Kevin Durant called on the Warriors to reproduce the passion and energy they displayed in Friday’s win over the Portland Trail Blazers, which ended a four-game losing streak.
The defending champions had lost five of their last six, a streak started by a defeat to the Los Angeles Clippers in which Durant and teammate Draymond Green were involved in a well-publicized spat that continued into the locker room.
Minus injured star guard Stephen Curry, the Warriors have endured a run Steve Kerr described as his “toughest stretch” as a coach, beating the Hawks after the loss to the Clippers but then falling to the Rockets, Mavericks, Spurs and Thunder.
However, they were back to something like their best against the Blazers, Durant scoring 32 points while Klay Thompson added 31 in a 125-97 win.
Asked if he flipped his mindset for the game, Durant said: “I don’t believe in, ‘It’s just going to be over when it’s over.’ In the NBA, I don’t believe in the fairy tales or the emotions that come into this. It’s not going to just be over unless we go out there and impose our will on the basketball court like we did tonight.
“And it’s not going to just happen for us tomorrow. We got to play with that same passion and energy that we played with tonight.
— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) 24 November 2018
“So I never really believe that ‘it’s just going to happen; we’re going to win a game eventually.’ We got to go out there and play, and I think we’ve been trying obviously the last five games, but we haven’t come out on top.
“I think tonight we put together a full game, and that’s what we’re going to need going forward. It’s not going to just happen for us. We got to make it happen.”
Kerr said: “We just looked like ourselves. The activity level on both ends. You tend to block more shots when you’re actually helping and rotating and flying around to the ball. And you make more steals, we had 11 of those, so it was just a really good night.
“And Portland’s been on a tough schedule, too, coming back from Milwaukee on a long trip. Those are never easy games to play, so I thought we had the edge energy-wise, and we were obviously a little hungry after four straight losses.”