A candid Steve Kerr said “hearts weren’t in it” after the Golden State Warriors suffered their worst defeat of the season, a 129-99 loss to the Utah Jazz on Tuesday night at Vivint Smart Home Arena.
“I saw one team get their ass kicked,” said the Golden State head coach. “That’s what I saw.”
The Warriors were outscored in every quarter and managed only 14 points in the final frame.
Defensively, they struggled to stay mentally engaged. Utah (22-28) shot 58 percent from the field. Jazz forward Joe Ingles went for 20 points and was 6-for-8 from downtown. Kevin Durant repeatedly lost Ingles, and it cost his team. Utah’s Ricky Rubio finished with 23 points and 11 assists, while rookie guard Donovan Mitchell added 20 points.
“I think our guys will tell you that was a pathetic effort out there,” Kerr said. “That was disgusting cheap basketball jerseys.
“We just didn’t start out the game with any force defensively. We weren’t staying into bodies, they were just stopping behind screens, we were lazy on our switches. We played with no sense of urgency, no sense of purpose, and they’re obviously fighting for the playoffs.”
The Jazz are 3½ games back for the eighth and final seed in the Western Conference standings.
Durant, who registered 17 points on 5-of-13 shooting, owned up to his mental blunders.
“I can’t let Joe Ingles get loose on 3s like that and expect us to play well on the road, especially in here,” he said. “I got to start off the game better if we want to win games.”
Klay Thompson and reserve center JaVale McGee were the Warriors’ only bright spots. Thompson had a game-high 27 points on 12-of-17 shooting, and McGee contributed 14 points on 7-of-8 from the floor.
Excluding their contributions, the Warriors shot 33 percent for the evening on 20-of-60 from the field.
The Warriors were 5-for-25 from beyond the arc, equating to 20 percent shooting. It was their second-worst mark of the season. They shot 11 percent from 3 (3-of-27) in a loss to the Denver Nuggets on Dec. 23.
“I asked Draymond [Green] on the bench in the fourth quarter if he could remember that bad of a performance that we’ve had in recent memory, and we really can’t,” said Stephen Curry, who had 14 points on 4-of-13 shooting. “You can’t just show up, especially on the road, and expect to win. That’s kind of cheating the cheap jerseys game.”
Golden State (40-11) also carelessly coughed the ball up 20 times, resulting in 18 points for the home team.
“We work hard to turn the ball over in creative ways,” Kerr said. “And I thought we were really good at turning the ball over tonight.”
The Warriors were down by 18 points entering the fourth quarter.
“I’m just foolish enough to believe that we always have a chance,” Green said. “So even going into that fourth quarter, I’m like, ‘OK, here we go. All right, here comes a run. They’re playing great, but they can’t really get over 16, 18. We can cover that really quick. Here we go.’ It just ain’t never happen for us. So, it’s cool.”
Kerr said he expects his team to bounce back. Golden State has two more games remaining on this three-game road trip, with the Sacramento Kings on Thursday, followed by the Nuggets on Saturday.
With all the miscues and lackadaisical plays, there was agreement within the team that one end of the court proved to be the problem Tuesday night.
“We didn’t have any aggressiveness on the defensive end to start the game,” Curry said. “They obviously made shots and made plays, but we didn’t do anything to kind of slow them down, slow their confidence down in the first quarter. … The issue tonight was defense.”
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