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Warriors coach Steve Kerr says he may miss the rest of the postseason

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UPDATE 3:24 PM PST: Steve Kerr held an impromptu press conference on Sunday to discuss his illness. Speaking to reporters, Kerr said it is possible he would not be able to return to the sidelines to coach the team.

This comes despite news early on Sunday that Kerr was feeling better, and even good enough to watch film with coaches following their Game 3 win over the Portland Trail Blazers, 119-113.

Kerr is apparently still suffering symptoms related to spine issues he’s had in the past. Kerr was out for part of last season as a spinal fluid leak gave him terrible illness, including headaches and nausea.

Former Lakers and Cavaliers coach Mike Brown coached in Kerr’s absence on Saturday.

ORIGINAL STORY:
Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr missed games last year due to a back injury that gave him chronic pain. Kerr also missed Saturday’s Game 3 win over the Portland Trail Blazers due to an unspecified illness, and reports out of Oakland are that Kerr will not return to coach the rest of the first round series.

What Kerr is battling is still unknown, apparently even to the Warriors. According to a report from the Mercury News, Kerr is having trouble walking and has been in excruciating pain.

Via MercuryNews.com:

Vague descriptions like “illness” and “not feeling well,” are usually a sign something is wrong. In this case, according to sources, it is.

At the worst of this current illness, Kerr was in excruciating pain, according to the sources, and he could barely walk. It was scary because it wasn’t a feeling he’s had before.

The worst part, the Warriors don’t yet know what is going. They had to say “illness” because there are no answers yet.

Kerr hasn’t felt well all series, according to people around him, and recently it become unbearable. It is unknown if these issues are even related to his past well-known health problems.

No matter your loyalty, I think we’re all hoping for Kerr to get an answer and feel better soon. If you’ve ever dealt with chronic pain it can be something that not only debilitates your body but grates at your emotional state, too.

Meanwhile, Kerr’s absence is a huge question for the Warriors moving forward. Last season it was Luke Walton who helmed the squad so well it earned him the head coaching position for the Los Angeles Lakers. But this injury comes late in the game for Golden State, and while they may be able to cut through the first rounds of the playoffs without Kerr, there’s no doubt they would rather have him on the bench for later rounds.

In Kerr’s absence, assistant coach Mike Brown took the helm for the Warriors against Portland in Game 3. The Blazers blew a huge lead they held most of the game as Golden State took a 3-0 series lead, 119-113.

Warriors take 3-0 series lead over Blazers with 119-113 win

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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Stephen Curry scored 34 points, Klay Thompson added 24 and the short-handed Golden State Warriors overcame a slow start to take a 3-0 lead in their playoff series against the Portland Trail Blazers with a 119-113 victory on Saturday night.

The Blazers led by as many as 17 points in the first half, but couldn’t hold off the Warriors, who can clinch the series with a win Monday night in Game 4 at the Moda Center.

Golden State was without Kevin Durant, who was sitting for a second straight game cause of a left calf strain, and coach Steve Kerr stayed back at the team hotel because of illness.

The Warriors took a 108-100 lead after Andre Iguodala‘s dunk with 4:05 to go.

Noah Vonleh‘s dunk got Portland within four at 110-106 with 1:29 left, but Curry answered with a 3-pointer that all but sealed it, sending fans streaming for the exits.

CJ McCollum led the Blazers with 32 points, while Damian Lillard added 31.

Portland’s Jusuf Nurkic to play, start vs. Golden State in Game 3

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In 20 games after the Trail Blazers traded for him, Jusuf Nurkic averaged 15.2 points 10.4 rebounds, 3.2 assists, and 2 blocks per game. Portland was 9.7 points per 100 possessions better with him on the court and went 14-6, a surge that helped get them into the playoffs. Then a leg fracture had him sidelined for the end of the season and the start of the playoffs.

Until Saturday.

He will play limited minutes, but the Blazers will take it.

Portland is down 0-2 to the Warriors but are coming home to take on a Golden State team that will be without Kevin Durant again (strained calf) and coach Steve Kerr (illness).

Nurkic gives Portland some hope, he certainly helps their defense. We’ll see if that’s enough.

Kevin Durant to sit Game 3 for Warriors, Steve Kerr also out with illness Saturday night

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In the grand scheme of this series, these things do change the trajectory of this series. But they could make Saturday night a little more interesting.

