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Warriors coach Steve Kerr lament transition defence in Game 1 loss to Raptors

TORONTO — Warriors coach Steve Kerr lamented his team's transition defence Thursday in the wake of Golden State's 118-109 loss to the Toronto Raptors in Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday.

Just awful was his description.

"That's the No. 1 priority when you play Toronto, you have to take care of their transition and we gave up 24 fast-break points, we turned it over 17 times. So that's the game, really," Kerr said.

"The other stuff, guys are going to make shots, miss shots, they're going to have good games, they're going to have bad games, but it's kind of the key points that you can take care of that are the most important, and we didn't take care of that transition."

Kerr did not look happy as he summed up what had gone wrong in a loss that ended the Warriors' streak of 12 consecutive victories in Game 1s.

"Their defence was great and it wasn't our best night, but we just got outplayed, so simple as that. Move on to the next one."

That's Sunday at Scotiabank Arena.

Guard Klay Thompson also pointed to the poor transition defence, saying it helped fuel Pascal Siakam's 32-point night, a career playoff high.

"He's very long and athletic," said Thompson. "He's one of the better finishers in the paint in the game, so I know we'll step up to the challenge on Sunday to limit his opportunities, which a lot of them came in transition because he was sprinting the floor."

Thompson said the team can still achieve its goal from the first two games in Toronto.

"Our goal was to get one, and it's still on the table for us. So I know we'll respond like the champions we are."

Added forward Draymond Green: "We didn't play very well tonight at all and we still had a chance the entire game ... We can still play better and I know we will."

The Warriors closed the gap to 90-87 early in the fourth but were unable to catch Toronto.

Kerr also credited Toronto for its performance.

"They played a great game, they made a lot of shots, difficult shots, and our transition defence and turnovers, that's stuff that's really hard to overcome, especially on the road. So we got to get better with that." 

And he refused to make excuses when asked about the absence of the injured Kevin Durant or the team's long layoff prior to Thursday. 

But star guard Steph Curry said rust took its toll.

"I think the first half after that 10-day break it was a little bit sloppier than we might have thought and a little bit more rust that we had to shake off, but we still had a chance to win in the fourth quarter and they did what they were supposed to do on their home floor and close out the game," he said.

"So I don't think it's that complicated what we need to do differently. It's just play better, take away the easy buckets for them and control the momentum a little bit better. And we're definitely capable of doing that, no matter who is out there on the floor."

While Andre Iguodala seemed to be favouring his leg, Kerr said he thought he was OK. An update is expected Friday.

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Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press




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