The Warriors played the Suns at Oracle Arena on Monday night, and the game went about as well as you would have expected it to for Golden State. They jumped out to a 17-point lead at halftime before building on that lead in the second half and cruising to a 129-83 win over Phoenix. In the process, the Warriors got 22 points from Steph Curry, 19 points from Omri Casspi, 17 points from Kevin Durant, and 16 points from both Klay Thompson and Nick Young.
But the game was anything but your average Warriors blowout win over a lesser opponent. Because from the very beginning of the game, head coach Steve Kerr—who earned his 250th career win on Saturday against the Spurs—decided he wasn’t going to give his players any instruction. Instead, he handed a different player the clipboard during each and every timeout during the game and had that player draw up plays and talk to the team about what adjustments they needed to make out on the court.
Several players got their opportunity to shine. Andre Iguodala was one of the first players to get the chance to run the Warriors’ huddle.
Draymond Green, who was sidelined with a sprained finger, got the nod at one point, too.
David West was in the charge during what was characterized as one of the "sternest" timeouts of the evening.
And by the end of the night, Green really seemed to be embracing his new coaching role. Whatever reservations he had at first about assuming ownership of Kerr’s clipboard melted away by the time the second half rolled around, and he had no problem taking over during timeouts.
So what was the point of all of this? After the game, Kerr was quick to point out that he did not do it to try and embarrass the Suns—even though some Phoenix players, like Jared Dudley, weren’t thrilled with what he did. Kerr also said he didn’t do it to show that anyone could coach the Warriors and have success.
Instead, Kerr told reporters he decided he was going to do it after the Warriors’ win over the Spurs, and he said his goal was to show his players that the Warriors are their team and only they can decide how the rest of the season is going to go. By taking himself out of the equation, he was hoping to show them that they will ultimately determine their own fate—not him, the Warriors’ front office, or the Warriors’ ownership.
"It had nothing to do with me being disrespectful," Kerr said. "It had to do with me trying to reach my team. I have not reached them for the last month. They’re tired of my voice. I’m tired of my voice. It’s been a long haul these last three years. I wasn’t reaching them, and we thought it was probably a good night to pull a trick out of the hat and do something different. I thought the players responded very well. I just feel like when we are focused, we are really tough to beat and tonight we were focused. Just having to count on each other and not having to hear my voice—and this sort of sounds like Charlie Brown’s teacher, parents, whoever’s voice that is. At this point, that’s who I sound like to them. They needed a different voice."
When the Warriors take the court again for a road game against the Trail Blazers on Wednesday night, Kerr’s clipboard will likely be back in his hands. But leave it to him to figure out a way to keep his team motivated during a mid-February game against one of the worst teams in the league.