OAKLAND, Calif. - Steve Kerr is flourishing as a rookie head coach.
At 25-5, the Golden State Warriors are off to the best start in franchise history. They also have the NBA's best record, a first since finishing the 1975-76 season with a 59-23 mark.
Sixers coach Brett Brown has taken note of the phenomenal job his friend is doing. Brown was an assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs during Kerr's stints there in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
"I think he's taken this group that's had a heck of a run, the past few years anyways, and inherited something and didn't let it go," said Brown, acknowledging that Golden State averaged 49 wins the last two seasons. "He's coaching them up on defense. . . . Their firepower offensively is what we all sort of think of. But it all sort of goes deeper than that, really."
Heading into Tuesday's games, the Warriors led the NBA in field-goal percentage (47.9), opponent's field-goal percentage (42.2), blocks (6.38 per game), defensive rebounds (35.2 per game) and point differential (plus-8).
"I think he just ticks a lot of boxes himself when you look at his history as player as a general manager [of the Phoenix Suns from 2007-10]," Brown said. "You can hear intellect when he commentates games [as a broadcaster]. Now, he's a head coach. I think that all added up [to make him] an excellent head coach."
Sixers assistant coach Lloyd Pierce had tickets for 20 family members and friends for the game. Pierce is a native of nearby San Jose. He also was Steve Nash's backcourt mate at Santa Clara University. Pierce worked for the Warriors under former coach Mark Jackson during the 2010-11 season.
"With our schedule, any time you get multiple days in a city is always special," Pierce said of the Sixers, who have been in the area since Sunday. "But it's even more special being back in the Bay Area seeing family and seeing friends."