PHOENIX — The Warriors ended up with a hard-fought, 106-100 win over the Suns on Sunday, but it was perhaps more difficult than anyone expected. Phoenix led by as many as 13 points in the first half, and battled the league’s latest super-team to the game’s final few possessions before ultimately coming up short.
Golden State is 2-1 now, picking up victories over two teams that don’t figure to be in the playoff picture after the embarrassing opening-night loss to the Spurs. But while the wins may come against lesser opponents, head coach Steve Kerr admits that his team is far from operating anywhere close to its full potential.
“This is not coming easily,” he said. “We have a new team — a lot of different faces. But even for the returning guys, it’s a different mix.
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“We’re not clicking. Everybody can see that.”
The issues are as glaring as they are surprising. Take away Stephen Curry’s 5-of-8 shooting from beyond the arc, and the Warriors combined to shoot just 3-of-21 from three-point distance, with many of those shots coming on wide-open looks. Draymond Green missed all four of his attempts, and Klay Thompson was a shocking 0-for-6.
Teams aren’t afraid of this current collection of Warriors, at least not yet. The Suns didn’t hesitate to push the tempo, which last season would have been a recipe for disaster. Phoenix and others have also been more physical with the Warriors early on, which is something that definitely has gotten Green’s attention.
"Teams are trying to punk us, and, it’s fine," Green said. "We’re not going to get punked. With that and trying to figure everything out, it’s a process. I’d much rather be here now and start peaking when it’s the right time than where we were at the start of last season. I feel like we kind of peaked too early, so I think we’re in a good space."
The way last season began for Golden State with 24 straight victories, and the way it ended (say it with me) with the Warriors blowing a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals provides the team with some much-needed perspective. It’s not about now, necessarily. Which is why, despite the early-season struggles, no one has come close to hitting the panic button just yet.
“I didn’t expect it all to click right away,” Green said. “It’ll come. Nobody’s worried about it.”