OAKLAND • Sidelined Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr, who is recovering from back surgery, has received official credit for 29 wins this National Basketball Association (NBA) season.
On Monday night, he might have truly earned his first without ever leaving the locker room.
After falling behind by as many as 11 points in a first half that interim coach Luke Walton characterised as a "pick-up game", the Warriors responded to a rare tongue-lashing from Kerr at half-time to storm past the Sacramento Kings 122-103.
Golden State's 15th consecutive home win this season and 33rd in a row dating back to last year was not easy. Well, not until Kerr got involved, anyway.
"He was just as frustrated as the rest of us," Walton said of Kerr, who watched the game from his office in the locker room . "He wasn't yelling at people. He was making the point of who we are, who we need to be."
Shooting guard Klay Thompson scored eight of his team-high 29 points in a flurry that immediately followed Kerr's assessment and included the ejection of Kings star DeMarcus Cousins.
All of a sudden, a three-point half-time deficit was transformed into a 79-66 lead.
"We didn't play with the defensive intensity we should have," Thompson said of a first half that featured a 26-point explosion by Kings small forward Omri Casspi.
"We're not trying to beat teams in December. We could beat a team playing as sloppy as we did because of our talent level. We're trying to prepare for bigger things down the line and get the execution right. That's what (Kerr) stressed."
Point guard Stephen Curry, held scoreless for the game's first 20 minutes, contributed 23 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists for his first triple-double of the season.
Among the defenders on Curry during his barren spell was younger brother Seth. The 25-year-old Kings guard was taking on his more illustrious sibling for the first time in his NBA career and prevented Stephen, 27, from making a long three-pointer in the second quarter.
"It was a very cool moment," the reigning Most Valuable Player said. "I missed and he let me know about it. After that I was able to see a couple go in."
His first field goal of the game came on a three-pointer with 3min 16sec left in the half. But he followed with five more hoops, including four more threes, to head into the break with 17 points.
"He's done that so many times throughout the year, I don't think that's me, per se," Seth said. "He's going to turn it up. He's done that probably once a game, had a run like that.
"We tried to stop him from getting going, but it's tough. The game was going so fast at that time, that's when he's at his best."
But Casspi wound up as the game's leading scorer with a career-best 36 points. He shot 13-for-18 from the field, making a franchise-record-tying nine of his 12 three-point shots.