If any member of the Warriors wants even the slightest chance of increasing his postseason minutes, there are two opportunities and the first comes Tuesday night in New Orleans.
That’s where the Warriors, having affirmed their No. 1 seed in the Western Conference, face the Pelicans, who were eliminated from the playoff race three weeks ago.
Coverage begins at 4 o’clock with Warriors Pregame, with tipoff from Smoothie King Center scheduled for 5:10.
With the starters expected to play limited minutes at most, the Warriors (56-24) will rely heavily on their reserves. With Kevin Durant given the night off, Alfonzo McKinnie likely will start at small forward. Quinn Cook, Jonas Jerebko and Jordan Bell also will get their chances.
The Warriors, who didn’t bother to have a morning shootaround, are mostly concerned with staying healthy as they await their first-round playoff opponent.
For the Pelicans (33-48), whose season was derailed by controversies related to Anthony Davis’ desire to be traded, this is the final game of the season.
F Alfonzo McKinnie
F Draymond Green
C DeMarcus Cousins
G Jacob Evans III
G Steph Curry
F Kenrich Williams
F Christian Wood
C Jahlil Okafor
G Ian Clark
G Elfrid Payton
Warriors: SG Klay Thompson (right knee soreness), C Andrew Bogut (rest), F Kevin Durant (flu), G Andre Iguodala (L toe soreness) and C Damian Jones (L pectoral surgery) are listed as out.
Pelicans: F Anthony Davis (back spasms) is out. F/G Trevon Bluiett (R thumb surgery), G Jrue Holiday (core muscle strain), G Frank Jackson (concussion), F Stanley Johnson (L ankle contusion), F Darius Miller (L adductor strain) and G/F E’Twaun Moore (L quad contusion) are listed as out.
Warriors: The key starters are not expected to play more than about 25 minutes. The goals for the four stars are to avoid injury. Cousins, making his first appearance against his former team, has to shake his recent tendency to commit fouls. The coaching staff will be monitoring several areas. Can McKinnie and Jerebko continue their solid rebounding while occasionally draining 3-pointers? Can Cook continue his hot shooting? Can Bell offset occasional mental lapses – if not shed them altogether – with consistent effort and focus?
Pelicans: With Davis out, Christian Wood will absorb most of the minutes at power forward.
Though C/PF Julius Randle is not on the injury list, he also has been in and out of the lineup based on the whims of the franchise. He was listed as DNP-CD on Sunday in Sacramento. Clark, a former Warrior, played 36 minutes in the win over the Kings, scoring a game-high 31 points and shooting 7-of-15 from beyond the arc.
Officials: Josh Tiven, Curtis Blair, CJ Washington