SAN FRANCISCO — Following a 31-point loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday night, Warriors star guard Stephen Curry expressed frustration with his team’s recent play, acknowledging it’s time for Golden State to stop having “embarrassing” performances.
“We’ve got to play better,” Curry told reporters after the 128-97 defeat. “We have to develop a winning attitude every single night, and honestly, we’ve got to get sick of getting blown out, because that’s embarrassing. We have to have some pride about how we’re playing. You can lose games — that’s going to happen — but not like that.”
At 20-20, this young Warriors team has been consistently inconsistent in its effort all season. In some games, such as Sunday’s 131-119 home win over the league-leading Utah Jazz, Curry and the Warriors find a different gear and can play with the NBA’s elite. But Monday’s 31-point rout offered a harsh reminder of many of the blowouts the Warriors have endured throughout this campaign.
“I think these last two days kind of define our team in a lot of ways,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “In a span of 36 hours, we beat the team with the best record in the league with a spirited defensive effort and then lost by 31 points to another great team. Who are we? What kind of team are we? We are 20-20 for a reason. We haven’t been able to put together consistent efforts with execution at both ends of the floor. We are too up and down. We’ve got to find a way to put together some good games.”
The Warriors have been echoing a similar message all season. The issue for Kerr is that aside from Curry’s brilliance, no other player on the roster has competed with the kind of consistency needed to string a long winning streak together and avoid poor performances such as Monday’s latest setback. Veterans Draymond Green, Andrew Wiggins and Kelly Oubre Jr. have all had nice games, but each player has struggled to live up to the high standard the Warriors have set over the years, night after night.
“I’m trying to say something different that I haven’t said all year,” Curry said, when asked what it would take for the Warriors to get back to being an above-average team. “I don’t know. I don’t know. There’s just certain principles, obviously, of how we’re going to play. It’s our identity that has to show up every night, and at the end of the day, I think I said it [Sunday] night, our expectations go through the roof when you play like you did against Utah and then you come and drop the ball tonight, and that’s why we are 20-20, but it takes a lot.
“Winning is hard in this league. We all know that, and we all know you can’t just show up and momentum’s not just going to carry just because you played well the game before. I think it’s a collective effort across the board, but it’s just an understanding that winning is hard and we talk about the margins and where we are as a team. If you want to beat the good teams, you can’t have any cracks in the armor.”
Kerr has tried changing his rotation since the All-Star break, but rookie center James Wiseman, second-year guard Jordan Poole and rookie guard Nico Mannion have all had mixed results as part of a group of reserves that has struggled most of the season.
“I think in the last two days we’ve shown the highs of what we can do and the lows of what we can do,” Curry said. “So you can’t get caught up in the emotional roller coaster. But you do have to have a sense of pride about playing hard, playing physical, competing, just being dead ass exhausted when you walk off the floor because you gave it everything you have. And then that’ll, in turn, put us in better positions to win.”
Curry, who Turner Sports cameras caught yelling in frustration toward his teammates during Thursday’s blowout loss at the LA Clippers, was asked if there were any positives he could take from Monday’s game.
“Absolutely nothing,” Curry said.