Warriors

Decision by Kerr on Tuesday leaves Warriors sans Splash Brothers vs Clippers

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Decision by Kerr on Tuesday leaves Warriors sans Splash Brothers vs Clippers

OAKLAND -- There was a tiny hint of regret in Steve Kerr’s voice late Wednesday afternoon when the Warriors coach reflected on a decision he made a day earlier.

That decision left the Warriors without Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson against the Clippers.

Thompson was not scheduled to play at all, but Curry most certainly was -- until he tweaked his right ankle during the team’s morning shootaround.

Though the Curry injury is not believed to be serious, the Warriors suddenly were without either of the Splash Brothers and, frankly, woefully thin at guard.

“I had told Klay (on Tuesday) that he’d have the day off. He needs one,” Kerr said in his pregame news conference.

Thompson is the only member of the Warriors to have played in every game this season. Chelsea Lane, who oversees the physical performance and sports medicine, went to Kerr a few days ago advising him to find a day to rest Thompson for both physical and psychological reasons.

“It just felt like the right day, before we go on this road trip,” Kerr said. “Once Steph got hurt, what am I going to do? Call Klay and say ‘I changed my mind?’ Obviously, if this were a different situation, we might consider that.

“But we’re giving Klay a day off for a reason. He needs it. So I didn’t feel comfortable at all changing my mind, calling him and saying, ‘Hey, can you play after all?’ So we’ll have to make do.”

The Warriors entered the game with three natural guards: Shaun Livingston, Pat McCaw and Nick Young. Andre Iguodala, can play spot minutes in the backcourt, and both Draymond Green and Kevin Durant are able to initiate the offense.

Kerr acknowledged he considered Quinn Cook, who has appeared in 10 games this season, but realized the two-way point guard was not available. He’s in Canada with the Santa Cruz Warriors, who are participating in the G-League Showcase.

Kerr said his guard rotation on Wednesday would be determined in the hour before tipoff, adding half-jokingly that forward Omri Casspi could see minutes at guard.

As a result, Kerr conceded that the Warriors might have to play bigger than he would like for stretches of the game.

Kyrie Irving details why the Celtics can beat the Warriors in a seven-game series

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Kyrie Irving details why the Celtics can beat the Warriors in a seven-game series

The Warriors have the best odds of winning the 2019 title.

The Celtics have the second best odds.

Kyrie Irving is confident that his squad will be hoisting the Larry O'Brien trophy in June.

"Can we beat Golden State in a seven-game series? Yes," Irving told ESPN's Jackie MacMullan. "Because of who we have, and what we're establishing here, not just for this season, but for hopefully for the next few years, something that's pretty special.

"I've played against Golden State in three straight Finals -- two that I was able to participate in -- and seeing them evolve, with the talent they have, and then adding DeMarcus Cousins, it's like 'OK, the whole league is on notice.'

"But there's one factor that they're aware of, and I'm aware of, and that's that I've seen them up close. I've played them so many times. We've gone in a seven-game series so I know what it takes."

Yes he does.

Over Games 3 through 7 in the 2016 Finals, Kyrie averaged 30.8 points and 4.4 assists while shooting just under 51 percent from the field (he also made a kind of important shot late in Game 7).

The five-time All-Star averaged 29.4 points and 4.4 assists on 47 percent shooting in the 2017 Finals.

Over the past couple of years, the Warriors' star players have consistently praised Kyrie and they genuinely respect his game.

The feeling is mutual as Kyrie understands the immense challenge that lies ahead.

"How do I communicate to our guys that this is the top-tier team, and we have to grow immensely in the next six months to beat them consistently? Not just one game, not just two, but in a seven-game series, because they're so dang great," Kyrie said. "They're a powerhouse."

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller

Report: Tyler Ulis signing with Warriors instead of Kings, Rockets

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Report: Tyler Ulis signing with Warriors instead of Kings, Rockets

The Warriors still are waiting on Patrick McCaw to sign his qualifying offer, but they reportedly brought in some backcourt depth in the meantime.

The two-time defending champions are set to sign ex-Phoenix Suns guard Tyler Ulis to an Exhibit 10 contract, according to The Athletic and ESPN. Ulis chose to sign with the Warriors over the Sacramento Kings and Houston Rockets, ESPN's Marc Spears reported Friday.

Ulis averaged 7.8 points and 23.4 minutes per game in 71 appearances with the Suns last season. He started 43 games, two of which came in April against the Warriors. 

The 22-year-old, whom the Suns drafted in the second round in 2016, figures to have a tough time cracking the Warriors' rotation. Point guards Stephen Curry, Shaun Livingston and Quinn Cook all will be ahead of him on the depth chart, and Ulis' lack of size (5-foot-10, 150 pounds) makes time at the other guard spot unlikely. 

That explains his contract, then. An Exhibit 10 deal means that Ulis will receive a bonus of up to $50,000 if he signs with the G-League Santa Cruz after the Warriors waive him, according to ESPN's Bobby Marks' explainer of the deal. Ulis' deal also can become a two-way contract, minus the bonus.