OAKLAND (CBS SF) — With a roster that looks more like a MASH unit than an NBA championship contender, one would forgive Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr if there was a hint of panic in his voice when he talks about Wednesday night’s Game 3 of the league finals. But that’s not the case.
Kerr’s even keel has been a major feature of Golden State’s DNA during their five years of excellence on the court. So when asked about facing the Toronto Raptors with a lineup without Kevin Durant and super sub Kevon Looney and possibly Klay Thompson, Kerr responded in a thoughtful, calm manner.
“It’s just part of the job and the way we look at it is that it’s a challenge and we accept the challenge, embrace it, both as a team and as a staff,” he said.
Kerr came into the playoffs with a plan to play his core 6 — Durant, Thompson, Steph Curry, Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala and DeMarcus Cousins — for 30 or more minutes a game. Those plans were scrapped when Cousins went down in the opening round of the playoffs and Durant suffered a serious calf injury in Game 5 of the NBA Western Conference semifinals.
Cousins has returned, but backup big man Looney has now been lost for the remainder of the playoffs and Thompson is a game-time decision for Wednesday.
“When it happens, we feel like all right we’ve got to do our jobs and figure out combinations that make sense and we just do it,” he said. “It’s part of the of the job.”
Kerr has done a masterful job of getting his reserves ready to step in. Quinn Cook, Andrew Bogut, Jonas Jerebko, Jordan Bell and Alfonzo McKinnie have all made key contributions.
“Our team is very adaptable,” Kerr said. “We have a lot of versatility. What it requires is bench players ready to step up. Guys just playing hard and playing together. You have to be fearless, too. You can’t worry about anything. You just go out play and compete. Let it fly. Whatever happens, happens.”
A typical Kerr response, but it also is reflected by his players.
“I have great teammates who understand what it takes to win and just the fun playing the way that we do,” Curry said. “The experiences we have been able to create so at the end of the day that’s all I will remember.”
Green echoed those sentiments.
“You can’t worry about [the injury list],” he said. “You’ve got to continue to keep pushing and focus on the task at hand. No one on this team can control Kevin’s injury. No one on this team can control Klay’s injury. You can’t waste your energy by worrying about things you can’t control. You’ve got to focus on things you can control.”