Against Houston in the second round, Steve Kerr showed the ultimate sign of respect — he started the Hamptons’ Five lineup. Kerr prefers not to overuse his best five-man unit, saving it for when it is most needed, but out there for the opening tip against Houston was Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala, Kevin Durant, and Draymond Green. All through that series, Kerr kept his rotations tight. Houston clearly had the Warriors attention.
After a comfortable Game 1 win against Portland in the Western Conference Finals, Kerr felt a little differently.
“This series feels, it feels like it’s a series where we can play more people,” Kerr said after the game. “It’s a different matchup, and I think that what you saw tonight is what we’d like to get to every night if we can in terms of playing 10, 11 guys.”
Kerr sees that as a positive, that he’s able to get more guys in and get his key starters more rest after a series where they were regularly north of 40 minutes a night.
It also speaks to the level of fear Portland inspires in Golden State. Which is to say none.
This depth worked for Kerr because guys came in and played well. The Warriors got 36 points off the bench and every player was in the positive.
“[In the] second quarter, Jonas [Jerebko] came in, knocked down a couple shots,” Kerr said. “I thought Jordan Bell‘s minutes were good. They just came in and executed and defended. You know, the biggest thing is if we can buy some time for our starters to rest, and even extend the lead, then you know, that’s a huge deal for us.”
Portland will make adjustments and games will get closer this series, but the actions from Kerr in this game show how concerned the Warriors really are about the Blazers.