OAKLAND, Calif. -- The trade deadline came and went, with the Golden State Warriors electing to stand pat. But perhaps the boldest move came on Thursday, when Warriors general manager Bob Myers addressed the team at shootaround prior to film study. It's something he does every dozen games or so, but the topic is usually about travel itineraries and team events. Rarely is it a serious issue or with a serious tone.
But his objective on this day was to share his concern about the team's growing number of technical fouls. This season, collectively, the defending champions have demonstrated a lack of self-restraint.
The Warriors have accumulated 39 technical fouls, second most in the league behind the Oklahoma City Thunder (40). They lead the league in ejections, with nine, with the Memphis Grizzlies second at five ejections. Draymond Green (14) and Durant (11) have combined for 25 technical fouls and seven ejections, with Kevin Durant tops in the association with four. KD had only one ejection in his previous 10 seasons prior to entering this campaign.
This issue extends beyond just the players. Head coach Steve Kerr occasionally drops profanity-laced tirades at the officials too. Early in the third quarter of Tuesday's loss to Oklahoma City, Kerr picked up his fourth technical of the season. He had five in total last season.
Over the past three games, the Warriors are averaging 2.3 techs a game.
This is the current state of the Warriors. It's a problem the team is trying to head off.
Myers explained that there has been too much bickering with the referees and suggested it could be affecting their on-court production. His speech didn't last long, but players got the point: It was time to zip it and play ball.
"It's not a good look," Kerr said in explaining what Myers' message was. "We need to look more professional, to act more professional, and to be more poised, and to represent our team in a better light. I don't think we've been doing a good job of that lately."
Kerr, for his part, has taken responsibility, saying he has to be more in control, as well.
"Draymond and I are actually more alike than you think," Kerr said. "We both have the propensity to snap because we're both incredibly competitive. We both lose it sometimes. That's just the way it is."
Despite Myers' talk, Green picked up another technical foul Thursday evening in a convincing win against the Dallas Mavericks after waving off an official -- an incident described in the "Respect for the Game" rules as an impermissible act that will result in a technical foul, according to the official Twitter account of the National Basketball Referees Association. Nevertheless, Durant said the team understood Myers' message.
"It felt like we got back to getting our hands on basketballs, helping out a little more, getting steals," Durant said. "We don't have enough time to even worry about refs when we're doing that. It was good to kind of hear that, and guys took it to heart and went there and tried to apply that."
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The team had been operating as if it could flip the switch whenever necessary and keep it cool down the stretch of important games. But the recent results have been concerning. Against two worthy opponents in the Thunder and the Houston Rockets on the season, the Warriors are 1-4. The Rockets, who are only a half-game back of the defending champs, own the tiebreaker. In Golden State's past nine games, the team has produced a 5-4 record. During that span, it lost three out of four -- only the second time that has occurred during Kerr's coaching tenure.
Overall, the Warriors' defensive rating is a solid sixth at 103.9. But over the past five games, their rating is 109.2, 19th in the league. Golden State is No. 1 in assists-to-turnover ratio (1.90), but over the past five contests, it sits 28th at 1.44.
"I know a lot of people expect us to be great every night," Durant said, "and that's a great standard to set. But some nights we're going to be in a slugfest, some nights we're going to score, some nights we're going to turn the ball over. I don't think it's something we should all be up in arms about."
Kerr and Green have stated for a week that guys are just eager to get to the All-Star break. In light of the team's struggles, Kerr has stressed that he doesn't want bad habits lingering, but he's almost certain the break will do the team some good to finish out the season strong.
There's also the possibility the team could look to strengthen its bench.
Among a few of the Warriors' players, Joe Johnson was a topic of discussion as a potential buyout candidate. But the 16-year veteran has since committed to signing with the Rockets after completing a buyout from the Sacramento Kings, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. Marco Belinelli, a sharpshooter who is on the verge of inking a buyout from the Atlanta Hawks, has not been pursued by the Warriors, sources say.
So for now, the Warriors will continue focusing on improving their on-court composure.
Asked what the team should do to address the technical foul concerns, Green said: "Just do what we're told. I don't know. Just do what we're told, I guess."