OAKLAND — Steve Kerr casually walked into the coach’s pregame press conference before Game 2 like nothing had changed.
“Hi everybody. Any questions or not?” he asked.
But things have changed — after missing 11 games due to complications from his long-standing back issues, Kerr will put on a suit and will coach the Warriors in Game 2 of the NBA Finals Sunday night.
“I’m coaching tonight,” Kerr said. “The intention is to coach tonight and the rest of the series. I’m feeling better. I’m feeling more like I did at the end of the regular season.”
Kerr had been around the team through much of the playoffs and in recent days had helped run practices as well as having been part of film and strategy sessions. He said he had an “idea” about this Saturday but wanted to wait to see how he felt Sunday before deciding.
“The intention is (to coach) tonight and the rest of the series, and that’s the whole good idea,” Kerr said. “I wouldn’t be in this if I was thinking just one game.”
The Warriors are a perfect 13-0 in the postseason so far and 11-0 without him. Kerr praised Mike Brown, who stepped in as the interim coach, and said that apparently his absence was not a distraction despite the players constantly being asked about it.
“And what’s our record now without me? Like 812-6 and something?” Kerr joked, then was told it’s 51-4 over the past two seasons. “These guys are not easily distracted.”
This could provide an emotional boost for the Warriors players heading into Game 2.
Marcus Morris fouled Larry Nance Jr. in Celtics-Cavaliers Game 5 tonight. Nance didn’t like that, got up and shoved Morris. Morris and Terry Rozier didn’t like that, and both shoved Morris.
All three received a technical foul, which seems fair.
Andre Iguodala missed the Warriors’ Game 4 loss to the Rockets with a leg injury.
It’s not certain he – or Klay Thompson, who played through a knee injury suffered in Game 4 – will be available for Game 5 tomorrow.
NBC Sports Bay Area:
Klay Thompson, who suffered a left knee strain during the first half of Game 4, is listed as questionable, the team announced Wednesday afternoon.
Iguodala missed Game 4 with a left lateral leg contusion and is questionable for Game 5.
Anthony Slater of The Athletic:
Warriors coach Steve Kerr on Iguodala:
He’s feeling a little better today, and he’s out on the floor. Not doing a whole lot, but making progress.
Kerr on Thompson:
Klay is moving around really well. I think Klay is going to be fine.
That sounds better than “questionable” for Thompson.
The Warriors need one, maybe both, of those two on the court. Golden State’s depth, especially on the wing, is looking shaky.
In Game 4, Golden State outscored Houston by 20 in the 31 minutes Stephen Curry, Thompson, Kevin Durant and Draymond Green played together. In the in the 17 minutes they played without even one of those stars, the Warriors got outscored by 23. Nick Young, who received more playing time when Thompson left the court area due to his injury, looked particularly overwhelmed.
James Harden‘s defense is a huge bellwether in this series. The Warriors spend a lot of focus trying to exploit him, and if that fails, the shot clock gets low before they move into another action. If Thompson is even just slowed, that’d make it easier for Harden to keep up.
Bucks guard Sterling Brown was tased and arrested – but not charged – over a parking violation in January.
As promised, Milwaukee released video of the incident.
Ashley Luthern of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
The abuse and intimidation that Sterling experienced at the hands of Milwaukee Police was shameful and inexcusable. Sterling has our full support as he shares his story and takes action to provide accountability.
Unfortunately, this isn’t an isolated case. It shouldn’t require an incident involving a professional athlete to draw attention to the fact that vulnerable people in our communities have experienced similar, and even worse, treatment.
We are grateful for the service of many good police officers that courageously protect us, our fans and our city, but racial biases and abuses of power must not be ignored.
There needs to be more accountability.
The Milwaukee Police Department and local officials have acknowledged the challenges they are working to address, and we urge them to enact higher standards and more direct accountability. We all want to be able to trust each and every officer serving to protect us.
Incidents like this remind us of the injustices that persist. As an organization, we will support Sterling and build on our work with local leaders and organizations to foster safe neighborhoods and better our community.
The video isn’t jarring due to its unfortunate familiarity – particularly compared to the many videos we’ve seen of police brutality around the nation. The scene is far too familiar. Police escalate a situation and enact violence upon someone they encounter, disproportionately minorities.
The most shocking element of this incident is the response – how the police chief acknowledges his offers acted inappropriately and how STRONGLY the Bucks stand behind Brown. That is one sharply worded statement from the team.
Hopefully, this sparks change.
During the second round of the NBA playoffs, Heat guard Goran Dragic slighted 76ers rookie Ben Simmons. That came after Philadelphia eliminated Miami in the first round.
The procession of disses continues with 76ers center Joel Embiid mocking Celtics center Aron Baynes during Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals Monday. Boston, of course, eliminated Philadelphia in the previous round.
Baynes has gotten dunked on a lot this year – including by Embiid in the playoffs. The two also got into it during their second-round series.
But Baynes has the big edge: He’s still playing.
Though Embiid would like to be in the playoffs, that’s not his only goal. He also wants attention. So, mission accomplished, I guess.