Steve Kerr couldn’t sit back and watch what was happening to his team any longer.
“I just think the numbers are totally deceiving,” Kerr joked Sunday. “... The team was just totally falling apart at the seams so I just had to get back to make sure we righted the ship.”
The Warriors have done quite fine without their coach, who hadn’t been on the sidelines since April 19 due to complications from back surgery that also caused him to miss games last season.
Kerr returned for Game 2 of the NBA Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Oracle Arena.
The Warriors entered the game 13-0 in the playoffs, the last 11 wins coming under acting head coach Mike Brown.
Kerr has been in the background and still part of preparations while Brown coached, but he’s happy to be healthy enough to do his job.
“This is what I love to do,” Kerr said before the game.
When he was announced to the crowd at Oracle, Kerr was greeted with a rousing ovation.
Kerr, however, could not say enough about the acting head coach.
Brown has plenty experience as a head coach, including in 2007, when Cleveland reached the NBA Finals. But he also had his share of critics after two stints with the Cavaliers and one with the Los Angles Lakers.
Brown, however, was a steady director in place of Kerr. When Brown talked about things that went well, he often referred to them as things Kerr had stressed.
“Mike is perfect as my right-hand man,” Kerr said. “He’s such a good coach and a good person. The way he’s handled this whole thing has just been incredible, the humility and yet the confidence with which he took the reigns. The players appreciate him, the staff does, I certainly do. He’s an amazing guy and I’m lucky to have him.”
This is not the first time the Warriors have had extended success without Kerr coaching.
Last season’s record-breaking regular season began with the Warriors starting the season 39-4 under Luke Walton, including winning a record 24 in a row to start the season. Walton is now leading the Lakers.
Kerr said coaching would be a collaborative effort between he and the staff, as it’s always been since he became the Warriors’ coach in 2014.
“It’s not really that much different,” Kerr said. “It’s the same thing I’ve been doing for the last three years. Unfortunately I’ve had a couple times during my coaching stint here where there’s been interruptions, unfortunately, but that’s the way it goes.”
Attles, Brown honored – Al Attles and Hubie Brown were recognized as the co-recipients of the 2017 Chuck Daly Lifetime Achievement Award by the National Basketball Coaches Association and presented with the awards after the first quarter.
Attles was the coach of the Warriors’ first championship on the West Coast in 1975. His 588 wins still rank first in franchise history.
Brown won an ABA championship with the Kentucky Colonels in 1975 was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as a contributor in 2005.
Brown’s work as a broadcaster was also was also honored by the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2000 with the Curt Gowdy Award, awarded for contributions to basketball by a broadcaster. Brown was inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame as a contributor in 2006.