All game stories, all articles, everything about the 122-110 Golden State Warriors win over the Indiana Pacers revolved around Steve Kerr. News broke around 11am during the day that the best coach in the entire NBA would return after a long hiatus with back and head issues. Rightfully so, the entire focus of the game, the atmosphere, and now, the season is set on Kerr and his return, emergence, and importance. So much of the attention was surreal that Kerr, after addressing the media for nearly 15 minutes after the game, walked off the stage and mused to PR man Raymond Ridder about how long the cameras stuck to his face before the game had even begun.
For six minutes once the exhibition game began before the main meal against the San Antonio Spurs, the Warriors showed off the flair and craving for excitement that exemplified this team a year ago. From Curry sprinting off a screen and draining a 3 with both legs pointed the wrong way to the ridiculous chemistry-forming cuts and swerves, the Warriors brought their best game for their coach.
The actual content itself was nothing short of the Warriors coasting, relaxed and without urgency all but about 6-8 minutes. The flashes of brilliance scattered through the 2-4 quarter while bookended by the first 6 minutes and the Death Lineup close-out was enough to keep the Pacers at bay. Throw in Stephen Curry's two halfcourt shots and there was enough of an adrenaline rush to call this a sweeping success for a team that Kerr admitted played a little worse because of the first home game after a road trip.
As for Kerr himself, his postgame pressers are usually superb works of entertainment. Rather than just fixate on how quickly he's jumping up off the bench, it's easier to gauge the mental health of someone who just came back from an extended leave of absence. There was Kerr, strolling into the media room smiling, and joking from the onset. And usually the greatest part of Kerr when he is right is the wittiness of those jokes, then a pause, then the next 20-30 seconds of him thoughtfully reponding to that questions with an illuminating response. The game was good, the storylines are fun, but let's just dive into Kerr's conference.
When asked how he felt about Steph's performance, "Great coaching.....Steph hits halfcourt shots all the time in practice. When he does hit one, the coaches don't even blink."
On Luke Walton drawing up a play because Kerr didn't want to take over the clipboard even though he ended his TV interview early between quarters and the result of the play: "We do think everything is collaborative with our staff ... Turnover, next time I'm keeping the board."
On what happened when Kerr got up to call a timeout but Steph ignored it and shot the one-handed floater from the FT line, "With most teams, you call a quick timeout, but with us, sometimes our best offense is Steph pushing the ball into a high screen and penetrating and kicking when we forget the timeout. There were 3 times in the second half I was close to calling it and I was let it go and we scored all 3. We're better off doing that than me drawing up a play."
Kerr went on a lengthy response to Curry as a rebounder but he spoke about his superb anticipation on missed shots and the strength of Draymond Green and Andrew Bogut boxing out which allows Steph to sneak in for the board.
On how he felt physically, "I pulled my hamstring coming into the halftime locker room."
When asked what Draymond and he were laughing about during a stoppage, Kerr said that Dray had told teammates that he would jack up a long 3 to try and piss off the coach. When Dray told Kerr why he didn't yell at him, Kerr responded, "Give me time, I'll get warmed up here. We always have a lot of fun. How can we not?"