BOSTON – A common question discussed here: Why didn’t the Warriors use starting center Kevon Looney more in Game 3 of the NBA Finals? He played just 17 minutes, sitting the entire fourth quarter when the Celtics played with size to pull away.
Well, Golden State coach Steve Kerr is going the other direction.
Forward Otto Porter will start over Looney in Game 4 tonight.
The Stephen Curry–Klay Thompson–Andrew Wiggins-Otto Porter-Draymond Green lineup has been the Warriors’ best in the Finals among units to play in all three games with 143.5/119.0/+24.4 offensive/defensive/net ratings. That’s in just 13 minutes, but the lineup has also fared well in the larger sample of the playoffs (140.0/119.8/+20.2 in 45 minutes across 10 games). Those five didn’t play together in the regular season, though at least the relatively small postseason sample reveals what’d be expected: blistering offensively, questionable (kindly) defensively.
For this to work, Green must defend better. His rim protection has been essential in making Golden State’s small-ball lineups elite over the years. He has been lacking in this series. Now without Looney, Green has no crutch in the paint. So much is riding on Green.