Warriors

Does Curry care that Kerr believes Durant is second best player in NBA?

Does Curry care that Kerr believes Durant is second best player in NBA?

According to Steve Kerr, LeBron James is the best player in the world, and Kevin Durant -- not Steph Curry -- is the second best.

On Wednesday, Kerr was a guest on The Lowe Post Podcast and was asked the following question:

"Do you think Steph cares about that? Steph is the two-time reigning MVP and I feel like everyone has sort of collectively forgotten how good he is. He was amazing in the Finals, he was really good in the Finals two years ago for which he gets no credit. When you say something like that publicly, are you worried that Steph is gonna be, 'Hey, what about me?' Or just doesn't matter to him?"

"If I worried about it, I wouldn't say it (laughter)," Kerr told Lowe. "That's the beauty of Steph -- he doesn't take that stuff personally. He understands it. Steph is one of the great players in the world. Two-time MVP, incredibly dominant in terms of the way he impacts the game.

"But you're talking about Kevin Durant at 6'11" protecting the rim, and scoring 35 points a game in the Finals, and getting to the line, doing whatever he wants to do."

Durant averaged 35.2 points, 8.4 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 1.6 blocks against the Cavs, and shot over 55 percent from the field, over 47 percent from deep and just under 93 percent from the free throw line.

It was truly one of the best Finals performances of all time and he was named Finals MVP.

Curry averaged 26.8 points, 8.0 rebounds, 9.4 assists and 2.2 steals, while shooting 44 percent from the field and just under 39 percent from 3-point territory.

"There's a different level of impact that's actually possible for Steph and for KD," Kerr explained. "Steph is my size, he's literally exactly my size. So what he's capable of is all based on his amazing skill.

"In the playoffs especially, when you're having to protect the rim and do so many different things, there has to be a level of physicality that factors in when you're having these kind of conversations about who is the best player in the league.

"And that's why LeBron is there, that's why Kawhi (Leonard) is there, that's why KD is there. That combination of skill and physical sheer force."

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders and a Web Producer at NBC Sports Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller

Warriors takeaways: What we learned in sloppy 129-118 loss vs. Pacers

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AP

Warriors takeaways: What we learned in sloppy 129-118 loss vs. Pacers

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Warriors entered Friday's matchup against the Indiana Pacers hoping to get out of a month-long rut. By the end of the night, they added another loss to their record, falling to the Pacers 129-118. 

The loss marks Golden State's third straight, and the team's 13th in its last 14 outings. 

Over a stretch in which the Warriors played five of their last seven games at home, the team won just once, keeping their place among the league's worst teams as they prepare for their longest road trip of the season. 

Here are the takeaways from another dismal performance: 

Bullied without Cauley-Stein

The reported trade of Willie Cauley-Stein gave Golden State much-needed financial flexibility against the hard cap. It also left the Warriors without anyone over seven-feet tall on the roster. By the end of the evening, the Pacers took advantage, outscoring the Dubs in the paint 56-28. 

Without Cauley-Stein, Warriors coach Steve Kerr opted to start Marquese Chriss at center. While Chriss finished with 13 points, he grabbed just three rebounds. His backup Omari Spellman didn't fare any better, grabbing just two boards. 

Friday's performance illustrates the current reality for Golden State's frontline. At the moment, Spellman and Chriss are the only available big men in the rotation. While serviceable, both players are routinely playing out of position. Rookie Alen Smailagic could get called up from the G League, but the rotation will still fail to mirror a formidable unit. 

[RELATED: How Dubs benefit from reported Cauley-Stein trade to Mavs]

Russell fills it up

With Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry in street clothes, the Warriors need a player to carry the offensive load. D'Angelo Russell gave a valiant effort Friday evening. 

In 36 minutes, he finished with 37 points, including nine 3-pointers, keeping the Warriors within range for much of the night. Russell did much of his damage in the third quarter, scoring 10 points, including two treys. During the stretch, Golden State cut Indiana's 19-point lead to five. 

Russell is capable of similar performances and they'll be needed as the season progresses. However, it remains to be seen if wins will follow. 

Turnovers galore

You can't put the ball in the basket if you're giving it to the other team. On Friday evening, the Warriors were givers, turning the ball over 20 times. 

The variety of giveaways was noteworthy. Russell was the main culprit, finishing with five turnovers, while Draymond Green committed four, including two possessions in which he threw the ball out of bounds altogether. Even as the Warriors toyed with a brief comeback, giveaways again led to their downfall. 

With four minutes left in the game, Alec Burks secured a rebound and threw an outlet pass to Green, only to overthrow the forward and negate a potential fast-break layup that would have cut the deficit to single digits. 

The Warriors won't have the talent edge on most nights, but simple mistakes are simply unacceptable.

Warriors vs. Pacers watch guide: Lineups, injury report, player usage

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AP

Warriors vs. Pacers watch guide: Lineups, injury report, player usage

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Warriors have had a hard time winning lately. With the Indiana Pacers in town, that quest doesn't get any easier.

Pregame coverage on NBC Sports Bay Area begins at 6:30 p.m., with tipoff from Chase Center scheduled for 7:40 p.m.

Friday's game comes hours after the Warriors reportedly traded away Willie Cauley-Stein to the Dallas Mavericks for 2020 second-round draft pick. Without Cauley-Stein, Golden State's roster currently has no player over seven feet tall to combat Indiana's frontline. 

Meanwhile, the Pacers have won six of their last seven games as coach Nate McMillan continues an impressive tenure in the Midwest. 

[RELATED: How to watch tonight's Warriors-Pacers game on MyTeams, TV]

The Warriors enter Friday's matchup having won two straight against Indiana dating back to last season. However, the current iteration of the roster has lost 12 of its last 13 games. 

PROJECTED LINEUPS

Warriors

G - Glenn Robinson III
F - Draymond Green
C - Marquese Chriss
G - Damion Lee
G - D'Angelo Russell

Pacers

F - T.J. Warren
F - Domantas Sabonis
C - Myles Turner
G - Jeremy Lamb
G - T.J. McConnell

INJURY REPORT 

Warriors: Stephen Curry (left-hand fracture), Kevon Looney (left abdominal soreness), Klay Thompson (left ACL rehabilitation), Ky Bowman (G League assignment), Jacob Evans (G League assignment), Alen Smailagic (G League assignment) and Kevon Looney (left abdominal soreness) are out.

Pacers: Malcolm Brogdon (concussion) and Victor Oladipo (right knee rehabilitation) are out. Goga Bitadze (illness) is questionable. 

ROTATION

Warriors: With Cauley-Stein reportedly traded, more minutes will be available for Marquese Chriss and Omari Spellman. Spellman has played well of late, averaging 11.1 points per game in his last 11 outings. 

[RELATED: How Dubs benefit from reported Cauley-Stein trade to Mavs]

D'Angelo Russell is averaging 26.0 points over his last 12 appearances. Meanwhile, Alec Burks has scored in double figures in 20 of his last 25 outings. Still, the Warriors have lost six of their last seven games at home, including a 129-96 los to the Utah Jazz on Wednesday night. 
 
Pacers: McMillan has done a fantastic job this season, guiding the Pacers to 29-16 record without guard Victor Oladipo. 

With Oladipo out, forwards TJ Warren and Domantas Sabonis have enjoyed career-years, leading the Pacers to the fifth-best record in the Eastern Conference. Center Myles Turner ranks sixth in the league in blocked shots (2.0 per game) a year after leading the NBA in that category. 

Officials: John Goble (#30), Bill Kennedy (#55), Ray Acosta (#54)