball well," Warriors forward Kevin Durant said. "It's tough for us to find the rim right now scoring it; 95 points, we don't really want that. We haven't been shooting the ball well, all of us. So we knock down some shots.

"I think our defense was solid to start the game. I think we did a good job on the defensive side of the ball. But after a while, shots don't fall, it leads to other things. They shot 23 more shots than us? That's a way to get beat."

During their four-game skid, the Warriors are averaging 95.5 points. While the group is frustrated about its recent play, there is a confidence within the locker room given that Draymond Green (toe) and Stephen Curry (strained left groin) are both expected to be back at some point in the near future.

Curry has missed six straight games and is expected to miss at least a few more after injuring his groin during a Nov. 8 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks. Green has missed three straight games as he continues to deal with a lingering toe issue.

"Our guys, they're not gonna get too discouraged," Kerr said. "They know, especially the guys who have been in this league for a long time, they know the drill. We haven't felt this a whole lot here the last few years -- maybe once or twice -- but this is part of being in the league. You're banged up, you lose games. You just fight your way out of it and get healthy and you keep going, and things'll turn."

Kerr has been trying to push positive vibes during his team's recent bad stretch, which dates to a Nov. 12 overtime loss on the road to the LA Clippers. That loss was overshadowed by a verbal altercation between Green and Durant that shook the team and caused Green to miss a Nov. 13 win over the Atlanta Hawks because of a one-game suspension for "conduct detrimental to the team."

While both players and coaches have said they are moving past the incident -- Durant was noticeably more upbeat before Wednesday's game -- the reality is the team hasn't looked right for over a week as it tries to find its focus without Curry.

"It's a long season, man," backup point guard Quinn Cook said. "Two weeks ago, we were unbeatable ... the best team ever. Now we face a little adversity, lose four, we believe in each other. Championship basketball club, we know we got to be better, but it's a long season."

Veteran guard Klay Thompson echoed the sentiment, believing better days were ahead soon. One of the larger issues for the team in the short term is that younger players like Damian Jones, Damion Lee, Kevon Looney and new addition Jonas Jerebko are still trying to find their place within the system as Curry and Green recover.

"You never want to make excuses in this league," Thompson said. "But we still have a bunch of new guys and young guys, and we're still getting acclimated with how to play with each other. It wasn't pretty tonight. Hasn't been these past four games. But if you want to take a positive out of tonight, it's the first time we've ever lost four games in a row with Steve. So for his five years here, that's pretty amazing if you really think about it."

Instead of being down about the way the past week and a half unfolded, the players walked out of the locker room Wednesday night believing they could turn things around during a home back-to-back this weekend against the Portland Trail Blazers and Sacramento Kings.

"They're not just gonna happen. We gotta make 'em happen," Durant said of the notion that better days were ahead. "I got confidence in everybody in the locker room that we'll make those better days happen, but it's not gonna just pop outta nowhere and get better for us."

Kerr joked that he might try some new tactics to loosen up his team heading into the next game Friday.

"I'm thinking of juggling at shootaround Friday," Kerr said. "And you know that paddleball game? I'm not very good at it, but I might try that too."

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