Warriors

On eve of Spurs series, Kerr back at practice: 'Great to see him out here'

On eve of Spurs series, Kerr back at practice: 'Great to see him out here'

OAKLAND -- Steve Kerr is back with the Warriors, if only behind the scenes.

After being away for games and practices during the Western Conference semifinals against Utah, Kerr rejoined his coaching staff for meetings Friday and also attended practice Saturday.

Though Kerr visited briefly with the team on May 3, it was the first time since April 21 that he was a vocal presence at practice, though he won’t be on the sideline when the Warriors face the Spurs Sunday afternoon in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals.

“More than anything else, it was great to see him out here, especially during practice, walking around and talking to guys,” acting head coach Mike Brown said. “You really enjoy that because he’s our leader. He’s the guy that laid the foundation and that has everybody heading in the right direction. So the more he can be around, it’s a better feel that all of us have. It was good to see him out here today.”

Though Kerr did not address the media, his presence on consecutive mornings indicates he may be experiencing some relief after undergoing a procedure last week at Duke University Spine Center in North Carolina.

Kerr announced on April 23, prior to Game 4 of the first-round series against Portland, that he was taking an indefinite leave of absence to address chronic pain that lingers after multiple back surgeries in the summer of 2015. He first consulted with specialists at Stanford Medical Center before flying to North Carolina.

Kerr arrived at the team facility at 8:30 on Friday morning for a meeting with the coaching staff. He arrived around 9:30 Saturday to assist in preparation for practice and also to address the team ahead of Game 1.

“He’s obviously been doing his homework in between his down times to help us get prepared for the series,” Stephen Curry said. “And you know he misses being around the day-to-day routine and the atmosphere and practice and locker rooms and the games. For him to just have the energy and ability to be here means a lot.”

If Kerr is feeling good enough to be at the team facility on back-to-back mornings, don’t be surprised if he somehow makes it to Oracle Arena on Sunday for Game 1 against his friend and mentor, San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich.

 

Warriors vs. Clippers Game 4 Watch Guide: Lineups, injuries, player usage

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Warriors vs. Clippers Game 4 Watch Guide: Lineups, injuries, player usage

LOS ANGELES – With a 2-1 series lead, the Warriors take the court Sunday afternoon for Game 4 against the Clippers in which one matchup likely will dictate the direction of the game and the series.

It’s not necessarily Kevin Durant vs. Patrick Beverley. Durant hit the jets on Beverley in Game 3, putting an end to the myth they were waging a battle.

[RELATED: How to watch Warriors vs. Clippers Game 4 live online]

The more impactful matchup is that between Andre Iguodala and Los Angeles scoring whiz Lou Williams – and it surely will be a topic during pregame coverage on NBC Sports Bay Area beginning with Warriors Outsiders at 11 a.m., followed by SNC Playoff Central. Tipoff of the ABC telecast begins at 12:30 p.m.

For the Clippers to have a reasonable chance to win, Williams must produce. When he scored in 36 points on 59-percent shooting in Game 2, LA won by four. When he scored 16 on 36-percent shooting in Game 3, the Warriors won by 27.

For roughly 80 percent of Williams’ playing time in Game 3, he was shadowed by Iguodala – the two were teammates for seven seasons in Philadelphia – who occasionally got help. With Iguodala containing Williams and Draymond Green’s stifling No. 2 scorer Danilo Gallinari, the Clippers were limited on offense.

A repeat of that practically ensures a Warriors victory, giving them a 3-1 series lead going into Game 4 Wednesday in Oakland.

PROJECTED LINEUPS

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

Clippers
F Patrick Beverley
F Danilo Gallinari
C Ivaca Zubac
G Landry Shamet
G Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

INJURY REPORT

Warriors: C DeMarcus Cousins (L quadriceps tear) and C Damian Jones (L pectoral surgery) are listed as out.

Clippers: No injuries listed.

ROTATION OUTLOOK

Warriors: Durant’s massive Game 3 performance raised the ceiling of the Warriors and could pay dividends for teammates Curry and Thompson in Game 4. More attention on Durant could mean space for the guards.

Kevon Looney and Iguodala have been very good off the bench, with Looney’s playing at high efficiency and Iguodala delivering at both ends. Looney’s success is a bit surprising in that he can’t match the athleticism of LA reserve big man Montrezl Harrell but still has become a problem for the Clippers.

The initial insertion of Bogut at starting center was something of an experiment, with the belief he could match up with Zubac and the hope he could counteract Harrell’s energy. It’s working, for the most part and is not likely to change.

Clippers: Harrell has been their most consistently effective player. He’s averaging 22 ppg (76.5 percent FG) and 6.3 rpg. The Williams-Harrell pick-and-roll had been an issue but was less effective in Game 3.

The Clippers have KD problem and there’s no easy answer for Clippers coach Doc Rivers. The strategy of using Beverley, who gives up at least eight inches in height, is designed to make Durant uncomfortable and limit his off-the-dribble action. Screens consistently freed Durant in Game 3, so it will be interesting to see what, if any, adjustment is made.

[RELATED: Kerr believes Iguodala can play as long as he wants, but will he?]

Gallinari’s 2-of-13 shooting in Game 3 puts him at 14-of-44 (31.8 percent). As the best scorer in LA’s starting lineup, it’s imperative he generate some offense. They’ll look to get more out of Shamet, their designated shooter. With Thompson and Curry doing most of the defensive work, Shamet is averaging 7.0 points (30 percent FG).

Officials: Tony Brothers (crew chief), Sean Wright, Brent Barnaky. Alternate: Tre Maddox.

Warriors vs. Clippers live stream: Watch NBA playoffs Game 4 live online

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Warriors vs. Clippers live stream: Watch NBA playoffs Game 4 live online

The Warriors were back to their dominant selves in Game 3 of the NBA playoffs, and on this Easter Sunday, they look to take a resounding 3-1 first-round series lead. 

After taking a 31-point lead in Game 2, the Warriors fell asleep before responding in Game 3. But for Game 4, the Dubs aren't worried about taking a step back.

Sunday will be an early start, scheduled for 12:30 p.m. PT. The Warriors are down two centers, with DeMarcus Cousins and Damian Jones ruled out.

Here's how you can watch Warriors-Clippers Game 4 on ABC, as well as NBC Sports Bay Area's "SNC: Warriors Playoff Central" pregame and postgame coverage live on the MyTeams by NBC Sports app.

When: 12:30 p.m. PT on Sunday, April 21, on ABC (pregame show starts on NBC Sports Bay Area Plus at 11:30 a.m.)
Pregame/postgame show live stream: MyTeams by NBC Sports app
Game live stream: WatchESPN