Warriors

Adams: Warriors 'will expect a lot' from Durant on defense

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Adams: Warriors 'will expect a lot' from Durant on defense

OAKLAND – Warriors assistant coach Ron Adams is practically rubbing his hands. His eyes are lighting up. With camp about a month away, his mind is spinning with creative ideas, inventive ways to use Kevin Durant.

On defense, that is.

“Ron can’t wait,” Leah Adams, wife of the veteran assistant, tells CSNBayArea.com, “to integrate Kevin into that defense.”

Understand, now, that Ron and Leah have known Durant since 2008, when he was entering his second NBA season – and first in Oklahoma City, where Adams was an assistant coach. They have history together, as Adams spent two seasons in OKC. So Durant’s decision to join the Warriors is something of a reunion.

Just as Adams focused on defense for the Thunder, he does now for the Warriors, who last season finished third in field-goal percentage defense. The coach most responsible for schemes, he is both tactician and critic, citing video to point out every missed assignment, including the subtle errors others won’t even see, much less understand.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr describes Adams as often appearing “distraught” just because an opponent found a way to score.

Now that Durant is a veteran steeped in the NBA game, the “small” forward represents quite the intriguing lab project for Adams. He’s listed at 6-foot-9, but is closer to 7 feet. His wingspan is 7-5. He’s an eager and capable defender, as the Warriors learned in the Western Conference Finals against Durant’s former team.

“His versatility is outstanding,” Ron Adams says of Durant. “He’s a terrific defender, who played with great defensive consistency in our playoff series. We will expect a lot out of him in that regard.”

Durant’s versatility is perfect for the schemes devised by Adams, who believes the new roster will continue to be suited for switching on defense. The Warriors last season switched on 24 percent of screens, by far the most in the league. Durant’s defensive metrics on switches are vastly superior to those of former Warriors small forward Harrison Barnes.

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“He can, if necessary, guard all five positions – and do it effectively,” Adams says of Durant, who spent most of the conference finals smothering Warriors forward Draymond Green.

“He’s a really good rim protector, in a non-traditional way,” Kerr says. “When he played the ‘four’ against us in the playoffs, he was brilliant. He blocked some shots and he scored a bunch of times. So he’ll play a lot of ‘four’ for us, for sure.”

Though Durant led all NBA small forwards in rebounding and ranked third – behind Philadelphia’s Jerami Grant and Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo – in blocked shots, he is known mostly for his ability to score. That’s a label of earned by winning four NBA scoring titles.

And, yes, Adams also appreciates what Durant will bring on offense.

“I personally think he will really blossom here as a playmaker,” Adams says of Durant, who finished behind only LeBron James for assists among small forwards. “He can play the point; he played point a lot for Oklahoma City over the years. He likes involving his teammates.

“I don’t know how you rank him in the pantheon of current players,” Adams adds. “But no matter how you do it, he’s certainly in the top three in the world.”

Durant looks forward to his reunion with Adams, even joking that Adams is the reason he chose to sign with the Warriors. He ought to remember, however, that no matter how well he defends there will be days when the coach will find fault.

Warriors vs. Clippers live stream: Watch NBA playoffs Game 5 online

Warriors vs. Clippers live stream: Watch NBA playoffs Game 5 online

The Warriors have put the Clippers on the brink. On Wednesday night in Game 5 of their best-of-seven first-round series of the NBA playoffs, they have a chance to bring Los Angeles' season to an end.

Golden State has rebounded since coughing up a big lead in their Game 2 loss to win each of the last two games, including a 113-105 victory in Game 4 on Sunday. With a win Wednesday, the Warriors would advance to the second round, where they would await the victor of the first-round series between the Rockets and Jazz (Houston currently leads three-games-to-one).

Kevin Durant (28.8) and Steph Curry (25.0) have combined to averaged 53.8 points per game so far in the series, the second-highest scoring average for any duo in the playoffs behind Portland's Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum (57.4 ppg).

[RELATED: Why you should expect huge Game 5 for Steph, Warriors]

Here's how you can watch Warriors-Clippers Game 5, as well as NBC Sports Bay Area's pregame and postgame coverage live on the MyTeams by NBC Sports app.

When: 7:30 p.m. PT on Wednesday, April 24 (pregame show starts at 6:30 p.m.)
TV channel: NBC Sports Bay Area
Live stream: MyTeams by NBC Sports app

Desktop users can stream the game here.

Warriors vs. Clippers Watch Guide: Lineups, injuries and player usage

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USA Today

Warriors vs. Clippers Watch Guide: Lineups, injuries and player usage

OAKLAND- Last week, the Warriors left Oracle on the short end of the worst playoff collapse in NBA history. Now, the champs will look to close out the Western Conference first-round series against the Clippers in Game 5 Wednesday night.

Coverage on NBC Sports Bay Area begins at 6 o'clock with Warriors Outsiders, followed by Warriors Pregame Live at 6:30 and a scheduled 7:30 pm tip-off. 

In parts of the series, the Warriors have shown stretches of complacency, squandering a 31-point lead in Game 2. With a second-round matchup with the Rockets lingering, Golden State will be wise to wrap up their current series as soon as possible. 

Here's everything you need to know about the matchup.

PROJECTED LINEUPS

Warriors
F Kevin Durant 
F Draymond Green
C Andrew Bogut
G Klay Thompson
G Stephen Curry

Clippers
F Danilo Gallinari
C Ivica Zubac
G Patrick Beverley
G Landry Shamet
G Shai Gilgeous-Alexader

INJURY REPORT 

Warriors: DeMarcus Cousins (Left Quadriceps Tear) and Damian Jones (Left Pectoral Surgery) are out.

Clippers: None

ROTATION OUTLOOK 

Warriors

After shooting just 3-of-14 from the field Sunday afternoon, Curry will look to find his shot in a closeout game. 

The sharpshooter also looks to overcome his propensity to reach during the series. Over his last four games, Curry has accumulated 17 fouls, prompting him to etch the message "no" and "reach" on his shoes prior to Game 4. 

After reminding the media who he is, Durant is averaging 35.5 points, 6.5 assists and 5.5 rebounds over his last two games. 

Clippers

Gilgeous-Alexader scored a career-high 25 points in Game 4 and has Golden State's attention. 

Meanwhile, the Warriors help neutralize Montrezl Harrell and Lou Williams in Game 4 and will need a repeat defensive performance in Game 5. 

Last week, it looked as if the Clippers may have found the anecdote for the Warriors' all-star cast of characters after LA took Game 3. However - after two dominant performances in Los Angeles - Golden State looks primed to close out the series Wednesday night.  

Officials: Marc Davis (#8), John Goble (#30), Pat Fraher (#26) Alternate: Gediminas Petraitris (#50)