NBA Gameday: Expect fireworks as Warriors take on T'Wolves

NBA Gameday: Expect fireworks as Warriors take on T'Wolves

(UPDATE: 5:50pm PT on Saturday): Warriors head coach Steve Kerr ruled forward Draymond Green and guard Ian Clark out for Saturday night's game against Minnesota. Kevon Looney will start in place of Green.


OAKLAND – When the Warriors return home Saturday to complete a back-to-back set, they’ll do it under a cloud of uncertainty.

They don’t know for sure if All-Star forward Draymond Green or reserve guard Ian Clark will be available when they pursue their 11th consecutive win, facing the Minnesota Timberwolves at Oracle Arena.

Green indicated late Friday night that he intends to play despite a gimpy left ankle, while Clark is coping with a bruised throat.

The Warriors (14-2) are coming off a 109-85 victory over the Lakers on Friday in Los Angeles, while the Timberwolves (5-10) are coming to Oakland after taking a 98-85 win over the Suns in Phoenix.


Warriors by 14


Kevin Durant and Green vs. Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins. This is why Green’s status is so significant. Though Towns is a 7-foot center, he’ll see less of Warriors center Zaza Pachulia than he would of Green and Durant, as well as some JaVale McGee. Warriors forwards, no matter who they are, will share assignments on Towns and Wiggins, both of whom are terrific athletes and fabulous scorers.


Warriors: F Draymond Green (L ankle contusion) and G Ian Clark (throat/neck soreness) were ruled out by Steve Kerr roughly 90 minutes before tip-off. C Damian Jones is on assignment with the D-League Santa Cruz Warriors.

Timberwolves: C Nikola Pekovic (R ankle pain) is listed as out.


The Warriors won two of three against Minnesota last season and have won 20 of the last 24 overall.


The backup plan. If Green can’t go, Warriors coach Steve Kerr will have to scan his bench for alternatives. The result could be more minutes for bigs Kevon Looney, James Michael McAdoo and McGee as well as small forward Andre Iguodala. In any case, the defensive assignments (Towns and Wiggins) will be challenging for all.

The fireworks show. While Minnesota is a team of athletic high flyers, the defense-oriented reputation of coach Tom Thibodeau is taking a beating. The T'Wolves are allowing opponents to shoot 46.4 percent; only the Lakers and Nets have been worse. The Warriors’ 50.3-percent shooting is by far the best in the league.

The shooting guards. Klay Thompson is having his most inconsistent defensive season since he was a rookie. He’ll need to pick it up against Zach LaVine, one of the greatest athletes in the NBA who has become a solid scorer. Given Klay’s strong shooting of late, this has the potential for plenty of offense.

Four things we learned while Steph Curry dealt with fourth ankle injury

Four things we learned while Steph Curry dealt with fourth ankle injury

UPDATE (2:40pm PT on Tuessday): Steph Curry has been cleared for full team practices with the goal of playing this week, the Warriors announced.


The Warriors’ usual late-spring sprint toward the postseason, already slowed to a limp, deteriorated into a forlorn crawl Monday night in San Antonio as they were losing for the fourth time in six games.

Draymond Green, the only “healthy” member of the team’s All-Star quartet, left the game in the second quarter with a pelvic contusion and did not return.

Though Green said after this 89-75 loss to the Spurs that he doesn’t consider this a serious injury, it’s abundantly clear reinforcements can’t arrive soon enough.

Stephen Curry, a profoundly superior reinforcement, may return as soon as Friday.

Curry’s tender right ankle is scheduled to be reevaluated Tuesday, after which the Warriors will establish a timeline for his return. He could, according to team and league sources, be back in the lineup Friday night when the Atlanta Hawks visit Oracle Arena.

That would provide a massive injection of talent for the Warriors, who lost of three games during a four-day stretch in which they were forced to rely heavily on reserves and role players.

“We’re already shorthanded and then we lose another All-Star, the glue to our team, Draymond, at halftime,” said Quinn Cook, who in scoring 73 points over the past three games did an admirable job of trying of producing Curry-like numbers.

As good as Cook was on Monday, scoring 20 points, it’s a bit much to ask Cook to lead the Warriors past a San Antonio team fighting to extend its 20-year streak of consecutive playoff appearances.

The Warriors are built around their four All-Stars -- Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, Curry and Green. They usually can withstand the loss of one, and they can often are OK missing two. But when it’s three, and possibly four, the defending champs are a home without a foundation.

As the Warriors were losing four of six games, and two of the last three, we have learned four things:

1) Cook is an NBA keeper.

The point guard from Duke, who turns 25 on Friday, has proved not only that he belongs in the league but also that he can survive in the rotation of a championship contender. He’s considerably more effective than Pat McCaw. Even if everybody were healthy, it would be hard, maybe foolish, to deny Cook minutes.

2) Kevon Looney continues to smooth the rough edges of his game.

The Warriors opened the season uncertain what they could expect from a forward that has undergone surgery on both hips. Month after month, though, he has done most everything they could have asked. He operates well in their switching defense, is effective in traffic and now he’s blocking shots and raining jumpers. At this rate, the Warriors would be delighted to have him back next season.

3) David West and Jordan Bell are in search of rhythm.

West was reliably excellent, at both ends, prior to missing five games with a cyst on his right arm. Since returning last Friday, there have been visible signs of rust. He’ll be OK in time, but at 37 likely needs another game or two to rediscover his touch.

Bell missed 14 games with a left ankle sprain, returned briefly, sustained a sprain of his right ankle and missed three more games. In the three games since his return, he has yet to look comfortable. It’s not just rust; it’s also the team around him. He’s at his best when supporting the stars. It may take him a while before he shines again.

4) Postseason minutes may be scarce for Nick Young

The Warriors hired Young to score while not embarrassing himself on defense and he has had good moments on both ends. But his inconsistency -- partly attributed to unspectacular conditioning -- grates on coaches and sometimes teammates. As much as he wants to enjoy the postseason, he’s playing his way toward an insignificant role unless injuries dictate otherwise.

Source: Warriors, Curry aiming for Friday return


Source: Warriors, Curry aiming for Friday return

UPDATE (2:25pm PT on Tuesday): The Warriors announced that following an examination by the team's medical staff, Steph Curry has been cleared to participate in full team practices beginning on Wednesday. The goal is for Curry to "play later this week."

The Warriors return to action Friday when they host the Hawks. They face the Jazz on Sunday in Oakland.


The Warriors have been without Stephen Curry for six full games and all but the first two minutes of a seventh. The last three were less out of medical necessity than an abundance of caution.

Curry could, however, return as soon as Friday when the Atlanta Hawks visit Oracle Arena, multiple sources disclosed to NBC Sports Bay Area on Monday night. ESPN, citing league sources, was first to report the team’s plan.

The two-time MVP’s right ankle is scheduled to be reevaluated Tuesday, after which time a firm return date is expected.

Curry was physically able to play -- and actually pushed to return -- last weekend, according to league sources. But the Warriors, looking ahead to the playoffs and seeing diminished value in the remaining regular-season games, opted to continue rehabilitation in hopes of maximizing support for the area around his ankle.

The Warriors have described Curry’s injury not as a sprain but a “tweak,” implying less severity.

Though the Warriors won the game in which Curry was hurt, 110-107 over the Spurs on March 8, they have since lost four of six, including 89-75 on Monday in San Antonio.

The Warriors arrived early Tuesday morning and won’t practice Tuesday afternoon and are contemplating skipping an official practice on Wednesday.

The Warriors, averaging a league-leading 115.5 points per game this season, saw that figure drop to 103.3 during Curry’s six-game absence.