MINNEAPOLIS — After the Golden State Warriors’ 103-102 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday, coach Steve Kerr announced he would be sitting Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and Andre Iguodala for Saturday’s contest against the San Antonio Spurs.
Kerr said his decision was strictly due to health concerns and the fact the Warriors will have been on the road for seven of their past eight games.
It means the Warriors will face the Spurs without four members of their original starting five, with Kevin Durant already sidelined because of a knee injury.
“We’re going to get [to San Antonio] at 3 a.m.,” Kerr said. “Those guys are all playing big minutes, and this would give them three days before our home game, and then we’ll have a whole week at home next week and a chance to get recharged.
“It’s my call, and it’s the right thing to do in terms of the way the season is playing out and the way the minutes have gone and KD’s injury. It’s the right thing to do, so we’re doing it.”
Warriors drop nail-biter in Minnesota ahead of Spurs showdown
The Minnesota Timberwolves found a way to hold on against the visiting Warriors, dropping Golden State to 2-4 in its past six games.
Iguodala, one of the league’s top sixth men, was asked whether he knew before Friday’s game that Kerr would be resting him against the Spurs.
“Nope, no clue,” he said. “I do what master say.”
The comment drew a swift and angry response on social media, with some interpreting it as a shot at Kerr. Iguodala later clarified his remark to ESPN, saying it was in no way a shot directed at Kerr and that it was only an inside locker room joke.
“Me and Steve are cool,” Iguodala told ESPN. “[People] can think what they want to think.”
San Antonio also will not be at full strength against Golden State.
Earlier Friday, the Spurs ruled out forward Kawhi Leonard for Saturday’s game after he suffered an apparent head injury Thursday night against the Oklahoma City Thunder and entered the league’s concussion protocol. Point guard Tony Parker is questionable because of a stiff back.
What was supposed to be one of the better games of the season, featuring the top two teams in the Western Conference, has turned into a letdown.
And in terms of letdown, the Warriors felt the officiating in Friday’s game let them down. In the locker room, players were discussing multiple calls they believed unfairly went against them.
Iguodala was so frustrated, he blurted out another controversial, racially insensitive comment when asked about what led to this loss.
“We gotta score more than the other team,” he told reporters. “Yep, they want dumb n—-s, so I’m going to give y’all a dumb n—-.”
Then asked whether the team issues run deeper than just scoring baskets, Iguodala responded, “What would dumb n—-s say? ‘Just play harder. Figure it out. Change gonna come.’ You know what we used to say. Change gonna come.”
As bizarre as that exchange was, Green wouldn’t be outdone. He waited for approximately 45 minutes before addressing the media.
“That’s a long time,” he said. “I contemplated for a long time whether I was just going to give the 25-[thousand dollars] up and wash my hands with it. I’m going to go buy myself a nice watch tonight with that $25,000 I thought about spending tonight. I’m going to post it on Twitter. Not Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat. I’m going to go buy myself a nice gift for the discipline I showed tonight.”
The discipline he was alluding to was not going off on the referees and not receiving a potential $25,000 fine.
“How I get a technical for trying to stop continuation?” Green said, speaking of his third-quarter tech. “I don’t know. I guess I got to play by different rules than the rest of the NBA. That one really sticks with me. What’s that, my 11th tech? Thirteen? Damn. How many do I really got is the question? I don’t know. Different set of rules.”
The Warriors were hit with a questionable late-game call that sent Andrew Wiggins to the line for a pair of free throws that put the Timberwolves up for good. Wiggins attacked the glass, and Zaza Pachulia and Green challenged the shot. There was little contact, but Pachulia was hit with the foul, his sixth and final foul. Kerr said he didn’t see a foul. Green agreed.
“I was right there,” Green said. “I went vertical. I thought about taking a fine tonight. I really did. I truly thought about taking a fine tonight. But I’m not wasting my $25,000.”
Players were joking that Iguodala might have a fine coming his way. Even Matt Barnes said “Whoa” when he got word of Iguodala comments.
Friday’s loss was the Warriors’ fourth in their past six games, but they still own the league’s best record at 52-13. San Antonio holds the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference and sits 1½ games behind Golden State.