Kevin Durant concerned by Warriors' effort after surviving near-collapse against Kings: We have to be better
Durant says Golden State's discipline was an issue against Sacramento, and must get fixed or it will lead to more losses
After leading by as many as 16 points against the Sacramento Kings on Friday night, the Golden State Warriors found themselves down by double figures with less than three minutes to play in the game. Though a late rally by the defending champions ultimately allowed them to walk away with a 130-125 win, their inconsistent play was concerning to Kevin Durant, especially on the heels of a home loss to the Toronto Raptors.
"We have got to be better," Durant said after the game, via The Sporting News. "We can't have lows like that, especially when we are playing a solid game in the first half. We can't have lows like that because in the playoffs. If we do, we are going to lose.
"We weren't disciplined. We were shooting shots just to shoot them, throwing passes just to pass them -- no sense of urgency, no purpose ... Against a young team like that on the road, they are looking for something to let them back in the game, and we just let them back in."
Though Durant was unhappy with his team's overall effort against the Kings, it wasn't all negative, as he was encouraged by how the Warriors finished out the game.
"Late in the game we just simplified everything," Durant said. "We were down 10 points in the fourth with three minutes to go, we just simplified it.
"[Coach Steve Kerr was saying] just be solid, stay solid. We know this team plays fast so they're gonna make runs, but I thought we did a good job staying poised in the fourth. We made some great adjustments down on the defensive side of the ball, and late in the fourth we just went and played. We were down 10, it's a pickup game and you've got to get a bucket as fast as you can -- we just tried to go and we got stops."
Moving forward, Kerr wants to see more poise from the Warriors, who'll take the court next against the Grizzlies on Sunday night (10:30 p.m. ET -- watch on fuboTV with the NBA League Pass extension).
"We had several spurts in that second half where we sort of lost our composure and just couldn't get anything going," Kerr said of the comeback win over the Kings. "We knew we could get back in it if we were just poised and a little more patient offensively."
Though Kerr wasn't necessarily impressed with his own team's effort on Friday night, he was impressed by their opponent.
"They're good," Kerr said of the Kings, via NBC Sports Bay Area. "They're playing with a lot of confidence, and they're playing fast. They have a lot of shooters, and they can put pressure on you, and they don't quit either.
"We were in control of that game most of the way, and then it just completely collapsed on us. But it had to do with their pressure and their execution."
Klay Thompson, who hit the go-ahead basket for the Warriors in the comeback win, pointed to the team's experience in high-pressure situations as the main reason they were able to come out victorious.
"We've been to four straight Finals together, so we know how to make plays on the high stage," Klay Thompson said. "A game in December I don't think is going to faze us. So just play under control and that's what we did the last three minutes."
Durant's warning about inconsistent play is similar to comments Steph Curry made after the Warriors 113-93 loss to the Raptors on Wednesday night.
"The margin between winning and losing in this league is small in general," Curry said. "We're not invincible to getting beat [like that] if we don't execute."
Durant himself echoed a similar warning prior to the start of the playoffs last season.
"It's cool that people [looked] at us like we're invincible, but we're not, and you see it with the injuries that we have," Durant said in April, via USA Today. "We're not superhuman. I think when we play basketball the right way, we're damn good. But if we don't come out there and focus, we can lose to anybody, and you've seen that."
Technically, no, the Warriors aren't invincible. But, when they're healthy -- and engaged -- they're as close to it as any team in recent memory.
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