The Golden State Warriors aren’t quite on the historical win pace that some expected this year. And due to a few lackluster games, it’s fair to wonder if they’ve taken their foot off the accelerator, and are just waiting for the playoffs to roll around.
But head coach Steve Kerr says no way. While the Dubs could drop the 5-seed and still be considered title favorites, Kerr says Golden State is highly focused on earning the top seed. As transcribed by The Mercury News, Kerr called gaining home court advantage “probably the number-one goal.”
Kerr said this isn’t a new priority, saying that, “We always emphasize home court. We know how tough it is to win at Oracle for an opposing team. We know the importance of having a Game 7 at home. We talk about it every year.”
So far, stressing that priority has worked for Kerr. The Warriors have earned not only the top seed in the West, but home court advantage through the NBA Finals in all three season’s that Kerr has been coach. So far, they’ve relied on being home for Game 7 twice: in a Western Conference Finals victory against the Oklahoma City Thunder, and in an NBA Finals loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers, both in 2016.
Things are a little closer this year, but the team is still on track. The Warriors lead the Houston Rockets by 3.5 games, though Saturday’s loss means that Houston holds the tiebreaker should the two teams finish with identical records.
Golden State is three games ahead of the Boston Celtics for the top record in the league, though Boston’s recent struggles make it seem unlikely that the Celtics have any chance of eclipsing the Warriors.
Above all else, the Warriors will prioritize health until the playoffs start. But don’t expect them to take it too easy along the way.