(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
MATCHUPS TO WATCH
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.
THREE THINGS TO WATCH
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.