Nick FriedellESPN Staff WriterClose
- Nick Friedell is the Chicago Bulls beat reporter for ESPN Chicago. Friedell is a graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and joined ESPNChicago.com for its launch in April 2009.
SALT LAKE CITY — Golden State Warriors superstar guard Stephen Curry believes his team is close to discovering its collective rhythm but admits the group needs to find its “edge” again in order to start rattling off wins at the same clip as in seasons past.
“A lot of it’s just getting our edge and a chip on our shoulder,” Curry said after Wednesday night’s 108-103 loss to the Utah Jazz. “Having that vibe when you walk on the floor like we know what we’re about to do. Right now, we’re still thinking a little bit and trying to figure it out, but we’re close.
“We’re close, and obviously you want to stay healthy, and that’s the biggest part of trying to continue to build momentum, night in, night out, what we can expect when we’re out there on the floor.”
The Warriors aren’t concerned about the ability to bounce back in short order, especially with Curry, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson all healthy and together again on the floor. But with Wednesday’s loss, they are now 21-11 on the season, currently sitting third in the Western Conference standings. Last season, the Warriors didn’t lose their 11th game until a Jan. 30 defeat against the Jazz.
“We’re really close,” Curry said. “We fought hard, we competed, our energy was great. It’s just the margin of error is a little bit smaller this year, but we understand that. [We] continue to get everybody’s best shot against us, and it’s been a grind. Nothing comfortable about this position we’re in, in terms of like — we want to get back to being dominant. That’s what we’re working toward.
“We’re going to continue to get that chemistry, playing Warrior basketball that we know how to play. We’ve talked about it every year. Every year’s different. Every year’s going to have different challenges and present a different journey. But at the end of the day, we know what type of team we are. I think we’re all bought in to what it’s going to take to redefine that dominance.”
Steph Curry explains how close the Warriors are to where they want to be and how there isn’t much room for error.
According to ESPN Stats & Information research, this is the first loss the Warriors have had in which Durant and Curry both scored at least 30 points. Curry scored 32 points and Durant put up 30 against the Jazz. The Warriors are now 9-1 all time in those games, which includes the playoffs.
The Warriors came into the contest averaging 27.9 assists per outing, but they managed just 18 assists Wednesday night. Durant believes that is because teams are defending them differently this season.
“They’re selling out to stop us three,” Durant said, referring to himself, Curry and Thompson. “So, when we pass the ball to somebody, the ball’s not going to be flying around when you’re playing a great defensive team like that. People are starting to catch up to — starting to scheme for us a little bit more.
“So, I know that we want to have that ball moving. We want to get 30 assists and 300 passes, but some games, like tonight, it’s not going to be that way. But we still had a chance to win. That’s why I said we could play either way.”
Like his teammates, Green said he remains confident that better days are ahead for the Warriors. He said he believes the reason the team has struggled earlier in the season than it has in the past is because of injuries. In particular, Curry has missed 12 games and Green has sat out 15.
“I think it’s tough to get traction when you’ve got guys who have missed games like we’ve had,” Green said. “But I like the way we competed tonight. Shots didn’t fall like they normally do. We missed some layups. But they shot 39 percent from the field, had 16 turnovers, so I like the way we played.
“If we can continue to put out that effort, that defensive effort, our offense obviously will be better. Before you know it, we’ll run off some wins. So we’re all good.”