Warriors’ chase for 73 wins taking toll on players

With Friday night’s defeat to the Boston Celtics fresh on his mind, Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said Saturday that his team’s quest to break the Bulls’ 20-year-old record has begun to put a damper on its play.

“I think they want the (73 wins) record,” Kerr told ESPN’s Ethan Sherwood Strauss. “But I think what they probably realize is, maybe all the talk and all the focus on the record has gotten us away from the process of who we are.

“I do think the constant questions and talk about, whether it’s home win streak or record or whatever, I think all that stuff does take its toll, whether the players know it or not, whether it’s a conscious thing or not, and it probably has taken a little bit away from, as I said our process, or our work.”

Although Friday night’s defeat was just their first loss in seven games, the Warriors’ play of late has been somewhat feeble compared to their early-season dominance, particularly on the defensive end. Golden State ranks 10th in the league in defensive efficiency since the All-Star break, as they’ve been giving up almost five points per 100 possessions more than they did during the first half of the season.

Kerr is no stranger to media pressure and attention, noting his 1995-96 Chicago Bulls were in a similar conundrum during their record-breaking campaign.

“It’s exactly the same,” said Kerr, who played on the 72-win Bulls team. “Honestly, it was exactly the same. Constant media questioning about the streak.”

While Kerr has already stated his players have earned the right to decide whether they should rest, he remains adamant the ultimate goal is capturing another title in June.

“I think it’d be cool (to break the record), but we all know what our focus is. We want to win a championship,” Kerr added. “The championship goes up on the wall and records are broken. People break records. Championships last forever.”

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