NBA Gameday: Expect fireworks as Warriors take on T'Wolves

NBA Gameday: Expect fireworks as Warriors take on T'Wolves

(UPDATE: 5:50pm PT on Saturday): Warriors head coach Steve Kerr ruled forward Draymond Green and guard Ian Clark out for Saturday night's game against Minnesota. Kevon Looney will start in place of Green.


OAKLAND – When the Warriors return home Saturday to complete a back-to-back set, they’ll do it under a cloud of uncertainty.

They don’t know for sure if All-Star forward Draymond Green or reserve guard Ian Clark will be available when they pursue their 11th consecutive win, facing the Minnesota Timberwolves at Oracle Arena.

Green indicated late Friday night that he intends to play despite a gimpy left ankle, while Clark is coping with a bruised throat.

The Warriors (14-2) are coming off a 109-85 victory over the Lakers on Friday in Los Angeles, while the Timberwolves (5-10) are coming to Oakland after taking a 98-85 win over the Suns in Phoenix.


Warriors by 14


Kevin Durant and Green vs. Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins. This is why Green’s status is so significant. Though Towns is a 7-foot center, he’ll see less of Warriors center Zaza Pachulia than he would of Green and Durant, as well as some JaVale McGee. Warriors forwards, no matter who they are, will share assignments on Towns and Wiggins, both of whom are terrific athletes and fabulous scorers.


Warriors: F Draymond Green (L ankle contusion) and G Ian Clark (throat/neck soreness) were ruled out by Steve Kerr roughly 90 minutes before tip-off. C Damian Jones is on assignment with the D-League Santa Cruz Warriors.

Timberwolves: C Nikola Pekovic (R ankle pain) is listed as out.


The Warriors won two of three against Minnesota last season and have won 20 of the last 24 overall.


The backup plan. If Green can’t go, Warriors coach Steve Kerr will have to scan his bench for alternatives. The result could be more minutes for bigs Kevon Looney, James Michael McAdoo and McGee as well as small forward Andre Iguodala. In any case, the defensive assignments (Towns and Wiggins) will be challenging for all.

The fireworks show. While Minnesota is a team of athletic high flyers, the defense-oriented reputation of coach Tom Thibodeau is taking a beating. The T'Wolves are allowing opponents to shoot 46.4 percent; only the Lakers and Nets have been worse. The Warriors’ 50.3-percent shooting is by far the best in the league.

The shooting guards. Klay Thompson is having his most inconsistent defensive season since he was a rookie. He’ll need to pick it up against Zach LaVine, one of the greatest athletes in the NBA who has become a solid scorer. Given Klay’s strong shooting of late, this has the potential for plenty of offense.

Kevon Looney would 'love to stay' with Warriors, hopes it works out

Kevon Looney would 'love to stay' with Warriors, hopes it works out

LOS ANGELES -- Aware that Steve Kerr one day earlier urged the Warriors to offer him a long-term contract, Kevon Looney paused and broke into a broad grin at the mention of it Saturday.

“Yeah, I heard what he said,” Looney said. “It’s good to have that kind of support from the coach. I hope it works out.”

Kerr made it clear Friday that he was glad Looney did not leave upon becoming a free agent last summer, adding he believes the 23-year-old center/forward had done enough to earn a long-term deal -- and that he hopes it’s with the Warriors.

So does Looney, who has become a staple of the team’s playing rotation.

“I’d love to stay here,” he said. “I like being on this team. I want to be there when Chase Center opens later this year.”

Looney is earning $1.57 million this season. The valuable backup becomes an unrestricted free agent in July, the second consecutive summer he will hit the market.

[RELATED: Why Iguodala hopes Looney leaves]

This time, however, the Warriors have Bird rights on Looney, giving them considerable financial flexibility to pursue a new contract.

“For two years now, he has been a rock for us,” Kerr said Saturday morning. “So when I mentioned that [Friday], yeah, I really hope that’s here. I want him to be here for a long time. I think everybody in this locker room wants Loon to be rewarded for his effort.”

Looney set career highs in games played (80), minutes (18.5 per game), points (6.3 points per game) and rebounds (5.2 per game), among other categories, during the 2018-19 regular season. He has averaged 11.7 points in the Warriors' three playoff games thus far.

Steve Kerr believes Andre Iguodala can play as long as he wants, but will he?

Steve Kerr believes Andre Iguodala can play as long as he wants, but will he?

LOS ANGELES -- Andre Iguodala has one more year left on his contract, but Warriors coach Steve Kerr believes the 16-year NBA veteran isn't close to being done.

"I think he can play beyond this contract if he really wants," Kerr said after practice Saturday morning. "He may not want to -- he may just go to the golf course and call it a career -- but he can keep playing if he wants."

Despite his NBA mileage, Iguodala, 34, continues to be a key contributor, averaging 10.7 points, 4.7 assists and 4.0 rebounds in the postseason, making good on the three-year, $48 million deal he signed with the Warriors in 2017.

"Not a lot of players who stay relevant deep into their careers, almost all of them have high basketball IQs," Kerr said. "He still has his athleticism. It takes him longer to warm up and longer to cool down, but it's still there."

In Game 3 of the first-round series against the Clippers, Iguodala finished with 15 points, three assists and two rebounds, helping the Warriors take a 2-1 series advantage, showing athleticism not normally seen from a player his age. 

"Some of those dunks the other night, plays he was making in the paint," Kerr said. "The guy is a remarkable athlete, and the combination of his athleticism, his work ethic and his brain is going to allow him to play." 

However, Iguodala might be out of the league sooner than his coach thinks. Last November, he told NBC Sports Bay Area's Monte Poole that his NBA days could be numbered. 

“I’m going to be done soon,” he said. “I could probably play a legit five more years, but I’ll probably max out at three more after this year -- maybe three more.

[RELATED: Kerr jokes about trading spots with Iguodala]

“But if I’m not here, that will weigh heavily on what I will do. I possibly have another year here -- if we win. That’s it. I know that. I’m fine with it.”

Only Iguodala knows how long he can play, but however long he wants to stay with the Warriors, it seems his coach will welcome with open arms.