“Right now, I think we are very fragile,” Green said Friday after practice. “You start going through these things and then you start believing them. Once you start believing them, it becomes who you are. The only way to break them is by being mentally tough.”
The Warriors set off on the road trip following their best win of the season — a 16-point victory over the Boston Celtics. That game, Green said, was the team’s blueprint for how to be successful.
“When you look back at that win, it was one where you feel like you can build some momentum now and it’s time to start turning the page,” Green said. “We did turn the page. It just went the wrong way as opposed to the right way.”
Two days later, the Warriors were completely outmatched by the Milwaukee Bucks. Then the following day, Stephen Curry suffered a shoulder injury that, sources told ESPN, will sideline him for a few weeks.
“I think this is a team that has struggled from the spirit perspective since [the road trip began],” Green said. “It’s a bit more frustrating. … You can make what you want of it being on the road versus being at home, but it’s mental. It’s a team struggling mentally. And that makes it hard to overcome anything else.”
Golden State isn’t a stranger to rough patches. Just last season, the Warriors lost nine of 11 games in a February-March stretch as Curry and Green missed time with injuries. There was always a sense, however, that as soon as they got fully healthy, the pieces would naturally fall into place and click.
That isn’t entirely the case this season.
“It’s not something that’s going to be fixed with the snap of a finger,” Green said. “You’ve got to work through these issues to get that confidence. It’s just not showing up. As much as you’d like to think, ‘Oh, we’ll be fine and this guy will come back. …’ No, no, no. You’ve got to work [for] positive outcomes, positive feelings, that ultimately give you that boost of confidence.”
That being said, Green believes the Warriors (15-16) are capable of doing that work and coming together at the right time, just as they did last season before tearing through the playoffs on their way to another title.
Currently in 11th place in the West, the Warriors may again wind up in the play-in tournament — where they were eliminated just two seasons ago by the Memphis Grizzlies. If they do, Green is confident there will be a different outcome.
“I feel sorry for the 1- or 2-seeds if we’re in that situation,” Green said. “Is Steph Curry still on this team? Klay Thompson? Me? [Wiggins]? [Kevon Looney]? [Jordan Poole]? I think we would be fine.”