Warriors -- spotlight on statistics

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Warriors -- spotlight on statistics

Mike Kreuser
CSNBayArea.com

Tuesday's loss to Oklahoma City was the Warriors' 22nd game this season, wrapping up a third of this shortened 66-game schedule. At 8-14, the start has been less-than promising for coach Mark Jackson's first season, but how does it compare to Keith Smart a year ago?

In a normal schedule, a third is slightly more than 27 games. In 2010-11, the Warriors were 9-18 in their first 27. That's a .333 win percentage, so slightly less than Mark Jackson's .364.

Record aside, many of the team stats are remarkably similar. This year's team is shooting slightly better from the field (46.1 vs 45.3), but slightly worse from three-point range (38.2 vs. 38.8). The Warriors have averaged one more assist and one fewer turnover this season, but are also averaging just under two fewer total rebounds. One of the largest discrepancies has been offensive rebounding; this year's squad is averaging 3.2 fewer offensive boards (10.3 this season, 13.5 last).

Yet despite the many similarities, this is a different team defensively. Even with Oklahoma City's 119-point outburst on Tuesday, the Warriors are still allowing just under 6 fewer points per game (100.9 this season, 106.8 last season). The Thunder's 119 points upped that number by over a full point.

The Warriors are also scoring slightly less (98.5 this season, 100.9 last), but that number jumped 2.3 points after their last three games, when they've averaged 113.7 points per game. Part of that has to do with a slowing down of the game -- the Warriors are averaging just over two fewer possessions per game this season.

So despite the difference in total, they are actually really similar in terms of offensive efficiency (103.0 points100 possession this season, 103.2 points100 possession last). Defensively though, their efficiency has improved by 5 points per hundred possessions.

So how has Golden State been more efficient? The Warriors haven't forced more turnovers (TOs down .7 this season) and they haven't done better on the glass (opponents averaging .2 more rebounds).

The improvement has come from better rotations and some luck. The luck is free throw shooting. Last season, opponents shot 79.0 from the line and this season that number has dropped to 73.8. Since opponents average 28.5 free-throw attempts a game, that's a difference of a point a game without the Warriors having to do a thing.

But opponents are shooting worse from the field (45.2 this season, 47.3 last) and from the three-point line (37.0 vs 38.0). Opponents are also averaging 2.7 fewer assists per game. That adds up to better rotations on ball defense (which limits open shots created by a pass) and tougher looks at the basket. Those improvements demonstrate two things: Jackson's defensive emphasis and better effort from the players.

Unfortunately for Jackson, the improvement on defense has not made a huge difference in the win column. Right now the Warriors are on pace for a 24-42 season if they maintain their .364 win percentage. If Jackson's goal is to do better than a year ago, that's not going to cut it.

Last year's team took off after the first third of the schedule. After their 9-18 start, Keith Smart's Warriors went 27-28 in their final 55 games to finish with a .439 win percentage. The improvement was in large part thanks to David Lee and Stephen Curry getting healthy and an improved offense (106.6 points100 possession in the final 55 games). This year's team will benefit from a healthy Curry the rest of the way. With an improved defense, maybe it's time for Jackson to turn his attention to kick-starting that offense.

Mike Kreuser is a production assistant with Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.

Sources: In agony, Kerr had difficult time keeping up with Warriors' Game 3 win

Sources: In agony, Kerr had difficult time keeping up with Warriors' Game 3 win

PORTLAND -- Steve Kerr was in such agony Saturday that he found little comfort even while watching from the team hotel as his Warriors pulled out a playoff victory over Trail Blazers, multiple sources told NBCSportsBayArea.com.

The pain is so intense that Kerr even had difficulty keeping up with the game. Moreover, it may be a while before he’s able to return to full-time coaching duties.

Assistant Mike Brown served as acting head coach in a 119-113 win over Portland in Game 3 of their first-round playoff series.

“He’s obviously going through a lot physically,” Stephen Curry said of Kerr after the game, “and that’s first and foremost for him to take care of himself, make sure he’s on the road to recovery and feeling like himself.”

Kerr was in obvious discomfort Friday, when he met with the media for his post-practice news conference. Though he made the flight to Oregon with the team Friday afternoon, he was not able to attend shootaround Saturday morning. It was the second time this season that Kerr missed a shootaround, the first coming March 2 in Chicago.

By Saturday afternoon, the Warriors were announcing he would not coach Game 3.

It was not a great surprise to those who work closely with Kerr.

“He’s suffering,” said one person close to Kerr.

“He hadn’t been feeling well for a couple days, so I knew it would be a possibility,” Brown said before the game.

Kerr continues to cope with debilitating side effects from multiple back surgeries in the summer of 2015. He took a leave of absence last season, missing nearly all of training camp and the first 43 games of the regular season before returning.

Both the symptoms have persisted. Kerr still cannot do many of the things he loves, he acknowledged to NBCSportsBayArea.com, such as play golf. Though his back is somewhat improved, he still experiences severe headaches and neck pain.

The worst part about the discomfort is its consistency. It’s nagging at him every day and night, sometimes more severe than others.

It has gotten worse in recent days, though. It is conceivable, even likely, according to those close to Kerr, that he will miss Game 4 Monday night.

Steph Curry keeps game ball for Steve Kerr after he misses Game 3

Steph Curry keeps game ball for Steve Kerr after he misses Game 3

While head coach Steve Kerr was unable to make Saturday's Game 3 due to an illness, the Warriors went out and took a 3-0 series lead over the Blazers. 

After the game, Steph Curry dedicated the win to Kerr by keeping the game ball for him. 

"Our coach is going through a lot right now physically and he told us this morning this is a situation where we need to rally and go out and win a game for him, but we felt like that," Curry said after the Warriors' 119-113 win. "The way that game had gone on we had to fight and do it for him. 

"The way that he said it was we had to win one for The Gipper, so shout out to coach Kerr." 

Curry led the Warriors with 34 points in Saturday's win.