Jermaine O’Neal is playing for the Warriors this season — possibly the last of an 18-year NBA career — so he can have a chance at winning it all.
So after the Warriors crumbled against the Charlotte Bobcats at home in a 91-75 loss that featured their worst shooting percentage in a single game in nearly 10 years, O’Neal following his first game back coming off wrist surgery told it like it was as he iced that right wrist.
Golden State needs to be more consistent if it’s going to have a chance at what O’Neal wants.
“It’s really a mentality,” O’Neal said. “That’s really what it is (for) the great teams in this league and in the history of this league and even in sports. You look at the Super Bowl. I’m sure none of y’all picked it to go that way, but when you look at the comments that some of the Seahawks made in their approach to the game every single night, they felt they were the biggest, baddest dog on the field that night. And whether they were or not, that was just their mentality. That’s where we have to get to.
“Until we do that, we’re going to have these roller coaster rides. The toughest part is we can’t win it all like that for sure. Maybe you can get to the playoffs and win a round or two, but if we’re talking about winning it all, then we’ve got to adjust our thought process.”
Who else on the 29-20 Warriors is willing to put his foot down and not just call losses like the one to the under-.500 Bobcats unacceptable, but also play as if they actually are?
Coach Mark Jackson continues to express confidence the team will figure it all out, and now the players will have to show better resolve in order to prove him right. That means matching the energy of their opponents and fans at home. That means aiming to get stops. That means no slumped shoulders when things don’t go well on offense.
“If we ‘re talking about being as good as we expect to be, our defense can’t fluctuate because there’s going to be times we don’t score the basketball,” O’Neal said. “That’s just the nature of the game.”