Warriors coach Steve Kerr has eight NBA championship rings — five as a player and three in his current role.
There might be a few people who know how to win in the playoffs as well as Kerr, but no one knows more than him.
Keep that in mind when I tell you that the Warriors will beat the Denver Nuggets in the team’s first-round playoff series.
But on Sunday, Golden State missed its chance to take care of business and end the series in the minimum four games. Denver beat the Warriors 126-121, forcing a Game 5 Wednesday in San Francisco.
Kerr saw the loss coming. He warned his team in the first quarter.
They didn’t heed the lesson until it was too late.
With the Warriors trailing the Nuggets early, Kerr called a timeout and called out his team. ESPN cameras picked it all up:
“It feels to me like we smell blood and we’re trying too hard,” Kerr said. “We’re going for the kill. It doesn’t work that way. You get the kill by executing to death — just executing over and over again.”
The Warriors had their moments in Game 4, Sunday, but they were simply too infrequent and ultimately insufficient. The execution was, indeed, not up to par over the course of 48 minutes.
The Warriors were too eager and too disjointed to close out the Nuggets.
“It took us a long time to get going,” Kerr said after the game. “We didn’t play our game tonight.”
Perhaps that’s an important lesson learned for this team. I think that’s ascribing too much meaning to the moment. Sunday was nothing more than a missed opportunity for the Dubs.
The true meaning of Sunday’s game will be defined on Wednesday.