Good Morning Dub Nation,
The Miami Heat tied the NBA Finals at one game apiece after beating the Denver Nuggets on Sunday, 111-108. Following the results of Game 2, Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr joined Draymond Green on his podcast, The Draymond Green Show, as the two discussed their thoughts on the series, including this interesting observation about the Heat’s “championship mentality” at the 23:23 mark.
“I think you have to establish that all season long with your team,” Kerr answered when asked how coaches handle tough rotation decisions in the playoffs. “The message has to be whoever has it going is going to play. And the guys have to be connected enough to not only understand that but to embrace it. Caleb Martin was the star of the Boston series. He’s hardly been a factor in this series offensively, didn’t play much. But he hit a huge 3 in the fourth quarter tonight.
“None of those guys on Miami are sitting there saying, ‘Well I didn’t play’ or ‘Man, they put in so and so.’ They’re just all about winning. And you know this from our groups that we’ve had. When you have that championship mentality, every guy is bought in. Every guy is just trying to win. Nobody cares about any of that stuff. You don’t go into the locker room saying, ‘Oh well I should’ve played more,’ you just want to win. And that’s the beauty of finding that magic when you have a championship team is that everybody’s bought in and it makes the decisions for the coach really simple. You just go with your gut and go with whoever is playing well.”
Kerr bringing up the Heat’s willingness to sacrifice for the sake of winning is interesting given the context of Golden State’s season. Throughout the year, there were numerous reports of disconnect within the locker room as players on the team grew unhappy with their minimal playing time, among other things.
The lack of unity resulted in poor performances on the court, to the point, that even Stephen Curry had to make a rare plea to the team prior to their Game 7 matchup against the Sacramento Kings — asking them to put their feelings aside for the ultimate goal of winning.
According to multiple sources in the private session, Curry told the team he believed in them, that they had enough to win. He asked for their trust in return. He assured them he could deliver victory if they all bought in. He implored them to put all of their feelings aside — which sources with knowledge of the locker room felt was messaging directed at Poole, Jonathan Kuminga and other guys who might’ve been unhappy for reasons such as playing time and role — and lock in to the unified mission. Anyone who wanted to remain in their emotions, he told them to stay home. Anyone who was ready for their vacation, he told them not to get on the bus for Sacramento. But anyone who did get on the bus, Curry took that as a signature of approval, a binding agreement to be on board with the mission. And if they did that, if they got on the bus, he promised he’d deliver. With his game, his faith, their solidarity, they’d win.
The cohesiveness and chemistry of both teams remaining in the Finals was something eerily missing from the Warriors this past season. Having said that, it should be interesting to see what they will do this offseason in order to reclaim that key ingredient of their championship formula.
Here are the rest of today’s stories:
In case you missed it from Golden State of Mind:
- Andre Iguodala invests in Bay FC
- Clippers don’t hire Bob Myers as their new GM
- Monday mock draft roundup, who will the Warriors select with the 19th pick?
- Draymond Green believes the Nuggets are ‘ready to win a championship’
- The contract status of every Warriors player
Other Warriors News:
- Warriors’ Steve Kerr describes ‘hollow feeling’ as Bob Myers departs (NBC Sports Bay Area)
- Warriors missing NBA Finals ‘burning’ Steve Kerr up despite team not belonging (NBC Sports Bay Area)
- Draymond Green Makes Incredible Observation About Nikola Jokic (Sports Illustrated)
- Kurtenbach: The question isn’t what the Warriors want to do this offseason — it’s what they can do (Mercury News)
- Steve Kerr flexed his rings on the Warriors (Bleacher Report)
- Sources: Kyrie Irving Wants Dallas Mavericks to Trade For LeBron James (Bleacher Report)
- LeBron-Kyrie reunion with Mavs is ‘unrealistic’ and unlikely … but not impossible (The Athletic)
- LA Clippers promoting Trent Redden, Mark Hughes (ESPN)
- Sources: Brandon Ingram, Jaren Jackson Jr. commit to Team USA for World Cup (ESPN)
- 10 most intriguing free agents of 2023 offseason (NBA)