Warriors

Kerr offers insight into why Iguodala is starting in place of injured Durant

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AP

Kerr offers insight into why Iguodala is starting in place of injured Durant

OAKLAND -- Veteran forward Andre Iguodala will start in place of Kevin Durant Wednesday night when the Warriors face the Timberwolves at Oracle Arena.

Coach Steve Kerr made the announcement during his pregame news conference.

“Defensively, I like the matchup,” Kerr said. “I like Andre’s ability to give us tough defense against a really good wing combination that we’re facing. And it’s just gut instinct. Give him a start, change it up little bit.”

Durant will miss the game with a bruised left thigh.

Minnesota starts 6-foot-8 Andre Wiggins at small forward and 6-8 Jimmy Butler at shooting guard. Klay Thompson and Iguodala, the Warriors’ top wing defenders, will be assigned to Butler and Wiggins.

A finalist for Sixth Man of the Year last season, Iguodala is averaging 4.5 points, 3.6 rebounds and 3.4 assists over 26 minutes per game. His 8.5 assist-to-turnover ratio is the best in the NBA.

This is Iguodala’s first start of the season and only his second regular-season start since 2014. Normally the first player off the Warriors bench, Iguodala last started a regular-season game Jan. 2, 2016 against the Nuggets.

Durant’s injury is not serious, Kerr added, saying the 6-9 small forward would be on the court if this were a playoff game.

"We’re going to miss him, at both ends,” Kerr said.

“It makes perfect sense to give him tonight off. We’ve got a couple more nights before our next game. He should be fine, I would think, by then. Those quad bruises are painful and not something you really want to mess around with. So we’re going to be cautious about it and get it right.”

Warriors takeaways: What we learned from blowout loss to Rockets

Warriors takeaways: What we learned from blowout loss to Rockets

BOX SCORE

HOUSTON -- The effort was there, though execution and shooting mostly failed to materialize for the Warriors on Thursday night.

The result was a 107-86 loss to the Rockets at Toyota Center in Houston. The Warriors (12-4) have lost three of their last five, while the Rockets (7-7) reached .500 for the first time this season.

The Warriors shot 42.1 percent and committed 17 turnovers, off which Houston scored a whopping 29 points.

Here are three takeaways from the game:

Quantity trumps quality from deep

The Warriors have been adamant that they’re not going to increase their output of 3-point shots simply because most of the NBA is trending heavily in that direction. They want “quality” shots, no matter the distance.

That approach is a factor in the Warriors entering the game shooting an NBA-best 41.8 percent from beyond the arc but ranked 19th in attempts.

The Rockets, by contrast, lead the league in attempts from deep. They aim to shoot 3-balls by the dozen -- per quarter -- and that was of massive benefit in this game.

Houston was 16-of-47 from deep, while the Warriors were 4-of-18. They didn’t make their second triple until inside the final 20 seconds of the third quarter.

No matter the quality of the shots, it’s tough to overcome that 48-12 scoring disadvantage.

Lineup change has mixed results

Though Quinn Cook started at point guard in all three games since Stephen Curry was sidelined, Warriors coach Steve Kerr took a look at the Rockets and decided to make a change, ostensibly to improve his defense.

Enter Andre Iguodala, who made his first start of the season.

Iguodala’s length, along with that of Klay Thompson, probably is the best defensive backcourt the Warriors can offer, certainly is against a Houston team that has James Harden and Chris Paul at guard.

The backcourt, however, had its offensive challenges on this night. Though Iguodala has been shooting well of late, he attempted only four shots, making two.

The absence of Cook for much of the game was missed insofar the Warriors weren’t able to consistently stretch the floor.

The defense, however, was solid. James Harden and Chris Paul shot a combined 12-of-33 from the floor.

They needed more from Thompson

With Curry out, the Warriors will look for offensive punch from another source. One such source is Thompson, a remarkable shooter who on this night did not deliver at the needed rate and has fallen into a spell of futility.

Thompson had 8 points through the first three quarters and finished with 10 on 5-of-16 shooting over 30 minutes. He was 0-of-5 from beyond the arc.

Thompson is now 37-of-86 (43.0 percent) from the field and 10-of-33 (30.3) over the last four games.

He’ll keep shooting because it’s what he does best on that end the floor. But his scoring efficiency is missing when the Warriors are most desperate for it.

Until Thompson’s shots start dropping, scoring will continue to be a struggle for the Warriors.

Legends: Warriors reflect on how tough winning 2017-18 title was

Legends: Warriors reflect on how tough winning 2017-18 title was

PROGRAMMING NOTE: Legends: The 2017-18 Golden State Warriors premieres tonight on NBC Sports Bay Area following Warriors Postgame Live.

The Warriors may have swept the 2018 NBA Finals, but the journey to that moment wasn't easy.

On the road to winning back-to-back titles, the Warriors dealt with injuries to all four of their All-Stars. Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson all missed time at the end of the regular season.

They trailed the Rockets 3-2 in the Western Conference Finals and had to rally to win Game 7 in Houston just to advance to their fourth straight NBA Finals.

In NBC Sports Bay Area's new documentary, Legends: The 2017-18 Golden State Warriors, the players, coaches and management reflected on how difficult it was to win their third championship in four years.

Draymond Green

"One of the toughest things I've ever done in my life. The entire ride, it was tough. All the other championships were like 'Wow, I can breathe now, like, the weight is off my shoulders. We accomplished it.' This one didn't feel like that. It was like 'Thank god this is over.'"

Steve Kerr

"The bar was raise during that span. We raised the bar and I'm really proud of our guys for raising that bar, but it brings along a different set of challenges. And so, instead of being the Cinderella team that everybody was excited to see, we're now the team a lot of people were hoping would get knocked off."

Steph Curry

"It's a pretty good feeling knowing that you're the favorite coming into the season and you take care of your business."

Klay Thompson

"It just proves how hard it is to go back-to-back, it's so hard to win back-to-back championships. We were this close to not doing it. That's what makes you appreciate it even more."

Bob Myers

"Ultimately, it was a deep fulfillment to it, but I would say, personally, not as much unbridled joy."