Steve Kerr benched the No. 2 overall pick for disciplinary reasons after he missed an NBA-mandated COVID-19 test over the All-Star break. It forced the Warriors to audible with their second unit and it didn’t end well, resulting in a 31-17 second quarter that drew the ire of Warriors Twitter.
Kerr said Wiseman would have been on the floor to start the second quarter.
“Missing the practice last night changed the equation,” Kerr told reporters in his postgame video conference.
The Clippers’ physical frontcourt duo of Marcus Morris Sr. and Ivica Zubac helped Los Angeles turn a two-point lead into a 13-point advantage about halfway through the period, matching up well against Golden State’s undersized duo of Eric Paschall and Juan Toscano-Anderson.
Young guards Jordan Poole and Nico Mannion also got some run in place of Brad Wanamaker and Damion Lee, but their time on the floor was marked by a combined three fouls, four missed 3-pointers and two turnovers before Poole finally knocked down a 3.
“They really struggled in the second quarter,” Kerr said. “They got into trouble with a lot of fouls right away. I think they had four fouls in the first two minutes. The Clippers zone hurt us, we didn’t get good looks against the zone.”
The Warriors never recovered and trailed by 39 at one point in the third quarter.
“There’s some young guys in that group so it’s to be expected,” Kerr said. “There’s going to be some struggles, but I like the potential, I like the energy that they showed. They bounced back and played much better in the fourth quarter.”
Wiseman played the entire final period and scored 14 points while grabbing seven rebounds, but it was already garbage time. Golden State outscored Los Angeles 36-26 in the fourth.
Kerr had to know there would be consequences if he benched Wiseman, but the rookie can now look to the second quarter as a teaching point on his team-wide impact.