The Warriors tried out a new starting and closing lineup on Thursday in a Finals rematch again Boston, subbing in Jordan Poole for Kevon Looney. The five-man unit of Poole, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and Andrew Wiggins was less stout defensively, but was more dynamic on offense — it’s a look head coach Steve Kerr suggested he plans to stick with for now, per Anthony Slater of The Athletic.
“Just wanted to open up the floor,” Kerr said. “Give us a little different look. Maybe get a spark. We’re past the halfway point and we’re .500. Like, let’s try something different. … It’s a lineup we know can be explosive. Against Boston, in particular, you have to open up the floor. I think I’ll keep doing it.”
Following Thursday’s loss, the defending champions are now 22-23, a game below .500. It makes sense that Kerr would be looking to generate a spark with a lineup shake-up, and his players are on board with giving the new starting group a shot.
“There’s strength and weaknesses to it,” Curry said after Thursday’s game. “But we got great shots with it tonight. Came out with a lot of juice. We gotta be better at rebounding. If we give up size, we gotta be more physical, prepared to rebound. But it gives us great space and gets us great shots, and you gotta like the way we can play fast and put pressure on defenses.”
Here’s more from around the Pacific:
- In a Substack conversation with Marc Stein, Curry expressed interest in joining Kerr and Team USA in Paris for the 2024 Olympics and discussed how much longer he might want to play in the NBA. As the Warriors star explained, his hope when he entered the league was to match the 16 seasons his father Dell Curry played, but once he gets beyond that figure, he has no specific target in mind. “I don’t have any (longevity) goals other than maintaining the feeling that I have right now in my body and the night-in, night-out expectation of how I play and having that energy and joy and being able to recover from game to game,” Stephen Curry said.
- With Domantas Sabonis out on Wednesday due to a non-COVID illness, Kings center Richaun Holmes got his first start since last February and played a season-high 31 minutes, registering 16 points (on 7-of-7 shooting) and 11 rebounds. As Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee outlines, it was a major achievement for a player who has gone through both professional and personal hardships in the last year. “It’s a testament to his character, his professionalism and his ability to play the game at a high level,” head coach Mike Brown said of Holmes. Sabonis is listed as questionable to play on Friday vs. Oklahoma City.
- Cameron Johnson‘s return to action on Thursday – which saw him score 19 points in 22 minutes – provided a huge lift for a Suns team that has been mired in a lengthy slump, perhaps giving them a glimpse of the light at the end of the tunnel, writes Doug Haller of The Arizona Republic. Head coach Monty Williams said Johnson “brought a level of juice to the arena that we haven’t felt in a while,” while Deandre Ayton said his teammate “definitely gave us a breath of fresh air.”