When you are outscored 40-16 in the fourth quarter of the NBA Finals, as the Warriors were in their Game 1 loss against the Celtics on Thursday, there are clearly plenty of issues to address leading up to Game 2.
I mean, 40-16! Sorry, but wow. One potential fix is to play superstar Stephen Curry more minutes, especially because his substitution pattern sees him sit out at the start of the fourth quarter. The Celtics came out the gate hot in the final frame and didn’t look back.
While we don’t know what Kerr thinks about that notion specifically, The Athletic’s Anthony Slater pulled some video of Kerr from earlier in the playoffs, explaining his philosophy on playing his players more than usual.
Slater asks him about “extending players past 40 minutes.” Kerr says that 40 minutes is a lot for anybody, and it’s “top end” for most, whether they’re young like guard Jordan Poole or older like Curry. As for Curry, Kerr said that in most cases it “wouldn’t help us win” to play Curry excessive minutes.
“Whatever you have to do to win the game, that’s what you do. But in my opinion, in most cases, it wouldn’t help us win if we played Steph 46 minutes,” Kerr said. “That’s a heavy burden and it can affect his own game and his own rhythm at the same time.”
Part of the issue was the suspect play of Poole, who has been the catalyst for the offense when Curry rests. But Game 2 is a must-win for Golden State, so it will be interesting to see if Kerr plays Curry more minutes, especially to start the fourth quarter.
He may also continue to lean on Poole. But my money is on a little more Curry in Game 2 for the Warriors. Whatever the case may be, the Dubs need a dub, badly. As Kerr said in his comments above: “whatever you have to do to win the game, that’s what you do.”