The Warriors begin their longest road trip of the season onFriday night in Minneapolis, and they couldnt have asked for more good fortuneto start things.Minnesota will be without a bunch of players, includingKevin Love, Ricky Rubio, Brandon Roy, Chase Budinger, Nikola Pekovic and J.J.Barea. Thats four starters and starters and two key contributors off thebench.After playing at Minnesota, the Warriors have a back-to-backagainst Oklahoma City on Sunday and the Dallas Mavericks on Monday.Here are some things to watch for during theWarriors-Timberwolves game:Break the seal: On the positive side, theWarriors are 4-4 despite key players not starting the season well. StephenCurry, Klay Thompson and David Lee are all struggling from the field this year -- and yet the Warriors have been able to tread water.How much longer the Warriors will be able to be successfulwith that trio struggling isnt the kind of question coach Mark Jackson wantsto answer.Hed certainly like each of those players to come out oftheir shooting slumps against the Timberwolves, and take those hot hands intoOKC and Dallas.Through eight games this season, David Lee is shooting 43percent, Stephen Curry is shooting 37 percent and Klay Thompson is shooting 36percent.Jump out early: This game would seem tobe the classic case of not letting the Timberwolves hang around. They are aninjury-depleted team right now and not as deep or talented as theWarriors.The better start the Warriors get off to, the more likelytheir chances of keeping Minnesota down all game long are. This is the kind ofgame where the Warriors should realize theyve got a great opportunity againstan overmatched opponent and theyll need to take advantage of that.Limit turnovers: The Warriors committed23 turnovers against the Hawks on Wednesday which turned into 28 points. Still,the Warriors found a way to beat Atlanta 92-88.Nobody has been shakier with the ball than Curry, who hasjust 43 assists this season to 27 turnovers. But Thompson and Lee have alsoturned it over quite a bit in the early season and its something the Warriorsneed to get under control.
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.”
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.”