The one thing going right for the Golden State Warriors wasn't enough to lift them over the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday night.
Steph Curry scored 50 points for the 11th time in his career but the Warriors still lost, 130-119. It was the biggest defeat for the team since a 14-point loss to the Detroit Pistons on Oct. 30 and dropped Golden State to 6-9 on the year.
Outside of Curry, the Warriors were ineffective on offense and defense. Non-Curry players hit just 24-of-63 shots, including only 10-of-33 from 3-point range. And defensively, the Warriors allowed the Suns to hit 44-of-86 shots and 21-of-40 3-pointers.
It was an overall abysmal performance, and head coach Steve Kerr took it as an affront to their team chemistry and his ability as a leader.
"We've got to get everybody on board, on the same page in terms of worrying about winning," Kerr said after the game. "Right now, we're just scattered. It's a pick-up game out there. There's no execution at either end. There's no commitment to the group to get three stops in a row, to execute on offense.
"And it obviously starts with me." he added. "I'm the coach of the team. So, I have to figure out a way to get that production, that sort of committment to the team and to each other and to winning that it's going to require."
The Warriors are coming off their fourth title since 2014 but entered this season with a lot of off-court concerns. Namely, the impending contracts of Draymond Green, Jordan Poole, Andrew Wiggins and Klay Thompson. Green reportedly wanted a max contract sooner rather than later, but the Warriors paid the younger Poole and Wiggins first. That all happened after Green punched Poole during a practice scuffle.
Whether or not this drama has anything to do with the Warriors' early-season woes doesn't matter because the Warriors are still struggling. Though the team ranks highly in points per game and field goal percentage, the Warriors also rank fifth in turnovers, first in personal fouls and allow the fourth-most points per game on defense.
None of that is good enough to defend a title, and Kerr acknowledged has done a good enough job bringing the team together.
“That's what being the coach is about," Kerr said. "It's not just about drawing up a play. It's about really getting to know your players, building relationships with them, trying to build them a vision that they collectively can shoot for. And clearly, I have failed at that to this point this year. And so I have to do a better job and I've got to reach these guys and we got to pull them together and that's what we're going to do."
There is still a lot of time left in the season, though, and the Warriors remain one of the deadliest teams on paper. But Curry, whose 50-point performance marked the 10th time already this season where he scored at least 30, knows Golden State could be close to a slippery slope if they keep wracking up losses.
"Losing becomes habit if you don't fix it," Curry said. "We've avoided that for a very long time, In terms of that creeping into the locker room and losing mentality. I think we're very aware of who we are and what our potential is, the fact that we can't stay in this vibe and mode for too long and not really prove that we can be that type of team.
"We're not panicking in terms of 6-9 or whatever we are. ... But the losing does get ol very quick."