Warriors

Kerr offers insight into why Iguodala is starting in place of injured Durant

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AP

Kerr offers insight into why Iguodala is starting in place of injured Durant

OAKLAND -- Veteran forward Andre Iguodala will start in place of Kevin Durant Wednesday night when the Warriors face the Timberwolves at Oracle Arena.

Coach Steve Kerr made the announcement during his pregame news conference.

“Defensively, I like the matchup,” Kerr said. “I like Andre’s ability to give us tough defense against a really good wing combination that we’re facing. And it’s just gut instinct. Give him a start, change it up little bit.”

Durant will miss the game with a bruised left thigh.

Minnesota starts 6-foot-8 Andre Wiggins at small forward and 6-8 Jimmy Butler at shooting guard. Klay Thompson and Iguodala, the Warriors’ top wing defenders, will be assigned to Butler and Wiggins.

A finalist for Sixth Man of the Year last season, Iguodala is averaging 4.5 points, 3.6 rebounds and 3.4 assists over 26 minutes per game. His 8.5 assist-to-turnover ratio is the best in the NBA.

This is Iguodala’s first start of the season and only his second regular-season start since 2014. Normally the first player off the Warriors bench, Iguodala last started a regular-season game Jan. 2, 2016 against the Nuggets.

Durant’s injury is not serious, Kerr added, saying the 6-9 small forward would be on the court if this were a playoff game.

"We’re going to miss him, at both ends,” Kerr said.

“It makes perfect sense to give him tonight off. We’ve got a couple more nights before our next game. He should be fine, I would think, by then. Those quad bruises are painful and not something you really want to mess around with. So we’re going to be cautious about it and get it right.”

Young Warriors fan brought to tears after getting surprised with tickets

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Twitter

Young Warriors fan brought to tears after getting surprised with tickets

Christmas came early for one young Warriors fan. 

Posting a video to Twitter, Charles Hinkle Jr. surprised his nephew with Warriors tickets on Friday. Hinkle's Twitter location shows the family is from Hollywood, Fla.

The reaction says it all. 

And the smile confirms it: best Black Friday ever.

The Warriors play the Heat in Miami on December 3 at 4 p.m. PT. The Warriors played the Heat twice last season. They won their first contest in Oakland and then later fell in Miami.

Gameday: Two Warriors All-Stars out for Friday's game vs Bulls

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USATSI

Gameday: Two Warriors All-Stars out for Friday's game vs Bulls

The Warriors will be without their starting forwards Friday night when they return to Oracle Arena not only to face the struggling Chicago Bulls but also in search of good habits.

Coverage on NBC Sports Bay Area begins at 6:30, with tipoff scheduled for 7:35.

Kevin Durant is out with a sprained ankle and Draymond Green will be resting.

The Warriors (13-5) are coming off a 2-2 road trip during which they blew a 17-point third-quarter lead in one of the losses and had to overcome a 24-point third-quarter deficit to earn one of the victories.

The rebuilding Bulls (3-13) are concluding a four-game swing through the Western Conference, having lost the first three games by an average of 15.7 points.

BETTING LINE

Warriors by 15.5

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Omri Casspi & Co. vs. Lauri Markkanen: Markkanen has been one of the few bright spots for the Bulls this season. The 7-foot rookie from Arizona shares the team lead in scoring at 14.6 points per game, while leading in rebounds at 8.3 per game. The only Chicago rookies to score more points in their first 16 games are Michael Jordan, Derrick Rose and Elton Brand. With Green and Durant out, the task of defending Markkanen falls to Casspi, who will start at one forward, with rookie Jordan Bell also taking a few turns.

INJURY LIST

Warriors: F Kevin Durant (L ankle sprain) and F Draymond Green (rest) are listed as out. C Damian Jones is on assignment with the G-League Santa Cruz Warriors.

Bulls: G Zach LaVine (L ACL rehab), F Nikola Mirotic (facial fractures), G David Nwaba (R ankle sprain) and G Cameron Payne (R foot surgery) are listed as out.

LAST 10

Warriors: 8-2. Bulls: 2-8.

GAME OFFICIALS

Bennie Adams (lead), Mark Ayotte and JT Orr.

SERIES HISTORY

The teams split the two-game series last season, each winning on its home court. The Warriors have won five of the last eight overall and 14 of the last 18 in Oakland.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH

THE INTENSITY METER: The Warriors believe, justifiably, that their biggest worry is about themselves. When they’re properly focused, they are the best team in the NBA. When they are not, they are susceptible to most any quality team. Insofar as Chicago doesn’t appear pose an explicit challenge, the Warriors must not only manufacture intensity but also maintain it.

KEEP ‘EM OFF THE LINE: The Bulls are dead last in the NBA in offensive rating (94.4), field-goal percentage (41.0), field goals made per game (35.7). The one thing they do well is shoot free throws, which they shoot at a league-leading 92.9 percent. The Warriors can be prone to fouls (only eight teams commit more), so they’ll have to play it smart against this opponent.

THE BENCH BUNCH: With Durant and Green out, along with this being the second game of a four-games-in-six-nights stretch, the Warriors will have to lean on their bench, which has been quite good. Its 54-percent shooting leads the league, as is its 4.2 blocks per game. The net rating 10.2 is second in the NBA.