The Golden State Warriors are in the midst of a crisis of confidence, but not the way you would think.

It's not that they're suddenly lacking confidence. Far from it. The Warriors remain defiant after losing Game 3 of the Western Conference finals to the Thunder Sunday night, 133-105, a game in which they trailed by 41 points at one point. Instead, Golden State's struggling to find the balance between a confidence in that nothing they're facing is new or really challenging, that their swagger can overcome any obstacle, and the mental focus to not only play with confidence, but with precision.

This is not about hubris. This is not karmic. The Warriors have danced for two years, celebrated before shots went down for two years, laughed in the face of the idea of humility for two years, and all it won them was 67 and then 73 games, an NBA title, two MVP trophies for Steph Curry and a place atop the discussions for "best teams of all-time."

It's about the mental approach they need at this particular time, in this particular series, against this particular team.

After getting taken to school in Game 3, being run off the floor, even with their mighty "Death" lineup, the Warriors weren't concerned. That's fine, they shouldn't be. Concern can breed fear, fear can lead to doubt, doubt leads to panic and bad play (and the Dark Side, presumably). It's a matter of degrees. How much confidence is too much? How little concern is obliviousness to the urgency of the situation?

This does not look like a team that is rattled by being down 2-1 in the conference finals:

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The Warriors aren't overly concerned with their 2-1 deficit USATSI

But then, they shouldn't be. The Warriors have lost four Game 3's during their run under Steve Kerr, and won each series. They've trailed in a series 2-1 twice, won both times. Golden State knows it can win this series. On the bench, throughout Game 3, the Warriors were joking, laughing, smiling. "One of those games" was what seemed to be the sense among the players. After the game, the Warriors largely shrugged.

"It was just a bad flow out there, and we couldn't stop it. I mean, that was basically it," Curry said.

"It did (look weird) a little bit," Andrew Bogut said. "We missed some shots. They shot very, very well."

Nothing needs to change. Nothing needs adjusted. The Warriors don't need to play different, they just need to make more shots.

This is where it gets very difficult to unwrap reality from the very "idea" of the Warriors. When the Warriors' shots don't fall, it's very easy to say, "they're rushing" or "they're taking bad shots." When they go in, it's "Steph's gonna Steph!" or "that's the Warriors!" while a laughtrack and sitcom outro music plays in the background. They always make those shots.

Consider what Shaun Livingston said after the game. When asked about all the quick shots the Warriors took in Game 3, Livingston said: "I mean we have the best shooters in the world. I think this is the brand of basketball, I don't want to say created, but influenced. Coach gives freedom to our guys to be able to make plays."

Now, compare that with this Kerr's quotes from after the game ...

"We were moving the ball and we started to get control of them defensively, and then we put our starters back in and they stopped moving the ball, they were taking quick shots, which was just feeding their transition. It wasn't so much turnovers, it was more just bad shots, quick shots, no movement."

And ...

"They were beating us to loose balls, to rebounds, and as I said, our quick shots just fed their transition and they got their crowd involved."

And ...

"So that just happened to be the point where we really stopped moving the ball, stopped cutting, and all those quick shots with their fast lineup out there caused a lot of problems for us."

Kerr used the phrase "quick shots" five times in the span of 13 questions Sunday night, and this comes on the tail of Game 1 where he expressed similar concerns. Kerr has always struggled with this balance. He created this monster that pushes the tempo and has redefined entirely what a "good shot" is, and now he's struggling because there are good, quick shots. Then, there's this:

Check out Kerr's reaction, which I totally missed the first time. (HT: Brett Ward)

The Warriors players don't seem to think there's any issue, because, well, the shots just didn't go in.

"It was more just their offense didn't allow our defense to get set," Curry said. "Took a lot of quick shots that didn't go in and gave them that advantage in transition. We just didn't handle their runs very well because of that."

Is he right? Is it as simple as the quick shots didn't go in, and that was the issue? Do the Warriors need better shot selection? Or do they need to work a little harder to find rhythm shots? How do you remain confident while also playing with the right sense of urgency and attention? How do you balance not panicking with understanding how serious your situation is, that this isn't the Bucks in December?

