In the official play-by-play of last night's Suns-Warriors game in Golden State, the first recorded event is an offensive foul by former Kia MVP winner Stephen Curry. That play was apparently enough for Warriors coach Steve Kerr to sound off on the officials and get tossed for his outburst.
Just nine seconds into the third quarter, the Warriors ran a play in which Curry set a screen on the Suns' Trevor Ariza while Kevin Durant cut backdoor. Ariza and Suns guard Shaquille Harrison got tangled up with Curry, who was called for the offensive foul.
Curry then argued with officials about the call, netting a technical foul, which then caused Kerr to step onto the court and argue with the officials. Prior to that opening play of the third quarter, the Warriors had been whistled for five offensive fouls in their eventual 117-109 loss to the Suns.
Official Ben Taylor then ejected Kerr, who per multiple media reports told game officials "I don’t want to be here anyway," before waving goodbye and exiting the court. After the game, Kerr joked about his ejection, but also said he deserved it for his actions.
“We had a good post-game spread,” Kerr told reporters afterward. “It’s usually out there by the late third quarter. I wanted to be the first one at the buffet.
“I was trying to make a point and back up my guys. We had all of these offensive fouls one after another. I finally had enough. ... I was frustrated and was in the wrong, obviously. I got what I deserved.”
Connor Letourneau of the San Franciso Chronicle notes that after Kerr's ejection, the Warriors showed a little more spark and activity in the game.
The good news for the Warriors was that Kerr getting tossed seemed to provide a jolt of energy that they had lacked much of the game. Up until that point, Golden State had needed little more than 24 minutes to surrender 61 points to the Devin Booker-less Suns. After Kerr disappeared through the tunnel, players were sharper with their defensive reads, working off screens and putting hands on shooters along the perimeter.
Still, the Warriors don’t want to have to rely on run-ins with referees to play with playoff-level enthusiasm. Opponents, recognizing a talent disadvantage, will try to do whatever they can to irk Golden State and get All-Stars tossed from the game. By feeding into the other team’s aims, the Warriors only hurt their chances of a smooth path to a third consecutive NBA title.
Curry told reporters after the game he appreciated Kerr sticking up for him and the team at large, writes Mark Medina of The Mercury News.
“We’re all in this together. We have to have each other’s backs,” Curry said. “That’s one of our core principles. He has opportunities to try to influence things with outbursts if he needs to and stuff he says in the locker room. Whatever the case is, knowing we’re out there giving everything we got throughout the year, coach has your back. He’s not pinching his wallet when he has the opportunity. When he speaks his mind, it means a lot.”
Additionally, it seemed the Warriors couldn't help but be somewhat entertained by Kerr's reaction to his ejection.
“It was funny. I knew something was going to happen,” Warriors guard Quinn Cook said. “I remember seeing that on ESPN and seeing it on Instagram before I got here. It was my first time seeing it in person. It was cool.”