Forget the record books. Beating the Dallas Mavericks 123-110 Saturday night in the Lone Star state ensured that the Golden State Warriors would finish the season with the best record in the NBA. The Dubs secured the number one seed and critical home court advantage throughout the playoffs.
First year coach Steve Kerr set yet another milestone with 63 wins, the most ever for a rookie coach. As he was presented with the game ball in the locker room, his team showered him, not with champagne, but water and gatorade. And just like he has done since he took over, Kerr humbly and humorously shared the credit with his guys.
“The ball was great. The gatorade not so much, but still pretty fun. It was a great scene in there,” said Kerr.”I wasn’t really thinking of the significance of the record but those guys were when they presented me the ball. How lucky am I to coach these guys in my first year? Ridiculous.”
All-Star Andre Iguodala while joking that Coach Kerr inherited a deep team with great players says luck has nothing to do with it. “He’s done a good job of letting us keep our strengths,” explained Iguodala. “He hasn’t held Steph (Stephen Curry) or Klay (Thompson) back. He’s letting them be gun slingers but he’s said this is what you need to work on to get to the next level.”
Coach Kerr pounded three keys to reaching that next level all season long. First, the five time NBA champion stresses it all starts with defense and the Warriors lead the league in defensive rating. The next focus is on taking care of the ball by minimizing turnovers, and lastly, ball movement, asking players to make that extra pass and turn down a good shot for a great shot. The Warriors also lead the league in assists, points per game, and field goal percentage.
While much of the attention centers on the amazing scoring abilities of Splash Brothers, Curry and Thompson, the not so hidden strengths of this team firmly rest on defensive powerhouses Andrew Bogut, and Draymond Green and the depth of that bench which contains all-stars David Lee, Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, Leandro Barbosa, Marreese Speights and Festus Ezeli.
“They were ready to take the next step whether I was here or not,”explained Kerr. “All I’ve tried to do with my staff is let them do that. We have fun every day. We work hard but we enjoy being around one another.”
It’s ironic that tonight’s Warriors telecast was followed by a look back at the Giants Legends show reviewing the 2014 World Series Championship season. There are so many similarities between the two teams, their management and coach/manager. Every player contributed to the Giants’ success and clearly the Warriors share that “Together” feeling where on any given night any Warrior player can steal the spotlight. And as with the Giants, these Warriors are not satisfied with breaking records, their goal is to win the NBA Finals and ride in their own parade.
Their work isn’t done yet, but the foundation is set, and the home crowd will be there to cheer them on at Oracle, their ultimate advantage.