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3 takeaways from Warriors’ fifth straight loss

© Andrew Wevers | 2022 Nov 4

The Warriors have as many five-game losing streaks this season as they did during last year’s championship campaign, and it’s not even Thanksgiving yet. 

Despite resting four of five starters, the Warriors competed and hung tight with New Orleans. But the Pelicans eventually closed the Fightin’ Jordan Pooles out. 

The Warriors (3-7) finished their 0-5 road trip with a 114-105 loss in New Orleans.

Here are three takeaways from Golden State’s undermanned loss.

How the Warriors will handle back-to-backs 

This game is instructive in terms of how Steve Kerr plans on approaching back-to-backs: with extreme caution. 

Kerr said that Klay Thompson may not play a single back-to-back all season. He’ll similarly proceed carefully with Draymond Green, who missed half of last season with a back injury. 

So the Warriors sat Thompson, Green, Stephen Curry and Andrew Wiggins.

The product on the court is something Kerr is wary of. Fans pay big money to see the stars — Steph and Klay and Draymond. But the Warriors are in the business of titles, and keeping their best players healthy for the long run has become the standard operating procedure. 

“Ultimately, the players’ health is the no. 1 factor in our team success and even in our fans’ satisfaction in the long run,” Kerr said. “Because we want to keep guys healthy and going throughout the season. Ideally, it’s a 65-game season and everybody plays every night. But good luck getting that passed. Maybe 70.” 

The NBA has worked to reduce back-to-backs and situations with three games in four nights, but an 82-game schedule isn’t cohesive to completely eradicating them. Golden State still has 13 back-to-backs remaining. 

That’s a whole lot of DNP-rest. 

JaMychal Green on the rotation bubble 

Kerr alluded to forthcoming changes after Golden State’s loss to Orlando. What that might mean exactly is to be determined, but may have been showcased by Friday’s exhibition. 

Not only did Anthony Lamb — the undrafted forward out of Vermont — start over the veteran, he played 36 minutes to Green’s nine. 

Green was the third Warrior off the bench, entering after Ty Jerome and James Wiseman. That’s after he was averaging 18 minutes per game, second behind only Jordan Poole among reserves. 

Lamb has a longer wingspan than Green. At this stage of Green’s career, Lamb is probably more athletic. He looks more comfortable putting the ball on the floor. 

Lamb (16 points on 6-for-9 shooting) made his first four attempts and played a strong two-way game. But Friday says more about Green than it does Lamb. 

After his first five-minute stint, Green didn’t return until 33.7 left in the third quarter. The nine-year vet was -11 in his limited playing time. 

GSW signed Green to be a solid presence off the bench on both ends. That type of player is difficult to evaluate because, by nature, they’re supposed to help on the margins. But perhaps Kerr and the Warriors have seen something in this young season that they don’t love. 

Kuminga finding his game 

Jonathan Kuminga has been out of Golden State’s rotation for just about the entire season so far. Given more of a role Friday, he showed glimpses of how he could provide value in the context of the normal rotation. 

Kuminga constantly attacked Zion Williamson on the perimeter. Although he’s an athletic freak, Williamson looked either painfully slow laterally or uninterested in guarding. Kuminga could blow by him just about every time.

The former No. 7 pick hit a corner 3 relentlessly drove to the rim and showed some touch. His talent has never been in question. 

Kuminga finished with 18 points on 12 shots, adding four boards, two assists and two steals.  

It can take years for some players to learn how to come off the bench and produce instantly. Kuminga might be a player that necessitates more of a runway to find his rhythm. But if he can discover ways to contribute regardless of situation — slashing, driving closeouts, attacking the boards, making quick decisions — he should have a role.

 

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