Steve Kerr

Kerr still ‘excited' about Warriors' playoff push after loss to Mavs

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In the aftermath of a frustrating 109-99 loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday that prevented the Warriors from keeping pace in the crowded Western Conference, coach Steve Kerr tried to remain optimistic.

For good reason, too.

The Dubs played without two of their top stars in the loss to the Mavericks but hope to get both back in time for Saturday’s game in Los Angeles against the Lakers.

Stephen Curry, who has missed the last three games with a right ankle injury, has been cleared to resume practicing and Kerr has said he expects the two-time NBA MVP to play in that game.

Draymond Green also sat out the loss to the Mavericks because of lower back soreness and is hopeful of being ready to go on Saturday.

It’ll certainly take some doing over the final 17 games, but Kerr believes that the Warriors can achieve it.

“The season, it really is a marathon,” Kerr told reporters in Dallas. “I still have no doubt that this team can get on a great run and make a good push.”

Golden State is winless in the three games that they’ve been without Curry and Green, but they’ve also posted some notable wins when at full strength -- which is one of the reasons Kerr is maintaining his positive outlook.

They waxed the Milwaukee Bucks, the No. 2 team in the East, by 35 points on March 6. They trumped the Lakers 128-110 on Feb. 22, not to mention a two-game sweep of the Philadelphia 76ers. Golden State also split its four-game season series with the Sacramento Kings, one of the teams the Warriors are chasing for playoff positioning.

When at full strength, this is a team capable of making a lot of noise down the stretch.

“I still like who our team is,” Kerr said. “We’re hoping to get Steph back for Saturday. I like the team a lot better now than I did a couple months ago where we were really sorting through a lot of things. I think we have an identity. I think we know who we are. I think we’ll bounce back here, and I’m excited about the last part of the season.”

The Warriors are 1-5 this season without Curry. His absence clearly was felt against the Mavericks, when every Dubs player had trouble scoring.

Obviously things change dramatically when No. 30 is on the court for Golden State, but multiple Warriors players refused to accept his not being there as a reason for losing.

“I think there’s some goods and some bads,” rookie Brandin Podziemski said when asked what the team has learned while Curry has been out. “The win at San Antonio [Saturday] kind of showed us that when we compete and play hard for a full game and make teams beat us in the half court, I think we can be really good regardless of [what] five is out on the floor.

"Tonight we did that for pretty much the first half. Then we kind of just let up in transition, and that’s where they got most of their buckets.”

Trayce Jackson-Davis, who got the start at center while Green rested, said it’s important that the Warriors learn how to win no matter who is on the court.

“Obviously Steph’s the biggest part of our team, but at the same time we can’t let him carry that whole load,” Jackson-Davis said. “We have to step up as well.”

The Warriors were unable to do that against the Mavericks. Hopefully, however, it’ll be the last time this season that they have to navigate the Curry-less waters.

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