Time to raise a red flag? Kerr's tone on Draymond's injury changes


Time to raise a red flag? Kerr's tone on Draymond's injury changes

OAKLAND -- When a defending NBA champion goes without an All-Star for a game or three in the first half of the season, it’s not necessarily significant.

When it extends beyond a week without any discernable timetable for his return, it’s time to raise the red flag.

That’s where the Warriors are with Draymond Green and his ailing right shoulder. Something is wrong and there has been no interpretation, much less an expressed diagnosis.

Green’s absence Monday night in Los Angeles, where the Warriors face the Lakers, will be the third in a row and fifth in the last six for the starting power forward. Unlike center Zaza Pachulia, who also has missed the last three games, Green has not participated in any basketball activities while sidelined.

If Green can’t take the court, in any way, that’s cause for concern. He lives to play the game.

“Draymond’s not happy. I can tell you that,” coach Steve Kerr said Sunday. “He’s happiest when he’s on the floor, hair on fire, screaming at everybody and competing. It’s been hard on him.

“But Draymond also knows that this is the smart approach. So he’s not complaining. But I wouldn’t call him happy, either.”

All of which explains why when discussing Green’s condition with the Warriors, the tone in recent days has shifted from relative unconcern to apparent apprehension.

“It just got sore, probably wear and tear,” Kerr said. “There’s nothing we can do about it. I don’t spend any time worrying about it. When he’s ready, he’s ready. He’ll be all right. I’m sure of that.”

Though the mystery around Green’s shoulder woes would seem to merit an MRI test, none has been scheduled, according to Kerr, who described Green’s status as “day to day.”

Meanwhile, with Green and Pachulia out, the Warriors are wading knee-deep in contingencies.

Rookie Jordan Bell and veteran Omri Casspi have started the last two games and filled the majority the minutes that normally would go to Pachulia and Green. Kevon Looney can fill in at center. The Warriors on Sunday activated center Damian Jones from G-League Santa Cruz, and he will be available against the Lakers.

The injury issues and contingencies don’t end there. With starting point guard Stephen Curry already out -- he’s scheduled for reevaluation Tuesday -- primary backup Shaun Livingston will be sidelined, too, with soreness in his surgically repaired left knee.

“It’s got to be as beaten up as we’ve ever been since I’ve been here,” Kerr said. “I don’t remember having this many guys out, particularly starters. It’s all part of it and we’ve handled it really well. It’s created some opportunities for other guys.”

Though the Warriors are comfortable running their offense through several available players, including Andre Iguodala and Kevin Durant, the bulk of the point guard minutes will go to second-year guard Pat McCaw and Quinn Cook, who is in his third season bouncing between the G-League and the NBA.

Cook is on a two-way contract with the Warriors, which means he can spend up 45 days in the NBA before the team has to decide whether to offer a standard contract.

“The way the season is going, we’ll probably use all 45 of his days by the end of the year,” Kerr said.

Though half the regular rotation will be out of action, there is some good news for the Warriors: guard Nick Young, who has participated in the last two practices, is expected to clear the NBA’s concussion protocol and be available to face his former team at Staples Center.

Cook gives injured Warriors 'huge boost' in anomalous loss

Cook gives injured Warriors 'huge boost' in anomalous loss

OAKLAND -- If Quinn Cook plays at anything close to the level he performed Friday night against the Kings, the Warriors should avoid any catastrophic stumbling in the absence of their top three scorers.

They stumbled plenty in a 98-93 loss to Sacramento, but not because of Cook. The two-way player who has spent most of the season with G-League Santa Cruz scored a team-high 25 points, shot 10-of-13 from the field and played respectable defense.

He did more than could have been reasonably expected.

“I felt like this was coming,” coach Steve Kerr said. “He was fantastic. He really lit it up and gave us a huge boost.”

The Warriors ran into problems elsewhere, shared among the usually reliable veterans who need to be particularly reliable in the absence of Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson.

Usual starters Draymond Green and Zaza Pachulia combined to shoot 6-of-20.

Usual reserves Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, David West and Nick Young shot a collective 13-of-39.

In the second half, when Warriors mustered only 34 points -- a season-low for any half -- the six vets combined to take 32 shots and missed 24.

Those are atrocious numbers and they explain what went wrong in a game that was there for the taking.

They’re also an anomaly.

“We just couldn’t get anything going,” Green said. “But we got some good shots. We got ‘Dre on a couple of pull-ups in the lane, I got a couple open shots, Nick got a couple open shots, Zaza got a couple open ones. D-West had one pop in and out. (Kevon Looney) had two pop in and out.

“We just got cold. But hopefully those shots will fall tomorrow.”

West, returning after missing four games with a cyst on his right arm, was 1-of-6 from the field. He came into this game as a 60.8-percent shooter this season.

Igoudala was 4-of-10; he shot 70 percent over the previous 10 games. Young was 5-of-15, well below his 44-percent shooting this season. Livingston’s 3-of-8 shooting is uncharacteristic of someone shooting at least 50 percent for four years running.

If history is any indication, Green (5-of-14) and Pachulia (1-of-6) are not going continue to miss at the rate they did in this game, the first this season in which the Warriors were without all three of their top scorers.

If history is any indication, the Warriors can’t be counted on to score 34 points on 27.3-percent shooting in the second half of a game.

“I loved how our guys battled,” Kerr said. “They really competed well and made some big plays. We just couldn’t get the ball to go down quite enough in the second half.”

That’s going to change, perhaps as soon as Saturday night in Phoenix, were the Suns are playing to lose.

So if Cook plays steady basketball, the Warriors will fall off and their fans won’t become a basket case while waiting for the three shooters. The Warriors surely believe that.

“He really showed up. I’ve been waiting on that Quinn,” Green said. “We needed that. It was great for him to come out and play like that. And most importantly, his shots were falling. Since he’s been playing (more often) he’s been playing well, but his shots weren’t really falling. But tonight, they fell for him.”

They won’t always fall at a rate of 77 percent. They won’t have to once his teammates drop in a few more of their own shots.

Casspi rolls ankle, leaves game vs Kings


Casspi rolls ankle, leaves game vs Kings

OAKLAND -- Omri Casspi sustained a sprained right ankle with 9:00 left in the second quarter of the Warriors-Kings game Friday night and did not return.

After dropping in a short hook shot with 9:04 left in the quarter, Casspi landed awkwardly, rolling his ankle and dropping to the floor clutching his lower leg. Down for a couple minutes, he eventually got up and limped into the locker room, accompanied by physical performance specialist Chelsea Lane.

Casspi played six minutes off the bench, producing 6 points, one assist and one rebound against his former team.

He joins Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Pat McCaw and Klay Thompson on the sideline.