Warriors identify flaws after big win over Nets: ‘We’re nowhere near where we need to be’

BROOKLYN — Riding high off their big road win Tuesday night over the Nets, the Warriors piled into the visiting locker room with celebration on their mind.

Coach Steve Kerr didn’t allow that to last for long.

“We came to the locker room after, excited about the win, a good bounceback,” Stephen Curry said afterward. “Coach was talking about the steps we need to continue to take to truly be a championship caliber team.”

A 117-99 win over Brooklyn, considered to be one of the top teams in the East with the starpower to match Curry and Golden State, may have cemented the surprising Warriors’ place among title contenders this season. But to Kerr — and, clearly, his players, too — it also exposed their faults.

“There were some things tonight — dumb fouls, couple of turnovers, losing focus a little bit offensively at times,” Curry said. “That’s the standard we have to hold ourselves to, no matter how excited everybody gets about Warriors basketball being back. We all know — me, Draymond, Andre, Klay, Loon — we all know what the playoffs are like and how the margin for error just shrinks dramatically. … You have to lock in on those come April, May, June.”

The Warriors turned the ball over 22 times, 10 more than what their stifling defense forced out of the Nets.

The defense, at times, was a little too aggressive.

No player in Golden State’s starting five finished the game with fewer than three personal fouls, and Jonathan Kuminga picked up four off the bench. The Warriors allowed the Nets to get to the foul line 27 times, including 15 in the first half.

“The defense is suffocating, but it has to be done without fouling,” Kerr said. “As pleased as I am with the results of tonight and the effort of tonight, we’ve got a ways to go. The fouling, the turnovers, the lack of offensive execution, it’s glaring.”

Andrew Wiggins was whistled for his fourth foul after only a little over 3 minutes had expired in the third quarter, and Curry just 90 seconds after that while diving to the ground for a loose ball alongside Blake Griffin. Kuminga, whom Kerr had just praised for never fouling or turning the ball over, picked up four fouls, including a third in the first half that irked his coach.

Fouls and turnovers may be a necessary byproduct of the Warriors’ fast-and-loose style of play.

But nonetheless, both have been areas of focus early on this season.

Golden State set a goal of 12 or fewer turnovers per game, but it has only accomplished it twice this year.

The Warriors are averaging 19.4 whistles per game, among the bottom third of the league, but that has been an improvement over last season, when they averaged 21.2, third-worst in the league.

Still, at 12-2, they’re proving themselves to be back among the league’s elite night after night. Anything that results in Kevin Durant coming up empty from the field for an entire half probably has something going for it.

“The great thing is we’re winning because we’re playing with great passion and energy and great defense,” Kerr said.

Draymond Green, who deserves much of the credit for stifling Durant in the second half, called it a good win but also said the Warriors had yet to reach their potential.

“There were a lot of things we could’ve done better, like the fouling, 22 turnovers,” Green said. “Nah, I don’t think we’ve arrived. I think we’re a good team. But we can continue to get better and if we want to compete in the end like we all hope, we have to continue to improve because we’re nowhere near where we need to be.”

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