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Warriors' Steve Kerr Says He Ignored Ref's Warning During 'Euphoric' Rockets Win

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistDecember 26, 2019

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 25: Head coach Steve Kerr of the Golden State Warriors looks on against the Houston Rockets during the second half of an NBA basketball game at Chase Center on December 25, 2019 in San Francisco, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The Golden State Warriors haven't had many opportunities to enjoy themselves this season, but Wednesday's 116-104 victory over the Houston Rockets was a different story.

So different, in fact, that head coach Steve Kerr was comfortable ignoring a warning from the official during the celebration.

"It was the best game we've played, and it was great that Steph [Curry] and Klay [Thompson] were on the sidelines cheering them on and so active," Kerr said, per Nick Friedell of ESPN.com. "At one point the ref told me—he wanted me to tell our guys not to run on the floor. And I said, 'That's not happening. We've had a lousy season. We're going to run on the floor.' I said, 'If you've got to call a T, you've got to call a T.' And he said, 'All right, fair enough.' So it was a good night."

The celebration continued into the locker room, as Kerr went as far as to call it "euphoric."

"It was euphoric in the locker room. You have to put it into context of what kind of season we've had; the frustration and the injuries and the losses piling up. Yesterday was the most fun day of the year for us because our guys know they have gotten a lot better, but for that work to pay off and to win a national TV game on Christmas Day against a great team, that's a really good accomplishment. That game was much bigger for us than it was for Houston. They're going to play in a lot of big games this year. For us that was as big as it's been and maybe as big as it will be all year, just in terms of the magnitude of the game. So in that context, our guys were really, really happy and they deserve to be happy."

Golden State teams of old wouldn't have been as excited about a regular-season win, even one over the rival Rockets, considering it is coming off five straight trips to the NBA Finals. However, Kevin Durant is no longer on the roster, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson are both sidelined with significant injuries, and a number of younger players are getting significant minutes.

Friedell noted the Warriors' win as 11.5-point underdogs represented the biggest upset on Christmas Day in the last 30 years, according to Caesars Sportsbook.

He also pointed that the win was more special because it came against the Rockets, who they beat in the 2019 second round, 2018 Western Conference Finals, 2016 first round and 2015 Western Conference Finals.

All five starters scored in double figures, and Damion Lee led the way with 22 points and 15 rebounds.

The balanced effort helped counter James Harden (24 points, 11 assists, six rebounds and three steals) and Russell Westbrook (30 points, 12 rebounds and five assists) and gave Golden State its third straight win.

Kerr's team isn't going to make the playoffs barring an incredible climb up the standings, but it is building momentum and now has a marquee win to celebrate.