NEW YORK — As the Golden State Warriors‘ road struggles boiled over in a 143-113 loss to the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday night, head coach Steve Kerr said his team has hit rock bottom.
The Warriors are depleted, playing without five rotational players, including three starters, and there is no sign of when reinforcements will be coming. They went 1-5 this trip, dropping them to 3-16 on the road overall. And even though they are about to start an eight-game homestand, their schedule isn’t easing up.
“You are what your record says you are,” Kerr said. “It was a bad road trip. We are 15-18, so we’re a below-.500 team, and we’ve got to find a way to reverse that.”
Meanwhile, the Nets extended their win streak to seven games and have won 11 of their past 12 contests.
The Nets controlled the game from tipoff, building a 29-point lead in the first quarter, the Warriors’ second-worst deficit through the first in franchise history. Golden State scored just 17 points, also its second-fewest in an opening quarter this season.
Brooklyn’s 91 first-half points were a franchise record for points in the first half. The Nets are also just the third team in NBA history to hit that scoring mark through the first two quarters.
The 40-point lead they held over the Warriors at halftime was also a franchise record. That point differential is also the largest halftime deficit by a defending champion in NBA history.
“That first half, it was kind of a shock,” Draymond Green told ESPN.
Nets star forward Kevin Durant said the key for his red-hot group is that they’ve just been “making shots.”
“It’s a make-or-miss league,” Durant said. “We’ve been generating solid shots all year. I think they just started to fall now. It’s going to come with time. … It’s about shooting the ball with confidence, being aggressive downhill to make plays for others, tonight was one of those nights.”
Durant finished with 23 points, seven rebounds, five assists and four steals. Nine Nets players finished in double-digit scoring, tying a franchise record.
The Warriors committed 13 turnovers in the first half before finishing the game with 21 for 36 Brooklyn points. One night prior, they committed 19 total against the New York Knicks. Mishandling the ball and playing with frantic energy — resulting in both disorganized offense and weak defense — has been a common theme for the Warriors in their losses, especially on the road.
A smaller example of this has been the play of Jordan Poole, who finished with 13 points on 4-of-17 shooting, including 1-of-11 from 3-point range, two assists and seven turnovers against the Nets as he tried to make up for the absences of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.
The Warriors can live with some of the mistakes Poole and others make, but not to the degree that they occurred in New York.
“The simpler [he] plays, the easier shots [he] gets. It sounds like a bit of a paradox, but it’s been an issue here for us the past few games,” Kerr said. “The last couple of nights [he was] just trying way too hard.”
The lone bright spot for Golden State came from third-year center James Wiseman, who, after spending the past several weeks in the G League, had a career night with 30 points on 12-of-14 shooting and six rebounds in 27 minutes.
With no timetable for Curry’s return, and with Donte DiVincenzo and JaMychal Green also out indefinitely with illnesses, the Warriors will be looking for their younger players to show signs of growth.
That, according to Green, is the perspective the Warriors must maintain to remain level-headed over this stretch.
“You have to have that understanding because you don’t want to overreact,” Green told ESPN. “In saying that, the most important thing is always playing right, as long as you’re not making effort-related mistakes you live with the results … we just have to understand where we are.”