OAKLAND – It wasn’t long ago in the preseason when Warriors interim head coach Luke Walton was going over the NBA’s timeout rules with Steve Kerr.
During a timeout in Wednesday’s thriller of a game against the Los Angeles Clippers and the Warriors trailing by eight points with 8:19 left in the fourth quarter, Walton knew which buttons to press.
“He came to the huddle telling us they were really excited jumping up and down when they got up eight, and don’t let that deflate us because there’s still eight minutes left,” guard Klay Thompson said. “We crawled back in it. Luke was great out there.”
The Warriors came back and won 112-108 to improve their record to 5-0 under the watchful eye of the 35-year-old Walton.
The Warriors had won so easily in previous games that Walton wasn’t necessarily in the spotlight, not with Stephen Curry going bonkers. The win against the Clippers presented more challenges, with Curry in foul trouble and struggling with his shot early. Walton saw his bench steady the game and then went to a small-ball lineup late in the game to earn the victory.
In support of his players, Walton let the officials have it at times. He also got after his own guys too.
“I’m still laid-back, but I’ve always been competitive,” Walton said. “When you’re in the heat of the battle and you get going, there’s emotions out there, and the guys know that. It’s the same way when I played. It’s just you want to win, and you try everything you can to make that happen, and sometimes that makes you get a little louder than normal and use some words you normally wouldn’t use.”
But still, he’s Cool Luke.
“He’s just like very cool, and he’s always composed,” Thompson said. “He didn’t panic.”