Warriors want to create their own energy on big road trip


SAN FRANCISCO -- Steve Kerr is wondering the same thing as everybody else. His coaches are wondering it, as are the Warriors players and front office. The cries of anger are deafening from Dub Nation. 

How can the Warriors be this great at home and this bad on the road? The latest example was their perfect 5-0 homestand followed by an 0-3 road trip and coming back home to win two straight against two of the NBA's better teams in the Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Suns. 

"It's never been an issue for us in the past and it's been really confounding to be honest with you, to be this dominant at home and to struggle the way we have on the road," Kerr said Tuesday after Warriors practice. "It's been a real challenge."

The nine-time champion, five as a player and four as a coach, continued to say "I don't even know how to describe it." The only answer Kerr has is what he keeps telling himself: That every team, every year is different.

Even with so many holdovers from a championship team, Kerr admits this season's squad doesn't have the same vibe on the road and it's something they're still adapting to -- with only 13 games left in the regular season. 

Golden State is on an eight-game win streak at Chase Center, and an eight-game losing streak away from the building. The Warriors are 29-7 at home and 7-26 on the road. They have a 109.9 defensive rating at home, and a 120.8 defensive rating on the road. They're allowing 111.7 points per game in San Francisco, and 123.8 points in opposing buildings.

Those numbers paint a pretty clear reference. Having two of the greatest shooters of all time doesn't hurt. Getting fitted for a ring, though, isn't going to happen again without getting back to the basics on defense when playing on the road. 

"We're just trying to focus on the things we can control, at the defensive end especially," Kerr said. "It's really hard to trade baskets on the road and win games. So we've got to get stops. We've got to do it without fouling. We've got to rebound -- all the basics. Gotta give ourselves a better chance."

Players are on the same page, more or less. If only it was that simple. All of this is easier said than done. 

Offense leads to defense and vice versa. Playing off the home crowd amps that up even more. Overcoming the Bucks for a wild overtime win had fans roaring down the stretch. Klay Thompson catching fire for 33 points and eight 3-pointers Monday night in the first half had the arena vibrating from the court all the way up to the Modelo Cantina. 

Whether he's staring down the crowd, pumping his fist or raising the roof to get fans out of their seats, Steph Curry has been creating a whirlwind of energy in the Warriors' friendly confines. Curry is the rare player who can do that on the road, but the rest of his teammates aren't all as lucky. 

"In a weird way, I think it's more of us relying on the shot on offense," Donte DiVincenzo said Tuesday when asked about the Warriors' defensive problems on the road. "I think we have to come into the road games knowing that it's gonna be -- I think a big thing that was said yesterday was, when we're hitting shots, we can hit shots at home that have the crowd behind us and everybody's more amped up on defense. But on the road you can hit three, four shots and nobody, nobody cares. I think we have to lock in on that end and not worry about making or missing shots.

"The energy on defense, picking up ball pressure. In a weird way, it starts with me picking up full court. Like last night, picking up [Chris Paul], just kind of getting him out of his rhythm. Just a little bit where they get into their offense at 12 vs. running their play at 20. So just being locked in on the defensive end and communicating. I think that's the biggest thing.

"When we're talking on the defensive end and we have energy, you can see how special it can be."

DiVincenzo and JaMychal Green both talked after practice. It was clearly a big talk that had been given in the locker room behind closed doors. The theme was just as clear. 

Every fan base wants a piece of the Warriors. Every team wants to see the defending champions fall. No more waiting. The Warriors are 0-17 when trailing after the first quarter on the road. 

No matter what it takes, the Warriors have to find their fire within before the opening tip and create their own energy on the road.

"We've been talking, we just have to lock in as a team," Green said. "When you're at home, you can feed off the crowd energy. We got to make our own energy on the road and we got to be able to hit first. Can't let teams hit us first and get ourselves in the hole.

"So I think if we go out there, bring the energy and lock in on defense -- we'll be good to go."

RELATED: Warriors feed off JaMychal's toughness and key 3-pointers

Starting Wednesday at Crypto.com Arena against the Los Angeles Clippers, the Warriors begin a five-game road trip -- their longest left in the regular season. They have eight road games left and five over the next week. Going into the gauntlet of road games, the Warriors are the No. 5 seed in the Western Conference. 

Their 36-33 record is the same as the Clippers, and a win Wednesday night will give them the four-game season series. While they're one game behind the Suns for home-court advantage as a top-four seed, they're also three games back of falling all the way out of the play-in tournament. 

They've heard all the questions, and there's one way for them to go away. 

"Sick of being asked about the road? I mean, we're sick of losing on the road," Green said.

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