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Morale is high as Warriors enter home stretch

Kevin Durant’s return appears likely for Saturday.

NBA: Washington Wizards at Golden State Warriors Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

OAKLAND, Calif. — With 12 consecutive wins under their belt, morale is high right now around the Golden State Warriors. But Klay Thompson believes that it’s more than just winning that has boosted his spirits as of late.

“The sunshine has been so good to me,” Thompson said after his 41-point performance against the Timberwolves. “Today I was outside. I just missed being in a great mood going to the gym every day, get my work in and go home and enjoy it, be outdoors. The Bay Area is beautiful. That’s a big part of it, I’m not even kidding, I swear. It’s so nice to be outside.”

Even Stephen Curry has noticed an uptick in Thompson’s mood. Well, kind of.

“He’s got an adventurous personality so when he gets to go out and explore on his downtime, I’m sure that he gets the adrenaline flowing if you will,” Curry said. “But you can never tell because his face is the same and if he has 41 or four, he always has the same expression so he’s a tough read.”

It seems eminent that things will only get better for Thompson and Curry in the coming weeks, as Steve Kerr and the Warriors’ coaching staff are hopeful to get Kevin Durant back in uniform by Saturday when the team hosts the New Orleans Pelicans at Oracle Arena.

If Durant’s vigorous 35-minute workout prior to Tuesday’s game is any indication, he looks prime to return to action by Kerr’s targeted date.

“He’s going to go on the trip with us tonight,” Kerr said of Durant, pregame. “We’ll have the day off on Thursday, but he’ll come in and play some 2-on-2 and 3-on-3 and we’ll re-evaluate. It’s just day-to-day, but if all keeps going well I think there is a chance he could play Saturday.”

KD looking #kevindurant #warriors #goldenstate #dubnation #nba

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Durant will likely play with a minute restriction once he returns, but that decision will be made in the coming days. Kerr said that he plans to meet with the training staff once Durant is cleared to play and will proceed with their recommendation.

While Kerr leaves the amount of minutes that Durant will play up to the training staff, the coaching staff is on the clock to figure out who will be playing those minutes with him.

Kerr mentioned after the Warriors beat the Wizards on Sunday that rotations have been altered to account for Durant’s absence. Most notably, Shaun Livingston has seen more action off the ball at the small forward position, and he has been finding his groove as of late. Something will need to give once Durant returns to the lineup, though.

“We have to figure that out. We talked about it as a staff a little bit yesterday. I mentioned I was going to start Kevin. A good chance that we were going to play him in short bursts. We have to figure the rotations around him. I kind of like what we have going right now in terms of when guys are coming in so there’s a chance we could keep the rotation as similar to that as possible. It’s always going to be a little different so you just have to adapt and adjust and we’ll go from there.”

The final three games of the season are just as important to Kerr and his staff to figure out rotations as they are for Durant to get readjusted to game speed.

Game Notes

(Via @WarriorsPR)

  • Golden State became the first team in NBA history to win at least 64 games in three consecutive seasons.
  • The Warriors have won 204 total games over the last three years (2014-2017), breaking the Chicago Bulls (1995-1998) record of 203 wins over a three-year span.
  • Golden State recorded their 49th game this season with at least 30 assists, which is an NBA-best and the most in a single season since the L.A. Lakers tallied an NBA-record 52 such games in 1984-85. The Warriors’ 49 30-assist games this season are tied with the 1982-83 L.A. Lakers for second-most in a single season in NBA history.

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