CLEVELAND — Steve Kerr doesn’t like being the bad guy, and sympathizes with fans who get upset when NBA teams rest star players.
The Golden State coach has a solution – fewer games.
After the Warriors’ overtime loss in Boston on Thursday night, Kerr sat as a star Stephen Curry Along with appetizers Draymond GreenAnd Clay Thompson And Andrew Wiggins Friday night against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Golden State cruised to victory, 120-114.
Curry, who recently returned after missing 11 games with a shoulder injury, played 43 minutes and scored 29 points in the Warriors’ 121-118 loss to the Celtics in a rematch of last season’s NBA Finals win by Golden State.
Kerr’s decision meant denying fans the chance to see Curry at a shooting clinic like he did at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse at last year’s All-Star Game. This is Golden State’s only visit to Cleveland.
“I feel terrible for fans who buy tickets and expect to see someone play and they can’t see that person playing,” Kerr said. “It’s a brutal bit of work. That’s why I’m going to continue to defend 72-game seasons.”
Kerr’s reasoning is that a shorter season will better protect players’ health, balance the schedule and improve the overall quality of play. Most importantly, it will keep players updated on the playoffs when the games mean the most.
“You remove 10 games from the schedule, it always feels like there’s 10 games left in the year, everyone was anyway,” he said. “It creates enough relief that we don’t have to go through some of these crazy situations. I think you’ll see fewer games that players miss.”
Just Jordan Paul He was among the starters Kerr used against the Celtics. Paul also played 43 minutes in Boston. He played 41 more times against Cleveland, scoring 32 points.
Kerr has been juggling his rotation lately as he tries to balance bringing players back from injuries and getting them adequate rest. Curry was out with a shoulder while Wiggins missed 15 games due to a strained calf muscle and a non-COVID illness.
Kerr was also trying to get his team out of its season-long funk. The Warriors are 23-23 and only 6-18 on the road despite Friday’s win.
He said the decision to rest his four players against the Cavs had nothing to do with losing to the Celtics.
“You can’t work like that,” he said. “I know it’s a big topic around the league. We have a lot of data. There’s a lot of awareness of players’ weaknesses. It’s been proven that if players get hit in a row, players are more likely to get injured and you miss more games and that’s why you see it at the league level.
“Everybody’s on guard when a man gets hit. You’re just playing the long game.”
While the Warriors were sorely short-handed, the Cavs sat at star guard Donovan Mitchell For the second consecutive game with a strained groin.
Cavs coach JB Bickerstaff believes there is a greater benefit to giving players more rest. It extends careers, thus giving fans the chance to appear to be playing for longer.
“You look at these guys playing for 15 years with some guys playing for 20,” he said. “So it’s a five-game-a-season trade-off and you get five more years of those players playing. So I think in the long run, the fans will get their money’s worth because players can extend their careers and play more years.
“I know from our point of view where you only get to see a team once a year. I know it can be frustrating for the fans if these guys don’t play but I think it’s for the greater good of the game, getting these star players and elite players for many years and many more seasons, I think That’s only good for the game.”
Cleveland was also without a backup guard Ricky Rubio, who recently returned after missing a year following knee surgery. The Cleveland team is careful with Rubio, who played 12 minutes against the Grizzlies.
Information from the Associated Press is used in this report.