Why Is Steve Kerr Mixing Things Up on Thursday? ‘Pretty Simple, Actually'

OAKLAND -- Steve Kerr is comfortable with routine, believing it is one of the pillars upon which the success of the Warriors is constructed. An operation runs smoother when there is consistent rhythm and everyone knows what to expect.

But the coach decided this week to make a change. On Thursday, for the first time this season, the Warriors will not hold a warm-up session -- commonly referred to as a "shootaround" -- on the morning of a home game that tips off at 7:35.


"Pretty simple, actually," Kerr explained to NBC Sports Bay Area in a text message Wednesday night. "Just mixing it up to keep things fresh. We've been doing the same things for so long."

Though Kerr isn't exactly fibbing, there is more to this than merely change for the sake of change. A peek at some of the numbers indicates there is at least one valid reason for making a midseason revision to the game-day schedule.

The Warriors have had some abysmal starts at home games.

It's almost predictable that an opponent, no matter how inferior, will roll into Oracle Arena and immediately exhibit more energy than the defending champs.

The latest example came Tuesday night when the Knicks, lugging a 6-17 road record, built a 31-21 lead after one quarter. The Warriors overtook New York in the second half and earned a 123-112 win, but having to rally after another subpar start was troubling.

Ninety minutes after the game, a Warriors spokesperson announced there would not be a shootaround on Thursday.

The Warriors have analysts that track all kinds of metrics, some mundane and some arcane. Among their duties is the recognition of trends, and there is no doubt the team's tendency for sluggish starts, particularly at home, is profoundly evident.

A look at the first quarters of the last 15 home games -- since their most impressive 143-94 rout of the Bulls on Nov. 24 -- sounds numerous alarms:

--The defending NBA champs, the winningest team in the league three seasons and running, entered the second quarter with a lead only four times.

--Nine opponents shot at least 50 percent from the field, including one (the Grizzlies on Dec. 30) that was at 65.2 and another (the Trail Blazers on Dec. 11) at 60 percent.

--The Warriors, whose average of 115.9 points per equates to 29 per quarter, failed to reach that mark in 10 games didn't reach 25 points in seven of the games.

--The sweetest-shooting team in the league at 51.0 percent from the field, the Warriors were below that standard eight times and below 40 percent three times.

--The Warriors are often susceptible to turnovers, and they allowed more than 5 points off turnovers six times, and more than 10 on three of those occasions.

The Warriors entered this season with a three-year home record of 114-9, numbers tantamount to invincibility at Oracle. They are 17-6 there this season, while winning 21 of 25 on the road.

When examining reasons why the Warriors have been better on the road than at home, it literally starts at the beginning.

Though their 38-10 record is the best in the league, there is no question Kerr and his staff members are seeking cures to the areas that have nagged the Warriors, particularly at home.

"We're trying to introduce some different stuff in practice, too, just to keep the guys' attention," Kerr texted.

Most teams utilize shootarounds on the mornings of night games, but some have backed off. The Rockets decided in November that they would forgo shootarounds after coach Mike D'Antoni noticed they displayed more energy on nights when there was no morning session.

The Warriors haven't declared whether this is a one-game experiment or something more. That likely will be determined by the team's response, beginning Thursday night against the Timberwolves.

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