Steve Kerr said a shock defeat to the Suns served as a wake-up call for the Warriors after they clinched a playoff spot on Saturday.
The Warriors last week went down 115-111 to the Suns, which are rooted to the bottom of the Western Conference, handing their opponents a rare success in an otherwise disappointing season.
However, back-to-back victories over the Rockets and the Thunder since that stunning setback have made sure the Warriors — chasing a third successive NBA title — will be back in the postseason.
Kerr said being humbled by the Suns has done his team a favor in the long run.
“I think the loss to Phoenix opened our eyes a little bit,” Kerr said after Golden State’s 110-88 win over the Thunder.
“And I think our guys just felt threatened on the road. We’ve played two great teams, we’ve got another one, maybe the hottest team in the league in San Antonio coming up, so anytime they’re threatened, I think our guys tend to play better.”
Seven straight seasons earning a playoff berth
That’s a new franchise record for consecutive postseason appearances pic.twitter.com/Jo8lTGyI77
— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) March 17, 2019
Stephen Curry scored a game-high 33 points in an emphatic success, despite Kevin Durant still missing due to an ankle injury.
Curry has been pleased with the way the Warriors have coped without Durant.
“On the road, these last two games we wanted to start off with the right intentions, the right focus, obviously understanding with KD out we’re a little different.” said the two-time NBA MVP.
“So our energy and intensity has to be there because you’re missing 28 points out there on the floor. It’s hard to replace that.”