Hey all, filling in for the fill-in Carl Steward. I’ll be spending a bit of time with the Warriors over the next couple of weeks and will handle the first five games of the W’s massive seven-game East Coast road trip that begins Dec. 29. (I’ll be in Cleveland, Orlando, Miami, Atlanta and Washington before Carl joins the team to close out the trip in Milwaukee and Brooklyn). Feel free to find me on Twitter if you desire at @Jimmy_Durkin. On to some of the talk from today’s Warriors practice.
The Warriors are in a rough stretch. Poor starts, sloppy play and nine losses in their past 14 games. It’s killed the buzz of a good start and put a team with, as Stephen Curry said, “crazy expectations,” in a funk.
Nobody’s happy with how the team is playing, but they also aren’t getting overly concerned. They maintain confidence they’ll shake out of it.
“Nobody’s panicking, nobody’s jumping off the mission,” Curry said. “It’s just a tough time right now. We’ve got to battle through it.”
Coach Mark Jackson ripped into his team after the 106-102 loss to Phoenix on Sunday, saying, “I’m finding that the guys in suits and ties want it more than the guys in uniform.”
Those are pretty strong words, essentially saying the coaches are putting in the effort but the players aren’t. What’s also telling — and speaks to Jackson’s relationship with his team — is that the players seem to agree and understand where Jackson is coming from when he makes that statement.
“He’s passionate about leading us, trying to make us better, trying to get us to play as he envisioned us in the offseason,” Curry said of Jackson. “We’ve shown glimpses of it. I think that’s the most frustrating part. It’s not like we’ve been dogs the whole season. We’ve shown that we can do it, for some reason it hasn’t been as consistent as we want it to.”
Jackson is also of the mindset that his team will be just fine, but has to call it as he sees it with the team’s recent struggles.
“I just don’t think right now we’ve put together 48 minutes of our brand of basketball and it’s not acceptable,” Jackson said. “We’re fine. Everybody knows that. We’re aware of it. The only way out of it is to do something about it. Too often now, we continue to make the same mistakes. But we understand where we are and we’ll be just fine. There’s no question about that. But you’ve got to state the obvious.”
Curry provided an interesting take of this being a new experience for the Warriors. After years of losing, last year’s success came as a surprise and the team was praised for its achievements. The run to the Western Conference Semifinals — and the serious threat the provided to the San Antonio Spurs — was a big accomplishment considering the team’s history. But now they expect more.
“Last year we were the underdogs and anything good we did was a surprise,” Curry said. “We have crazy expectations for ourselves inside of our locker room of how we’re supposed to play. When we don’t do it and you start to lose games, frustration’s going to build because this is a new experience.”