SAN FRANCISCO — The Golden State Warriors played some of their best basketball of the season down three key rotation players. After holding off the Los Angeles Clippers for an impressive wire-to-wire win at Chase Center then surrendering a 24-point lead in a last-second loss at Crypto.com Arena, though, the Dubs are on verge of getting Chris Paul and Andrew Wiggins back in the fold.
Asked during Tuesday's media availability if Paul, sidelined the last two games by a nerve injury in his left leg, would play against the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday, Steve Kerr expressed optimism about the future Hall-of-Famer's status.
“He practiced and we scrimmaged a bit,” Kerr said of Paul. “Came through everything fine, so we'll call him probable.”
Wiggins has also missed the last two games after slamming his right index finger in a car door. Like Paul, Kerr called the 10th-year wing “probable” to take to the floor versus Portland.
Paul and Wiggins are also listed as probable on the Dubs' official injury report for Wednesday games. Gary Payton II will remain out with a right calf strain, Kerr telling reporters the next update on his status will come on Thursday.
Warriors approaching tricky rotational numbers game
Golden State leaned especially hard on Brandin Podziemski and Moses Moody with Paul, Wiggins and Payton sidelined in its home-and-away with LA.
The latter started both games in place of Wiggins, making a positive enough impact on both sides of the ball to be on the court in the clutch. Podziemski played next to Moody, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green in those downsized crunch-time lineups, staying on the floor from the moment he entered midway through the third quarter in both hard-fought games against the Clippers.
Expect Podziemski and Moody to remain key rotational cogs as long as Payton is out. But Kerr stated firmly after Tuesday's practice the Warriors wouldn't use an 11-man rotation on a nightly basis when fully healthy, likely forcing one of Podziemski, Moody or Jonathan Kuminga—all of whom bring different factors to the table for Golden State—to the bench.
Kevon Looney, who was benched for Saturday's loss to LA in favor of Dario Saric, could also see his minutes cut and role further reduced once the the Dubs reach full-strength depending on game-by-game matchups. Kerr alluded to Looney's relative early-season struggles on Tuesday, insisting the revered veteran big man was playing well but admitting his on-court value would be easier to deduce once the Warriors—their in a state of flux since 2023-24 tipped off due to suspensions and injuries—better find their footing.
Golden State and Portland tipoff Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. from Chase Center.