Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr knows just what his players are going through down the stretch of a potentially record-setting season. Having stumbled to the finish of a 72-win season as a player with the Chicago Bulls two decades ago, Kerr is watching his Warriors do the same.
Steph Curry had an uncharacteristic off-shooting night on Tuesday, as Golden State committed 24 turnovers to squander an early 17-point lead on their way to an unexpected obstacle on their quest for 73 wins, losing 124-117 in overtime to the Minnesota Timberwolves.
“You have so much media attention and everybody talking about breaking the record and you lose focus a little bit,” said Kerr.
“The same thing happened 20 years ago. We didn’t play well down the stretch. This doesn’t surprise me. It’s easy to get lost in all this stuff. We haven’t been very dialled in of late.”
The Warriors (69-9) have lost twice at home in the past five nights. Their record 54-game home-winning streak in the regular season was snapped last Friday by Boston and they lost again to the Timberwolves, failing in their first attempt to join the Bulls as the only teams to win 70 games in a season. Chicago also lost two late home games before finishing with the record 72 wins. The Warriors must sweep their final four games to break that mark, starting as hosts tonight to San Antonio Spurs.
“We put ourselves in a position where it’s a realistic goal,” said Curry, who missed 18 of 25 shots. “We have to embrace the challenge. Obviously it’s not easy to get it done. We’re proving that right now.”
It was a strange first half, with Curry missing all eight shots he took from the field and not scoring a single point until making a pair of free throws with 27.8 seconds remaining. Curry didn’t make his first shot from the field until hitting a three-pointer with just over nine minutes left in the third quarter.
Curry then made three more from long range in a span of less than two minutes late in the quarter before going three for 11 in the fourth quarter and overtime.
“I was able to bounce back from that crazy, weird shooting in the first half and have some impact on the game,” said Curry. “Down the stretch, I have to slow down a bit.”
Players from all four provinces have made the cut to be on the plane to Sofia, with two of the squad bringing their experience from the 2015 Championships. Ireland is in Group B alongside Israel, MKD, Hungary, Scotland, and England.
David Murray ranked in the top 10 players of the tournament for field goal accuracy with a 50.9% return in two-point range, while he grabbed 14 points in a play-off win over Luxembourg. His Ireland and Neptune team-mate Cian Heaphy had career highs in the wins over both Scotland and Norway. Neptune are also represented in the squad by Scott Hannigan and Darragh O’Sullivan, while Demons’ James Beckom is also named.
Ireland U16 Squad:
Max Amadasun (Dublin Lions), Kris Arcilla (Templeogue), James Beckom (Blue Demons/), Mark Convery (Moycullen), Scott Hannigan (Neptune), Paul Kelly (Moycullen), Eoin McCann (KUBS), Jack Moran (Sligo All Stars), Darragh O’Sullivan (Neptune), Matthew Rooney (Queens), David Murray (Neptune), Cian Heaphy (Neptune).
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved