Following the Golden State Warriors' first home defeat in 54 games against the Boston Celtics on Friday, head coach Steve Kerr has admitted the chase for the regular season wins record is beginning to affect his team.
Kerr believes the media attention surrounding the team's chase to beat the record set by the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls has impacted their recent play and is concerned by the toll it could take on his players mentally.
"I think they want the [wins] record," Kerr said, via ESPN. "But I think what they probably realise is maybe all the talk and all the focus on the record has gotten us away from the process of who we are.
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"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."
Having been a part of the legendary Bulls team, Kerr recalls how they too were under the same pressure and had to face constant media questions about their streak, which subsequently impacted their form.
"It's exactly the same," Kerr said. "Honestly, it was exactly the same. Constant media questioning about the streak."
"In fact, if you look back at that season, we lost two home games in the last week, 10 days of the season, both by a basket or one point. We were, I think, I want to say 37-0 or something that season at home, and we lost two of our last four.
"When we did break the record, in Milwaukee, I still remember it. It was a horrendous basketball game. We won like 85-80 or something. So yeah, it was like the same kind of thing. Constant scrutiny, little slippage in our execution, eking out wins, so it does feel the same way."
The Warriors coach, however, was speaking before the team's impressive bounce-back victory at home to the Portland Trail Blazers last night where they didn't show any hangover from their 109-106 loss to the Celtics and returned to their scintillating best.
Steph Curry dropped 39 points in the 136-111 win and Draymond Green added his 13th triple-double of the campaign to put the Dubs four wins shy of the 73-win mark. With five games remaining, they must go 4-1 to achieve the feat.
Despite refusing to discuss the team's pursuit of history for much of the year, Kerr has finally been more open on the topic recently with his team getting closer to the accomplishment, but he doesn't want his players to lose focus on what's important.
"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 said. "The championship goes up on the wall, and records are broken. People break records. Championships last forever."