OAKLAND -- Warriors coach Steve Kerr claimed to have no idea the curtain would drop Wednesday, but he understood its significance.
Warriors practice was over, and it was time for a private scrimmage, featuring rehabilitating center DeMarcus Cousins.
“I didn’t know the curtain was coming down,” Kerr said when asked about it, “but I’m pretty sure that’s exactly what it means.”
The Warriors typically don’t drop the curtain bisecting their practice facility unless a rehabbing player is nearing a return date. There still is no timeline for Cousins’ return, and there likely won’t be more than a day or two's notice once he's cleared.
But going behind the curtain to scrimmage, one week after dunking on Kevin Durant in a playful game of one-on-one, is a sign of progress.
“He’s going to scrimmage and get to the point where he’s ready to go with his confidence and his conditioning,” Kerr said.
The Warriors are breathlessly waiting for Cousins’ return. Lack of size in the paint has become a glaring liability. Lakers backup big man Ivica Zubac leveraged his 7-foot-1 body into 18 points (9-of-10 shooting) and 11 rebounds on Christmas Day.
Having Kevon Looney, Jordan Bell and Jonas Jerebko -- all three built like forwards -- manning the middle is a problem.
Asked if size was an issue, Kevin Durant responded by saying “for sure,” noting the Warriors are “undermanned” in the paint. It has become more noticeable in the wake of Damian Jones sustaining a season-ending injury on Dec. 1.
“Loon is playing his tail off as an undersize center against bigs that are a couple inches taller than him and probably just as strong, or stronger,” Durant said. “He’s got his work cut out for him, as well as Draymond (Green).
“It’s on us to help out a little more on the rebounding, but teams are spreading us out with the 3-point line around just one big. So we’ve got to pick and choose our spots when we want to go in there and help in the paint and when we could contest 3s, because both of those things are beating us right now.”
Help is on the way, once the curtain comes up and Cousins is on an NBA court.