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sport / / BANG: Why Kerr limited Steph Curry’s minutes in Warriors’ loss to Timberwolves

o BANG: Why Kerr limited Steph Curry’s minutes in Warriors’ loss to TimberwolvesAllen

BANG: Why Kerr limited Steph Curry’s minutes in Warriors’ loss to Timberwolves


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From: (Allen)
Subject: BANG:_Why_Kerr_limited_Steph_Curry’s_minutes_in
Date: Mon, 25 Mar 2024 15:54:32 -0700
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 by: Allen - Mon, 25 Mar 2024 22:54 UTC

Why Kerr limited Steph Curry’s minutes in Warriors’ loss to Timberwolves
Curry played less than 30 minutes in a tight loss to Minnesota
>Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) works toward the basket
during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Minnesota
Timberwolves, Sunday, March 24, 2024, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

Danny Emerman is a Bay Area News Group sports reporter
By DANNY EMERMAN | | Bay Area News Group
PUBLISHED: March 25, 2024 at 5:20 a.m. | UPDATED: March 25, 2024 at 2:19

MINNEAPOLIS — Every game is a must-win for the Warriors. Steve Kerr has
trimmed his rotation down to a tight nine. The last three-week sprint to
the finish will be the difference between the Warriors having a
puncher’s chance at a playoff berth and falling into the lottery.

So against the Timberwolves, following a dispiriting loss to the Pacers
in which a film session revealed an unacceptable lack of effort — “It
was nasty,” Draymond Green said — the Warriors were sure to throw
everything they had at Minnesota.

The team’s effort was there, but Steph Curry, for some of the biggest
moments, was not. Kerr limited Curry’s minutes to 29 (and 51 seconds) in
a back-and-forth 114-110 loss. Golden State’s best player was on the
bench for a key Minnesota fourth-quarter run and was a plus-6 in a
four-point defeat.

“We’re trying to keep them around 30,” Kerr said of Curry’s minutes.
“Trying to get him as much rest as we can. We’ve played him a lot of
minutes, played him 35 two days ago. So as long as we were hanging in
there, we wanted to limit the minutes a little bit. Not overplay him.”

Curry sat for the last four minutes of the third quarter and the first
five minutes and six seconds of the fourth quarter. In the latter span,
the Timberwolves went on a 19-8 run. Although Kerr said postgame that
wasn’t the difference in the game, it was a massive momentum swing.

Golden State had entered the period with a three-point lead. By the time
Kerr brought Curry back, the Warriors were staring up an eight-point hole.

“I want to play as many minutes as I’m fresh and able to, so a little
bit,” Curry said when asked if his extended time on the bench surprised
him. “Knowing that they were just getting on a run. The lead was kind of
whittling away.”

One of the Warriors’ strengths this year has been their depth,
particularly after the All-Star break. The second-unit lineups with
Chris Paul, Klay Thompson and Trayce Jackson-Davis have been productive.
But against the playoff-bound Timberwolves, Curry’s long break in the
fourth quarter was jarring.

“We’ve got Chris Paul out there,” Kerr said. “We’ve got Klay, we’ve got
Draymond. We’ve got great players out there. We can’t expect to just
ride Steph game after game. These last few weeks have been really tough.

We’ve put the burden of this franchise on his shoulders for 15 years. We
can’t expect him to play 35 minutes. We’ve got five games in seven days
on this road trip. If you want to say him playing 30 minutes instead of
32 was the difference between a win and a loss, I totally disagree with
that. We’re trying to win the game, we’re trying to keep him fresh, too.”

Kerr’s theory that Curry needs rest has legs. In late February, the
two-time MVP went through a minor slump in which he appeared fatigued.
Curry ranks a modest 43rd in total minutes played, but Curry’s minutes
have always been different. Nobody constantly runs like him. He takes a
beating, with defenders grabbing and tugging him off the ball.

Curry is at 2,092 minutes on the season. He’s on pace to log the most
playing time since his 2016-17 season. He was 28 then, in the middle of
his athletic prime. He just turned 36 now.

One reason the Warriors haven’t been able to find pockets for Curry to
rest is they’ve been in so many tight games. Sunday night was their 41st
clutch game — defined as a score within five points in the last five
minutes. Nobody has played more.

Curry has played in only 11 blowouts of at least 20 points either way
this season. In those games, he topped out at 32 minutes and has played
as few as 17 (in the 52-point loss to Boston).

Against Indiana last Friday, Curry played the entire fourth quarter.
That didn’t work. Against the Timberwolves, they rolled the dice that
their souped up bench could survive the non-Curry minutes. That didn’t work.

“We’ve got to find somewhere in the middle,” Curry said.

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But the Warriors need every Curry minute they can get. They’re not
tanking. Quite the opposite: Houston is on their heels for the 10th
seed, and if they overtake the Warriors, it would be an unmitigated
disaster for the franchise. This is a season with Curry still playing at
an elite level and a record-breaking, tax-clearing payroll surrounding him.

That leaves the Warriors in the position of trying to keep Curry fresh
while simultaneously winning as many games as they can — two divergent

“The situation will define itself pretty clearly,” Curry said. “And it
kind of is, in real time. Every game matters. We’re inching closer to
the other side of the standings we never thought we’d be in. Nobody’s
going to wave the white flag and say we’re mailing it in. If that means
playing more minutes, I’ll be ready to do that.”

sport / / BANG: Why Kerr limited Steph Curry’s minutes in Warriors’ loss to Timberwolves


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