Warriors

Kyrie: Flat Earth comments an experiment, 'exploitation tactic'

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AP

Kyrie: Flat Earth comments an experiment, 'exploitation tactic'

Remember when Kyrie Irving said the Earth is flat?

Well, at Celtics Media Day on Monday, Kyrie spoke with Toucher and Rich of 98.5 The Sports Hub about his comments.

Was Kyrie trolling everybody?

“Look, look. Look. Look. Here it is. All I want to do is be able to have that open conversation," Kyrie started, but was stopped by laughter. "Listen to me. What it did was -- it was all an exploitation tactic. It literally (spun) the world -- your guys' world -- (spun) the world into a frenzy and it proved exactly what I thought it would do in terms of how all this works.

"It created a division -- stand up there and let all these people throw tomatoes at me -- or have somebody think that I’m somehow this different intellectual person because I believe that the world is flat and you think the world is round. It created exactly that.

“It did exactly that to where it became -- because I think different, does that ever knock my intellectual capacity or the fact that I can think different things than you can?"

So it was just an experiment?

"Absolutely," Kyrie said. "That was the intent behind it. Do your own research. Don’t come to me and ask me ... at the end of the day, you’re gonna feel and believe what you want to feel. But don’t knock my life over here.

“Whenever I'm doing something, I know my intent behind it. And it exactly proved what I thought it would."

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders and a Web Producer at NBC Sports Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller

Steve Kerr offers insight into why Draymond Green is sitting vs Blazers

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AP

Steve Kerr offers insight into why Draymond Green is sitting vs Blazers

OAKLAND -- The Warriors made it clear Sunday that Stephen Curry would not be available Monday night against Portland, and they announced Monday morning that Zaza Pachulia also would miss the game.

Not until two hours before tipoff against the Blazers was it announced that forward Draymond Green, who had been listed as probable, also would not be available.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr studied video of the Blazers’ last game, considered their available playing rotation and decided Green’s tender right shoulder could benefit from a night off.

“That’s a big part of it,” Kerr said in his pregame news conference. “I watched their Houston game from other day. It looked like the old 6-5 and Under League. Lots of shooting, lots of spacing. They’re hard to guard. They run good stuff.

“So we’ve got to stay home with shooters and cover penetration. You’ll see our lineups reflect that.”

Green missed the game last Wednesday in Charlotte but returned, at less than full strength, to play last Friday at Detroit, his home state. Though he had a highly productive game, the Warriors don’t want to push the issue.

“I don’t think it’s serious,” Kerr said. “It’s enough to keep him from playing tonight. It’s been bothering him the last few days and it’s still aggravated, so we won’t play him tonight.”

Gameday: Warriors double-digit favorites vs Blazers

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USATI

Gameday: Warriors double-digit favorites vs Blazers

UPDATE (5:47pm PT on Monday): Draymond Green will miss Monday's game against the Blazers due to a shoulder injury, Steve Kerr announced before the game.

***

OAKLAND -- The Warriors make their first appearance at Oracle Arena in two weeks Monday night, when they face the reeling Portland Trail Blazers.

The Warriors (21-6) are entering a stretch during which they play nine of their next 10 games at home. They own a six-game win streak, and the last two were without two-time MVP Stephen Curry. Kevin Durant immediately raised his game to a higher level.

This is the first of a five-game road trip for the Blazers (13-12), who have lost four in a row, all at home.

BETTING LINE

Warriors by 10.5

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Shaun Livingston/Quinn Cook/Klay Thompson vs. Damian Lillard/CJ McCollum: Lillard and McCollum are the highest-scoring backcourt in the NBA. Both have deep range, with McCollum shooting 44.3 percent beyond the arc at Lillard at 35 percent. Lillard is a very proud Oakland native who always seeks to put on a show for his homecomings. Though the absence of Stephen Curry takes some of the shine off the backcourt battle, the Warriors have a full understanding that offsetting Lillard and McCollum is the key to beating Portland.

INJURY REPORT

WARRIORS: G Pat McCaw (concussion, nose contusion) is listed as questionable but will play. G Stephen Curry (R ankle sprain) and C Zaza Pachulia (L shoulder soreness) are listed as out. C Damian Jones is on assignment with the G-League Santa Cruz Warriors.

BLAZERS: F Maurice Harkless (L quad soreness) and C Jusuf Nurkic (R ankle sprain) are listed as out.

LAST 10

Warriors: 8-2. Trail Blazers: 5-5

GAME OFFICIALS

James Capers (crew chief), Kevin Cutler, Rodney Mott.

SERIES HISTORY

This is the first meeting between the teams this season. The Warriors swept the four-game series last season, winning by average margin of 19.5 points. They have won the last six games, the last six in Oakland 15 of 18 overall.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH

THE KD SHOW: Durant was good before Curry went down. He has since been outstanding, making an impact at both ends. He’s a matchup nightmare for most opponents, and the Blazers are no different. Expect them to turn to their best frontcourt defender, Al-Farouq Aminu, to try and slow Durant. If KD plays as inspired as he has over the past two games, it probably won’t matter.

THE PACE: The Warriors will want to speed the game up at every opportunity, something with which the Blazers are not entirely comfortable. Portland is dead last in fast-break points per game (4.5) and 27th in points off turnovers (14.6 per game). The Blazers are largely dependent on jump shots out of half-court sets. The Warriors have had success lulling them into a run-and-gun battle.

THE BIGS: Having both starting centers out sets up a curious battle between JaVale McGee of the Warriors and Meyers Leonard of the Blazers, similarly athletic but unorthodox 7-footers who offset evident weaknesses with high field goal percentages (54.7 for McGee, 62.5 for Leonard) and high efficiency ratings (19.39 for McGee, 22.35 for Leonard). Should be fun to watch.