Monte Poole

Kerr clarifies Cousins' lack of NBA All-Star Game minutes

Kerr clarifies Cousins' lack of NBA All-Star Game minutes

OAKLAND -- Warriors coach Steve Kerr said Wednesday that the limited minutes allotted to former Kings center DeMarcus Cousins in the All-Star Game Sunday was unrelated to a pending trade.

Cousins played only two minutes -- the shortest stint by any All-Star since Connie Hawkins in 1971 -- because that was the big man’s wish.

“I asked every guy before the game started how much they wanted to play,” said Kerr, who coached the Western Conference All-Stars for the second time in three seasons. “He told me he wanted to play two minutes. He was serious. He said he was banged up. It had nothing to do with (a trade).”

After six-plus seasons in Sacramento, Cousins was traded to New Orleans shortly after the All-Star Game, with the official announcement coming Monday.

Kerr initially thought Cousins was requesting to be limited to two minutes per half. When Kerr and assistant coach Mike Brown conveyed that plan, Cousins was quick to clarify.

“He said, ‘No, no: two minutes total,’” Kerr recalled.

When Kerr pointed out that Cousins actually played two minutes, 24 seconds, the newest Pelican flashed a sense of humor.

“I went over? By 24 seconds?” Cousins said. “That should be a fine for you, coach.”

Warriors big men Pachulia, West close to return

Warriors big men Pachulia, West close to return

OAKLAND -- The Warriors reconvened Wednesday and received good news, going through a light scrimmage that for the first time in weeks included centers Zaza Pachulia and David West.

The better news for the Warriors is that both were upgraded to questionable and could return as soon as Thursday night, when they face the Clippers at Oracle Arena.

“I would say there’s a good chance both of them would play tomorrow,” coach Steve Kerr said. “We’ll see.”

Pachulia has missed the last eight games after straining his right rotator cuff on Jan. 29 at Portland.

“The pain is gone,” Pachulia told CSNBayArea.com. “I can’t say I’ll be cleared, but there is no more pain.”

Pachulia is expected to reclaim his starting role despite Kerr’s acknowledging that JaVale McGee has been “fantastic” while starting the last eight games.

“I haven’t decided yet,” Kerr said. “I’ve got to make that decision. I want to make sure first that (Pachulia) is healthy. And it depends, too, on what happens with David. Is David healthy? Are they both playing? There’s kind of a domino effect on all of this stuff.

“I would anticipate that, ultimately, Zaza will be back starting. I liked that whole rotation. JaVale has helped us dramatically, and he’ll be playing a role. It’s a center-by-committee situation. But right away, we’ll see how we play it.”

West has missed the last 14 games with a non-displaced fracture in his left thumb, sustained Jan. 18 against Oklahoma City.

West was to undergo an X-ray late Wednesday, after which it was anticipated he would receive a clean slate.

The only players that did not scrimmage are All-Stars Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson. All four were given an extra day off in the wake of their participation in All-Star Weekend in New Orleans.

“Just being in New Orleans for those four days, there’s no rest whatsoever,” Kerr said. “Those are the guys who played the most minutes. The All-Star break is such a great time to recharge.”

NBA Gameday: Three goals for JaVale McGee against DeMarcus Cousins

NBA Gameday: Three goals for JaVale McGee against DeMarcus Cousins

Programming note: Warriors-Kings coverage starts tonight at 6:30pm with Warriors Pregame Live on CSN Bay Area, and streaming live right here.

OAKLAND -- It’s not often that the Warriors feel they have something to prove, but there will be at least a measure of pride on the line Wednesday night.

Eleven days after a shocking loss in Sacramento, the Warriors take the floor at Oracle Arena trying to avoid their first two-game losing streak to the Kings since 2011.

The Warriors (46-9), coming off a stunning 22-point loss at Denver, are looking to extend to 142 their NBA record streak of games without consecutive losses; no other team has reached 100. They’re 23-3 this season at home, where they average 122.3 points per game.

The Kings (24-32) are on their second four-game win streak this season. Can they make it five? They’ve had two five-game win streaks over the last 10 years.

BETTING LINE

Warriors by 18

MATCHUP TO WATCH

JaVale McGee vs. DeMarcus Cousins: Cousins is a load under any circumstances, but he has been terrific lately, with 40 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists Tuesday night against the Lakers in LA. With the Warriors’ top two centers out, McGee has three goals: 1) Stay out of foul trouble; 2) Make Boogie work on defense; and 3) Do not let Cousins dominate the paint. The Warriors are fine with Cousins launching threes, but if he does damage inside and gets to the foul line, it could be trouble.

INJURY REPORT

Warriors: Klay Thompson (R heel soreness) is listed as probable. C Zaza Pachulia (R rotator cuff strain) and F/C David West (L thumb fracture) are listed as out.

Kings: G Ty Lawson (L adductor strain) is listed as questionable. F Omri Casspi (R plantaris tendon strain), F Rudy Gay (L Achilles tear) and G Garrett Temple (L hamstring, partial tear) are listed as out.

LAST 10

Warriors: 8-2. Kings: 6-4.

SERIES HISTORY

The Warriors have won two of three meetings this season and 13 of the last 14 overall. They have won the last six games, and 17 of the last 20, in Oakland.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH

THE REVENGE FACTOR: The Warriors hate to lose, but they hate it even more when beaten by a team they routinely dominate. Having lost to the Kings for the first time in nearly four years, they’ll be out to reestablish their superiority.

THE GLASS WARS: The Kings are a notoriously poor rebounding team; they rank 29th this season. The Warriors, largely through team effort, have become a good rebounding squad. After losing the glass battle 52-27 to the Nuggets, they’ll make a conscious effort to own it.

THE PACE GAME: Knowing the Kings (27th in pace) are not built to run, the Warriors (second) likely will push tempo at every opportunity. Given their relatively thin post defense, that may be the best way to grind down the effectiveness of Cousins.