OAKLAND, Calif. -- The day after his team suffered its first home loss of the season and first regular-season home defeat in 54 games, Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr said that chasing records and the subsequent media attention have had an impact on his squad's recent play.
"I think they want the [wins] record," Kerr said of his players Saturday after practice. "But I think what they probably realize is maybe all the talk and all the focus on the record has gotten us away from the process of who we are."
After Friday night's 109-106 loss to the visiting Boston Celtics, Golden State (68-8) needs to go 5-1 the rest of the way to set the NBA single-season mark of 73 wins.
Although Kerr said he doesn't believe players are consciously weighing the feat, he thinks the pressure and attention their chase of the record has drawn is having an effect.
"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."
When asked if he experienced something similar when his Chicago Bulls team set the record with 72 wins in 1996, Kerr answered in the affirmative.
"It's exactly the same," Kerr said. "Honestly, it was exactly the same. Constant media questioning about the streak."
Kerr posited that the attention had an impact on how that Bulls team finished the season.
"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," Kerr said. "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."
Those Bulls did in fact cede two of their last four at home with one-point losses to the Charlotte Hornets and Indiana Pacers. Kerr's memory of the record-breaking game in Milwaukee was off by only one point, as the Bulls won 86-80.
For months, Kerr has been less publicly enthused about the wins record than his players, but he indicated that it does matter to him.
"I care," he said. "I think it'd be a great feather in our cap, caps, whatever."
Still, he re-emphasized a priority on winning a championship and explained how a title would be the greatest achievement.
"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."