Game 2 Warriors Starting Lineup Breakdown – Go Here
Note: This is the Game 1 Breakdown
The 57-25 Golden State Warriors didn’t quite light up the regular season like year’s past, but in reality this team was likely heading to the NBA Finals regardless. They lead the league in points per game (117.3), and also led the league with 28.5 assists per game. Toronto did beat Golden State twice in the regular season, but it is hard to weight that fact in the finals. Both Stephen Curry and Draymond Green missed one regular season game, and Kawhi Leonard missed the other. The injury bug hit Golden State this postseason, losing DeMarcus Cousins early, and Kevin Durant late in the Portland series. However, it hasn’t held them up as they swept Portland to reach a fifth straight final.
Kevin Durant suffered a calf injury in Game 5 of the Houston series. Golden State has not lost since, and we have seen the return of the Splash Brothers type numbers. Durant is ruled out for Game 1, and while we don’t expect him to play Game 2, there has been no ruling. He did travel to Toronto, but we are not going to expect him back. With the injury sounding serious, it is hard to anticipate him playing in this one. Andre Iguodala has always had a strong role with the team, but he drew the start with Durant out during that Portland series, that is until his flared up in Game 3. Iggy said he felt 100%, so we expect him back this series.
Golden State might be getting one of their bigs back, as DeMarcus Cousins is listed as questionable for Game 1. After a torn quad, it looked like Cousins was going to be done for the playoffs. The dilemma is working Cousins back into the rotation. His durability and stamina has been building all season. Cousins should see time in this series, but the question is how much? He isn’t a lock to get back into the starting lineup, as he could play 20-25 minutes off the bench. This is still a plus for the Warriors to get some depth back on their bench.
Warriors Starting Lineup
Stephen Curry, PG – Coming off of an incredible Conference Finals, Stephen Curry had a 32% usage rate across all four games. This led all players in the previous round. Curry has picked up his play with Durant out, averaging 35.8 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 6.6 assists per game. His TS% in the playoffs is over 60%, which is an absolute insane number. Curry will have a tougher time in this series with Durant out, given Toronto is the best defensive team they have faced in the postseason. Both Fred VanVleet and Kyle Lowry will spend time defending Curry, and on occasion Leonard is going to take him as well.
Klay Thompson, SG – Weirdly he gets overshadowed, but Klay Thompson has made his mark on each game this postseason. That also means defensively. Thompson will be asked to defend either Kyle Lowry or Leonard. Thompson has seen a rise in his usage, going to 26% with Durant out during the postseason. He has struggled on the offensive side at times this season, but he is always an x-factor for the Warriors when the surrounding studs can’t make a mark. It will be interesting to see what defensive matchups are thrown at him.
Andre Iguodala, SF – The good news for Golden State is that Andre Iguodala is healthy, and ready to go for this series. Defensively they will need him, but he also racked up assists on his possessions. Iguodala has always been tasked with slowing down the opposing team’s best player. In these playoffs, Iguodala has been matching up with Lou Williams, James Harden, and Damian Lillard. All three were below par compared to their regular season numbers. Leonard seemingly will get his, but Iggy will have a say with how efficient he gets it done.
Draymond Green, PF – Once again, looking at numbers without Durant, Draymond Green has really thrived. He is averaging 14.8 points, 11.4 rebounds, 8.4 assists, and over four combined blocks and steals per game over the last five. He also has a few triple-doubles to his name. Green could see some time at the five, but probably won’t much in this series. He is known for his defense, but Green’s passing ability has been on show over the playoffs. Green should be considered the one to make this offense go in this series, which might be a weird thing to hear with Curry and Thompson around him. Ball movement will be key against this group, and Green starts that.
Andrew Bogut, C – A lot of this is going to depend on what Steve Kerr is feeling that night, and we will likely see multiple centers start in this series for Golden State. If DeMarcus Cousins comes back, he might draw a start here and there. We saw Andrew Bogut start three of the last five games. It was Green starting at the five while Cousins was out, but that was also with Durant healthy. The center position isn’t going to bring much, as Damian Jones, Kevin Looney, and Jordan Bell will get some minutes as well. It has never been an overly important position for Golden State, which is why there is so much rotation.
We won’t see a ton of bench play from Golden State, and this part of their roster looked vulnerable early on in the playoffs. There is a concern if Cousins and Iguodala are not at full health, because they can’t turn to many. Kevon Looney was by far the most effective in the prior stretch of games. Because the Toronto front court is unlike what they have seen before, Looney should find his way into minutes even if Cousins is back. Alfonzo McKinnie has stepped into a larger role with Durant out, and will get some run even with Iggy back. Shaun Livingston, Jonas Jerebko, and Quinn Cook are all sub-20 minute players in this series.