Here's what Kerr said Monday before practice about those "quick shots" and why the Warriors are taking so many of them:

Q: Why are you taking those early shots?

KERR: "I think falling behind. I think guys are so competitive they want to do it by themselves, they want to help us get right back in it with a couple of big shots, when the reality is over the course of 48 minutes you have to move the ball, you have to be patient, especially against their length and athleticism.

"The quick shots against this team, there's two problems. One is their length and athleticism, they're probably going to be able to challenge a quick shot. Because you haven't made them move at all. And then two, you're vulnerable in transition.So both those things hurt us last night."

Source: Steve Kerr on Draymond Green's status, the interpretation, and the Warriors' situation, down 2-1 in Oklahoma City - Talking Points.

Gregg Popovich coaches his players about "appropriate fear." It's about not letting that fear overwhelm you, but letting it push you. The Warriors seem to have no real sense of that. Part of that is because they were clearly staggered by going down 2-1 to the Grizzlies last year, and responded. They were rattled by their first NBA Finals appearance, and responded. So there's a temptation to feel immune to the fire, but this is the best team the Warriors have faced.

And yet I can't tell you whether the Warriors should change their approach. "Listen to your coach," seems like an easy thing, but the players know what they need to do. That's how they won 73 games, cruised to a title last year, and made it this far. That "swagger" or whatever you want to call it, has been their lifeblood. Should they abandon that reckless, unabashed, unchecked self-possession, just because they happened to lose two out of three games, with Curry less than 100 percent?

Or maybe they should they recognize that it's going to take better basketball to beat this team? This isn't the Grizzlies with an injured Mike Conley, solved by just not guarding Tony Allen. (Andre Roberson is making them pay, which continues to be a tipping point in this series.) This isn't the Cavaliers without Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. The Warriors were better than those teams, and they're better than the Thunder, if we're being 100 percent honest. But you can say the same thing about the Spurs with regards to OKC, and if you want to ask how that worked out, you can reach Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge (and Gregg Popovich and his "appropriate fear") at home.

Shots falling can't impact their defense. The Warriors seemed desperate for those shots to fall and the more they didn't, the more it seemed to bother their energy and effort. This play sums up Game 3 entirely for the Warriors. Watch Green's reaction after he misses the shot, and then what happens on the other end.

That's the Warriors' "heart and soul," their emotional engine, who had about as bad a night as you can have and finished with a minus-43 that somehow felt representative, despite that stat's limitations in single-game context.

These questions aren't binary. The Warriors don't need to abandon their confidence, or completely ignore. They have to find that balance, just in a greater degree than they've had to this season. For two years, the Warriors have experienced manifest destiny; their success determined by will, desire, and execution. Now, their execution has slipped while their confidence has grown.

Make no mistake, the Thunder are just as brash. Curry's one-legged, off-balance fadeaway 3-pointers off the crossover have similar impact as Westbrook's "leap from five feet out, drift through the air, off-balance, off-the-glass layups." The only difference is that Curry's got a higher efficiency on his shots. The Warriors have to match that, to a degree, but it has to come with an urgency and self-awareness of their own game. They have to take care of their game, even as they try and splatter the floor of Chesapeake Energy Arena with it in Game 4.

Maybe this is all moot and the shots will just fall in Game 4. That's not a platitude, it's a very real possibility. But great teams are often made by their ability to win when things don't go right. Things haven't gone right for the Warriors in two of the three games of this series. A 3-1 deficit would not be unconquerable for Golden State, but it's not a hole they would relish facing. To avoid it, the Warriors have to find a way to mold their confidence into a better focus, to return to the execution they're capable of, and to remind the Thunder that Golden State is the better team, not because of what they feel, but because of what they do.

The world is waiting for Golden State to show that they're still the team that set the world of sports on fire. They have to show they can contain the flames vs. the Thunder, or risk being burned by the judgment of history.

They'll try to do just that in Game 4, Tuesday, in Oklahoma City.

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The Thunder have challenged Draymond Green and the Warriors USATSI