Warriors

Warriors vs. Hornets Watch Guide: Lineups, injury report and player usage

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Warriors vs. Hornets Watch Guide: Lineups, injury report and player usage

OAKLAND – The Warriors continue to state their primary regular-season goal is obtaining the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference, thereby earning home-court advantage throughout the first three rounds of the postseason.

The outcome of their game against the Charlotte Hornets at Oracle Arena on Sunday will provide a glimpse of just how much of an advantage there is.

Coverage on NBC Sports Bay Area begins at 4:30 p.m. with Warriors Pregame, followed by tipoff scheduled for 5:40 p.m.

[RELATED: How to watch Warriors vs. Hornets]

The Warriors are 3-3 at home in March and need a win over Charlotte to clinch their fifth consecutive Pacific Division title – and also avoid a losing home record over a full month for the first time in five seasons under coach Steve Kerr. As it is, their 26-11 record at Oracle is only the ninth-best home record in the NBA this season.

The Warriors (51-24) enter the game tied with Denver atop the Western Conference. The Nuggets are at home Sunday to face the reeling Washington Wizards.

Though the Hornets (35-40) have won four of their last five games, they still face an uphill battle for one of the eight berths in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Charlotte is 10th, 2.5 games behind eighth-place Miami but only 3.5 games behind sixth-place Detroit.

PROJECTED LINEUPS

Warriors

F – Kevin Durant
F – Draymond Green
C – DeMarcus Cousins
G – Klay Thompson
G – Stephen Curry

Hornets

F – Miles Bridges
F – Marvin Williams
C – Bismack Biyombo
G – Dwayne Bacon
G – Kemba Walker

INJURY REPORT

Warriors: C Damian Jones (L pectoral surgery) is listed as out.

Hornets: C Cody Zeller (L knee soreness) is listed as out.

ROTATION OUTLOOK

Warriors: Entering the game at full health, the Warriors will have their full rotation available, meaning five players (Jordan Bell, Andrew Bogut, Kevon Looney, Cousins and Green) are capable of filling minutes at center. Given the matchups, Bell may not see the floor.

With the team’s recent troubles on the glass (out rebounded in five of the last seven games, by 14 Thursday against the Timberwolves), expect that to be emphasized among big men.

The reserves need a bounce-back game after being outplayed by Minnesota’s backups on Friday. They were outscored 49-25, outrebounded 25-9.

Cousins’ streak of consecutive games with double-figures scoring is at 15.

Thompson needs six 3-pointers to move past Rashard Lewis (1,787) and into 16th place on the all-time list.

If Curry connects on at least five triples, it will mark the first time in his career he has done so in eight consecutive games.

Hornets: As usual, everything the Hornets do revolves around the dynamic skills of Walker, who has scored at least 30 points in 24 games this season and his 25.2 ppg average is 13th in the league.

The absence of Zeller is a big blow, as he poured in a season-high 28 points against the Warriors on Feb. 25 in Charlotte.

Though Biyombo has been starting for Zeller, Frank Kaminsky III has been getting more minutes. Out of the rotation for much of the season, Kaminsky is a more accomplished scorer than Biyombo, who has the edge on defense.

Sixth Man Jeremy Lamb is averaging 15.0 ppg and has seven double-doubles but has been slumping, shooting 28.8 percent (17-59) from the field over the last five games.

[RELATED: Draymond opens up on use of SoulCycle]

Charlotte’s 12.5 turnovers per game is second-lowest in the league.

The Hornets are 0-22 on the road this season when they enter the fourth quarter trailing.

Officials: Sean Wright, Courtney Kirkland, Derek Richardson.

Joe Lacob discusses how coronavirus could impact Warriors' spending

Joe Lacob discusses how coronavirus could impact Warriors' spending

Last season -- when discussing the possibility of the Warriors re-signing free-agents-to-be Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson -- owner Joe Lacob was crystal clear.

"We can do whatever we want (financially)."

That might not be the case anymore.

The Warriors -- like pretty much everybody else in the world -- are dealing with the financial ramifications of the coronavirus pandemic.

So will the NBA's indefinite suspension limit what the Warriors do with the checkbook in the offseason?

"We're looking at all of those questions and the possible answers. But I don't really have a good sense yet because I really have no idea how this is gonna shake out," Lacob told Tim Kawakami of The Athletic on Thursday morning. "We don't know what the salary cap is gonna be, we don't know what the luxury tax is gonna be.

"We don't really know what we can plan on at this point. We just have to look at a lot of different scenarios. That's what we're doing right now. It could make a huge difference, it might make no difference."

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At this point, Kawakami said: "Knowing you and your aggression -- I'm assuming it would take a lot for you to say, 'Well, let's back off this season.' Especially given Steph and Draymond and Klay. Is that your mindset still -- 'we're still gonna be going for it, that's who we are, that's the Warriors?"

"I would agree with that supposition on your end just now that we realize those guys -- with their ages -- we're in a certain window of opportunity," Lacob acknowledged. "And we would certainly like to take advantage. And that was our plan -- and still until further notice -- is our plan for next year and the next few years.

"However, a lot of things could change. And we're gonna have to adjust -- just like every other team -- to whatever the new situation is in the NBA. It's so up in the air right now. I just don't know."

One of the reasons the Warriors traded Willie Cauley-Stein, Alec Burks, Glenn Robinson III, D'Angelo Russell, Omari Spellman and Jacob Evans before the deadline was to duck below the luxury tax line. By doing so, they won't face the repeater tax this season or in 2020-21.

In theory, that would minimize the financial pain of factoring in Draymond Green's contract extension, the salary for a top-five draft pick, using the taxpayer mid-level exception and acquiring a veteran by using at least part of the $17.2 million traded player exception.

[RELATED: Lacob acknowledges Warriors could trade down in NBA draft]

As Lacob said, the franchise intends to stick to its plan of pulling the financial levers required to get back to championship contention.

Stay tuned.

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Joe Lacob acknowledges Warriors could trade down in 2020 NBA Draft

Joe Lacob acknowledges Warriors could trade down in 2020 NBA Draft

We don't know when the 2020 NBA Draft will take place.

We do know that the Warriors will have a very high pick, plus two more selections in the second round.

Golden State owner Joe Lacob was a guest on "The TK Show" podcast with Tim Kawakami of The Athletic, and talked about the importance of the draft.

"We've never spent more time -- as a group -- on the draft as we have this year," Lacob said. "Obviously, we have a lot more time to do it. I have watched video probably of all the top players. I've watched interviews, I've watched high school highlights, AAU highlights.

"We had a Zoom call the other day where I think we had 17 people on that call talking about the draft and how we're approaching it and what the next steps are. We've got no excuse in terms of not having enough time.

"Of course the bad part about all of this is we're not able to interview or get people to come in for workouts or watch the NCAA Tournament. It's gonna be interesting. I think there's enough information out there -- and enough work being put in on our side -- that we'll be able to make a good decision."

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There are many variables in play when it comes to making said decision.

"We're gonna look at all scenarios," Lacob explained. "Honestly. I'm not gonna hide this -- we're gonna look at drafting someone at our position. Maybe we trade down -- that's a possiblity. I'm not saying it's preferred or not preferred. I'm just saying it's something we have to look at it. 

"We're gonna look at all options."

[RELATED: One thing Kerr, Dubs always looking for when building roster]

The reality is that the Warriors won't be able to narrow things down until the NBA Draft Lottery is held and they know their position.

If the lottery is unkind and they fall to No. 5 or even lower, one would assume that eliminates the possibility of trading down.

Again, we will know more once those ping-pong balls are put to work.

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