Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr has noticed the same trend many in league circles have seen with this current team — it all of a sudden isn’t the same.
Fortunately, Kerr has his share of experience with another championship-caliber team, his Chicago Bulls of the 90’s, who found their groove in the mid-to-late segment of the decade, but also faced plenty of struggles on the road to a three-peat.
“1996 was the 72-win team,” Kerr said of his Bulls team, according to Anthony Slater of The Athletic. “Then, ’97 we picked up where we left off, won 69 and it just never felt like we hit a wall. We had some injuries, maybe some speed bumps, but it never felt like we hit a wall.
“We hit a wall in ’98. You could feel it, exactly what I’m talking about (right now with the Warriors), you could feel us losing focus, losing momentum.”
The Bulls were able to go push a 26-8 run after a wonky 8-7 start just based on sheer talent, heading into the 1998 All-Star break at 34-15, a record that left much to expect for those used to the dominance exhibited by the ’96 and ’97 teams.
In the previous two seasons, they were 42-6 and 42-5 at the break, leaving their Eastern Conference opponents in the dust and running away with the top seed.
These Warriors punched in an NBA-best 48-4 and 47-9 starts before the break in the past two seasons, but have now come down to mortal territory, sporting a 44-14 record, having won only six of their last 10 games and trailing the Houston Rockets in the standings by a half game.
Gerard Samillano ·
“By far the most needed break for any team I’ve ever been a part of — GM, coach, player, however many years that is,” Kerr said. “I’ve never felt a situation like this where it felt so necessary to get away for a little bit.”
Golden State can use this timely opportunity to push the reset button and forget about a close road loss to the Portland Trail Blazers and make a push for the No. 1 seed with the Rockets in striking distance.