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Warriors at Suns preview: Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala out for rest

Andre Iguodala and Draymond Green both out (rest) for the Warriors’ final regular season road game.

NBA: Minnesota Timberwolves at Golden State Warriors Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

How to watch

Date: Wednesday April 5th, 2017

Time: 7:00 pm PST (not 7:30!?)

Location: Phoenix, AZ

TV: CSN Bay Area

Radio: 95.7 THE GAME

Injury report

Warriors: Kevin Durant (out); Andre Iguodala (rest), Draymond Green (rest).

Suns: Tyson Chandler (tanking); Eric Bledsoe (tanking); Brandon Knight (tanking back spasms)

Blog Buddy: Bright Side of the Sun

In one of those weird quirks of fate, the Golden State Warriors will pit their 12 game winning streak against the Phoenix Suns’ woefully-mirrored 12 game losing streak. To keep matters a bit more interesting, Warriors coach Steve Kerr indicated yesterday that he will hold out both Andre Iguodala and Draymond Green for rest.

Missing these defensive stalwarts will certainly hurt, but given the chasm between these two teams, it should be a relatively safe gamble.

(h/t to the BSoS preview)

Throughout the course of the season, the Warriors traveled a total distance of 54,436 miles and played 17 games on a back-to-back. So it is probably with no small measure of relief that this will be their final regular season road game of the year.

The Suns are tanking.

They sat Tyson Chandler, Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight (a decision that Kevin Durant referenced to when defending rest for star players) and are playing more for draft position than player development at this point.

Led by young stud, Devin Booker, the Suns are still quite a few pieces away from being competitive for the playoffs. Their team ranks near the bottom in key metrics for both offense (22nd out of 30) and defense (28th). They’re fun though, because they like to run and have Devin Booker, who is a joy to watch:

Sure, they lost that game, and you could definitely argue that the Suns gamed the system a bit to run up the score for him. But wherever you stand on this issue, it’s easy to admire the talent here.

Dragan Bender is back now too, and the absence of so many players has really allowed fellow youngins Tyler Ulis, and Marquese Chriss to spend time together. This could become one of the more exciting teams in the NBA if a few of these guys pan out and develop. Bender and Booker seem the most likely, but Ulis and Chriss are both interesting enough to warrant continued interest.

The Warriors’ magic number is 2

With last night’s win, the Warriors got their 12th straight win since resting key players against the Spurs in the Toaster Era, which brings their “magic number” to just two. That means that the Warriors need just two more victories (or less, if the San Antonio Spurs lose) to secure the #1 seed. The way they’ve played recently, I’m almost sad to see the regular season come to an end. Almost.

On paper, this is one of the easiest of the remaining four games, even without defensive stalwarts Green and Iguodala. Assuming Durant comes back on Saturday against the New Orleans Pelicans, a win tonight would be nice to alleviate the pressure to win while acclimating to Durant’s return to the lineup.

The return of Kevin Durant highlights how special Steph is

GSoM community member Dinohealth made what I thought was an excellent observation in the post game thread, this level of Steph has been here all year:

...just because he has been challenged to score more (and, has responded) during the KD-less stretch, does not mean he has somehow "re-emerged" at MVP-caliber play!

After all, jelling the new team while transitioning KD aboard, making his teammates better, and leading the new team (through two, distinct, iterations already) to the winningest, again, in the NBA, is what THIS historic MVP is all about!

Don’t let the scoring fluctuations distract you: superstar Steph has been here all season long. Yeah, some of Curry’s shooting numbers dipped this year, but his ability to defer in order to incorporate Durant has really been overlooked. The complete lack of ego from both Curry and Klay when it comes to scoring are the unspoken backbone of this team’s style of play.

Don’t just take my word for it, check out Steph’s quotes in this recent article

"With the roster that we have and adding a guy like KD, there's obviously going to be more of a balanced attack," Curry said. "It's pretty clear how that's kind of evolved over the course of the season. My job as the point guard of this team is to balance all the talent that we have, plus at the same time staying aggressive with my own game.

"What we've been able to do the last two, three weeks has been a good reminder of exactly what we're all capable of, and it's no slight to [Durant]. When he's back, we're a much better team. We want him back as soon as possible. But what we've done in his absence, and how I've tried to help contribute at a high level, speaks for itself, really."

Yes it does, Steph, yes it does.

Around the NBA

The Cavs and Celtics are playing tonight at 5:00 p.m. PST. in an Eastern Conference parallel of our recent showdown against the Spurs, these games carry some extra weight in regards to post season seeding. For a team that is apparently super reliant on being able to “flip the switch”, tonight’s game may serve as an interesting barometer and, given our end of season aspirations, Warriors fans may want to check out this game to scout two of the teams most likely to emerge from the East.

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