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Warriors’ Steve Kerr never thought about benching Jordan Bell after missed dunk

Jordan Bell, Steve Kerr

Everything matters more in the playoffs. Every possession, every shot, every foul call, every loose ball, every timeout, and every mistake could prove the difference between winning and losing, when the stakes are going home or continuing on the path toward a championship.

You could forgive the Golden State Warriors, then, for being frustrated with Jordan Bell after he clanked an uncontested transition dunk off the rim in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals. The Warriors were in the midst of coming back from a double-digit deficit on the road, too, against a Portland Trail Blazers team with its back against the proverbial wall after losing the first two games of this series at Oracle Arena. Golden State, basically, needed all the points it could get to try and steal a victory, especially given the fact that the team wouldn’t have the late-game luxury of dumping the ball to Kevin Durant in crunch time.

To a man, though, the Warriors took Bell’s gaffe in stride. Draymond Green, who threw a pinpoint outlet pass to set his young teammate up for a breakaway, briefly threw his arms up in frustration, but almost immediately regained his composure, telling Bell to move on to the next play. That message was also conveyed by coach Steve Kerr, who told The Athletic’s Ethan Strauss after the game that he never considered yanking Jordan Bell out of the game.

“No. You just leave him alone,” Kerr said of his response to Bell’s miss. “What am I going to say? ‘Hey Jordan! Don’t miss a dunk!'”

The Warriors, even without Durant, are arguably the most talented team in the league. One of the many attributes that makes Golden State’s whole so much more than sum of its parts, though, is a collective mindset of maturity and composure that takes years to develop – and clearly came into play after Bell’s embarrassing blunder.