First, the Warriors will again be without Kevin Durant for a game this series, he will again sit out with a strained calf, a story broken by Marc Stein of ESPN.

Durant sat out Game 2 and the Warriors still won in a landslide. They are comfortable in this position, having won 12 in a row before the end of the season with Durant sidelined.

The Warriors also will be without their coach for Game 3 in Portland Saturday night, the team announced a few hours before tipoff.

The Warriors are up 2-0 in this series and know what they have to do to win, whether or not Durant plays, and whether Brown or Kerr or Luke Walton were brought back to coach the team. The Warriors have distinct matchup advantages in terms of size — plus they play much better team defense — and none of that changes with Brown calling the shots.

One other will have a more significant impact on the game, and we don’t have the answer to it yet.

That is whether Jusuf Nurkic will play for Portland. Their injured center went through two days of non-contact drills at practice and was going to test his leg pregame before a decision is made. He balances out their roster on both ends of the floor and helps with defense in the paint.

Allen Crabbe knows it’s time for him, Blazers’ bench to step up against Warriors

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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — It’s clear to Allen Crabbe – and just about everyone else who’s watching – that Portland’s bench needs to do more against the Warriors.

And Crabbe is pointing to himself as someone who needs to step up.

The Trail Blazers’ reserves had a combined 35 points Wednesday night when starters Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum struggled with only 23 points between the two of them, and Golden State won 110-81. The bench sparked a rally for a time in the second quarter but couldn’t match the depth of the Warriors at the end, finishing 13 of 32 from the field and 4 of 18 from 3-point range.

That’s not going to be enough to beat Golden State, which got 50 from its bench. Still, it was an improvement over Game 1, when Portland’s backups had a combined nine points in a 121-109 Warriors win.

Crabbe has been especially frustrated, with just three points in the opening game of the series and six in the second.

“Definitely not playing the way that I wanted to, not really contributing the way I wanted to offensively,” the 6-foot-6 wing said. “So it is kind of frustrating. But that’s the sweet thing about it. It’s a seven-game and we’ve still got more games to play, so I’ve still got time to pick it up.”

Now the series moves to Portland for Game 3 on Saturday, giving the Blazers a chance to play catch-up at home. Reserve play will be vitally important for the Blazers, especially if Lillard and McCollum are again held back by the Warriors.

Crabbe similarly got off to a slow start in last year’s first-round playoff series against the Los Angeles Clippers but improved and scored 20 points in Game 5 against Golden State in the second round. Overall, he averaged 9.5 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 11 playoff games last year.

“As a shooter on this team, as somebody who can score off the bench, that’s what I’ve got to do. I’ve got to just keep shooting the ball and wait until it starts falling for me,” he said Friday at the Blazers’ practice facility. “It will pick up from there.”

Crabbe averaged 10.7 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.2 assists overall this season after signing a four-year contract worth $75 million with the Blazers last summer. He had a season-high 30 points in an overtime victory over Detroit in January. He also broke out in a 105-98 victory over the Timberwolves in early March with 25 points, including a career-high eight 3-pointers – just one off the franchise record by a reserve.

In his last 10 games of the regular season, he averaged nearly 12 points but he missed Portland’s three final regular-season games with left foot soreness after an MRI revealed inflammation.

The Blazers’ bench was an issue during the regular season – they were ranked 26th in the league – but as Portland rebounded after the All-Star break, so did the reserves.

With Lillard and McCollum resting after Portland clinched a playoff berth, point guard Shabazz Napier scored 32 points in a 99-98 victory over the San Antonio Spurs, who played their starters.

Napier was the top player off the bench in Game 2 of the playoffs, with 10 points.

Coach Terry Stotts said it’s a whole-team effort if the Blazers want to make some noise. Last season, Portland came back after a 0-2 deficit to beat the Clippers in the opening round.

“I think it’s important that all the players on the court – that everybody’s ready to make contributions,” Stotts said. “We made it a competitive series last year because it was a team effort. And we need the same team effort.”

Crabbe, like many of the other players at the practice facility on the eve of Game 3, characterized it as a must-win.

“We know how important this game is,” he said. “We’re locked in and we’re gonna go out there, gotta give it our all.”

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