NBA Gameday: With Klay out, McCaw should have big opportunity

NBA Gameday: With Klay out, McCaw should have big opportunity

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

OAKLAND -- In the midst of trying to solve late-game issues, the Warriors next get an opponent rarely good enough this season to experience crunch time.

Indications are the Miami Heat, who visit Oracle Arena Tuesday night, are more committed to the future than the present. Long gone are the “Heatles,” as team architect Pat Riley attempts a rebuild.

The Warriors have chosen to rest shooting guard Klay Thompson, who has been battling an illness for the past few days.

Though the Warriors (32-6) are coming off a win at Sacramento on Sunday, they continue to study the lessons of their last two losses, both of which came after they gave up double-digit leads in the fourth quarter.

Miami (11-28), making its fifth stop during a six-game road trip, has lost eight of its last nine.

BETTING LINE

Warriors by 15.5

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Zaza Pachulia vs. Hassan Whiteside: Whiteside last season came out of nowhere to claim star status, signing a four-year, $98.4-million contract in July. He’s responding with a solid season and has become a force with which to be reckoned. Pachulia is playing well of late. He’ll have to bring it to keep Whiteside from owning the paint.

INJURY REPORT

Warriors: No injuries listed.

Heat: F Udonis Haslem (respiratory illness) is questionable. G Josh Richardson (L foot sprain) is doubtful. F Justise Winslow (R shoulder surgery) is not with the team.

LAST 10

Warriors: 8-2. Heat: 2-8.

SERIES HISTORY

The Warriors have won the last four meetings, sweeping the series in each of the past two seasons, and seven of the last nine overall.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH

1) The Catalysts: Warriors PG Stephen Curry has boosted his offense recently, earning conference player of the week honors. His counterpart with the Heat, Goran Dragic, averaged 21.1 points, 6.7 rebounds and 4.3 assists in December. Curry has averaged 35.0 points in his last six games vs. Miami. This matchup could get hot.

2) Unleash The O: The Heat struggle to score, surpassing 100 points only twice over the past eight games. Miami is dead last in true shooting percentage and 29th in offensive rating. If ever there were a game in which the Warriors could simply outscore an opponent, this is it.

3) Call for McCaw: With Thompson out, Warriors coach Steve Kerr will start rookie Pat McCaw. He’ll spend time defending Wayne Ellington, Tyler Johnson and Dragic. This promises to be a good learning experience for the UNLV product.

Ty Lue: Celtics 'harder to defend' than Warriors

Ty Lue: Celtics 'harder to defend' than Warriors

The Warriors possess four 2017 All-Stars, three 2017 All-NBA team members and had the highest-scoring offense during the offense. They are 12-0 this postseason and have won those 12 games by an average of 16.3 points.

The Celtics lost All-NBA point guard Isaiah Thomas for the rest of the postseason and don't have another All-Star on the roster.

But for Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue, it sounds like he has an easier time scheming to defend the Warriors.

"The stuff (the Celtics are) running, it's harder to defend than Golden State's (offense) for me, as far as the actions and all the running around and all the guys who are making all the plays, so it's a totally different thing. Like, they hit the post, Golden State runs splits and all that stuff but these guys are running all kinds of (stuff). And Brad's (Stevens) got them moving and cutting and playing with pace and everybody is a threat," Lue said Wednesday, according to Cleveland.com.

The Cavs rallied to beat the Celtics in Game 4 on Tuesday night to take a 3-1 series lead in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Despite the commanding series lead, Lue isn't looking ahead of a potential NBA Finals matchup with the Warriors.

"You can't. As much as you want to, it's not over," Lue told reporters.

The Cavs have a chance to wrap up the Eastern Conference Finals on Thursday when they face the Celtics in Boston.

The NBA Finals begin June 1 in Oakland.

 

More Curry-Durant pick-and-roll? Mike Brown: 'I love Steve, but...'

More Curry-Durant pick-and-roll? Mike Brown: 'I love Steve, but...'

The Warriors led the NBA in offensive rating (113.2) during the regular season.

The Warriors are second in the league in offensive rating (115.8) in the playoffs.

Scoring is not an issue.

But will we see the Warriors run more pick-and-roll in the NBA Finals, specifically the Steph Curry-Kevin Durant combination?

"Steve (Kerr) isn't really into this much," interim head coach Mike Brown told ESPN's Zach Lowe. "He's more about spacing and movement -- and that's fantastic. I love Steve, and wherever I might go, I'm going to incorporate a lot of stuff he does.

"But in the playoffs, sometimes you have to attack a mismatch. When I need a bucket, that's what I'm going to do."

Mr. Kerr -- your response?

"Mike is right about me, but I also recognize the need to do it more as defenses get tougher," Kerr told ESPN. "It's about finding the right balance between isolating when we need to, and keeping the flow that makes us who we are."

During the regular season, the Warriors ranked last in pick-and-roll possessions per game -- both when the ball-handler ended the possession, or when the roll/pop man ended the possession.

Steph Curry averaged 6.1 pick-and-roll possessions per game -- 28th in the NBA.

That number is up to 7.5 per game in the playoffs.

“I think we’re still at our best when we’re simple about what we’re doing,” Curry recently told Marcus Thompson of the Bay Area News Group. “Whether it’s pick-and-roll and you’ve got everybody spaced. You’ve got shooters where they need to be. You’ve got the dive man where he needs to be with space to put pressure on the rim. 

"You’ve got a ball-handler playmaker with it that can come off and shoot it, get a bucket. Sometimes it doesn’t need to be more complex than that. We’ve got the awareness that, that needs to happen.”