Pacific Notes: Warriors’ Lineup, Kerr, Bridges, Barnes

The Warriors dropped a little further in the Western Conference playoff race on Saturday, but coach Steve Kerr might have a lineup that’s capable of saving the season, writes Anthony Slater of The Athletic. Slater notes that Draymond Green has been outstanding since returning from his suspension and is no longer on a minutes restriction. He logged 46 minutes in last night’s double-overtime game, and the team was plus-31 when he was on the court and minus-32 without him.

Green has taken over as the starting center, with Jonathan Kuminga and Andrew Wiggins as the forwards. The Kuminga-Wiggins tandem was terrible earlier in the season, but Green’s defensive presence and ball-handling skills are making the combination work. Slater notes that the three of them are plus-41 in their minutes together since Green’s return.

“We’re trying to maximize the number of possessions that those guys play together,” Kerr said. “We’re in a position now with Wiggs playing at a high level and JK having come around, Klay (Thompson), (Stephen Curry), Draymond back after the suspension. We’re in a position where we can put those guys together and it’s probably our best five.”

Their success together likely minimizes any chance that Wiggins or Kuminga will be traded before the February 8 deadline.

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Kerr found a quasi-diplomatic way to express his displeasure with the officiating after the Warriors fell to the Lakers Saturday night, Slater adds. “My Mom is here and I want to be on my best behavior,” Kerr said. “So I’m not going to comment on the 43 free throws to our 16. I’m not going to comment on Steph shooting three free throws in 43 minutes.” Raptors head coach Darko Rajakovic was fined $25K for complaining about the free-throw discrepancy in a loss to L.A. earlier this month.
  • Amid rumors that the Suns are confident about their chances of acquiring Miles Bridges from the Hornets, Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports argues against the move, saying the organization shouldn’t be considering someone with Bridges’ history of domestic violence. Bourguet also speculates that Phoenix hasn’t moved on Bridges already because it fears a backlash from fans.
  • With Kings forward Harrison Barnes frequently mentioned in trade speculation, James Ham of Kings Beat (subscription required) looks at how Barnes’ recent scoring outbursts might affect his future with the team.
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