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Steve Kerr reveals the crucial moment that led to the Dubs’ defeat against the Bulls

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Stephen Curry exited for crunch-time with an ankle injury, but Steve Kerr thought the Warriors lost the game to the Bulls before then.

SAN FRANCISCO — Stephen Curry and company had a golden opportunity to follow up Wednesday’s beatdown of the Milwaukee Bucks with three straight wins, gaining crucial ground in a jam-packed race for sixth in the Western Conference. The Golden State Warriors led the Chicago Bulls by two with a few minutes left in the fourth quarter on Thursday, seemingly en route to a hard-fought victory over an inferior opponent. Curry never got the chance to help his team close-out the Bulls, though, heading to the locker room after twisting his right ankle with 3:51 left.

So much for those three straight wins. As the game’s most critical moments unfolded while Curry was being evaluated by team trainers, DeMar DeRozan’s five straight points with under a minute remaining sent the Bulls to a dramatic 125-122 win at Chase Center.

With Draymond Green having fouled out and Andrew Wiggins watching from the bench, DeRozan went to work on Golden State’s youngsters. He hit a spinning, turnaround 12-footer over the outstretched arms of Moses Moody with 44 seconds left, then got Jonathan Kuminga in the air with an up-fake before draining another jumper on the Bulls’ next possession, sinking the ensuing free throw to put his team up two. Golden State played the foul game from there following a wide-open missed layup fro Brandin Podziemski, its hopes of a victory dashed for good when Lester Quinones’ desperation heave as time expired landed way off the mark.

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“DeMar is one of the great closers in the game. He has been for 10 years,” Steve Kerr said. “It’s great experience for all of our young guys. JK and BP were in the pick-and-roll exchange, so it’s good for them to feel this. Moses, too, to feel these big situations.”

Shooting disparity doomed Warriors before Stephen Curry’s injury

Warriors' Stephen Curry
3/7/24

No one would doubt a different result was likely had Curry been able to finish the game, but he never had it going on Wednesday even before twisting his ankle. Curry finished with 15 points and just one assist on 5-of-18 overall and 3-of-12 from deep, absolutely hounded by Alex Caruso and Ayo Dosunmu from the opening tip.

Those shooting struggles extended across the roster, too, as Golden State went just 11-of-42 from deep, good for 26.1%. Compounding problems? Chicago drained 16 triples on 44 attempts, consistently creating good looks after DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic—who both had 33 points—drew extra defenders, consistently goading the Dubs into multiple rotations defensively.

“Key to the game for me was kind of late third, they went on that run, made a ton of threes. For the game they made 16 threes to our 11,” Kerr said. “These days in the NBA it’s tough to win when you make five fewer threes than your opponent.”

Curry’s status for the first game of a home-and-home with the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday is uncertain. It certainly wouldn’t be surprising if he joined Victor Wembanyama, who’s dealing with his own sprained ankle, on the sidelines at Chase Center.

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Either way, Kerr—squandered opportunity to move up the standings be damned—isn’t sweating what can only be described as an abjectly disappointing home loss to a sub-.500 team that was missing multiple starters.

“Like I said, I’ve got no problem with our effort, execution. We just got out-played. Chicago was great. They’ve been playing well,” he said. “Watching them on tape coming into this game, I was pretty worried just because you could see the force that they were playing with, and the confidence. They came in and earned it.”

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About the Author

Jack Winter is a veteran NBA writer and editor based on the West Coast. He currently lives in Oakland, covering the last legs of the Golden State Warriors’ dynasty.

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