Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr told reporters Thursday it was a "very easy" decision to sit his two stars, Stephen Curry and Draymond Green, for the team's final game before the All-Star Break.
Kerr said Curry was getting a much-needed break on a back-to-back, while Green is still recovering from a sprained ankle:
"Draymond, we definitely didn't want playing a back to back on the ankle from the other night. And Steph just needs a rest. This was a brutal, brutal back to back. We got to the hotel at about 3:30 in the morning, and I think given the All-Star break is here and Steph otherwise isn't getting much of one given that he's playing in the game, it made a lot of sense to send him home and just get him an extra day to rest and prepare for the second half of the season."
Due to a COVID-19 postponement earlier in the season, the Dubs traveled from a Wednesday night game in Portland to Phoenix for a Thursday matchup with the Suns. With the All-Star Game beckoning for Curry, one of the starters, it was an easy enough choice to sit him.
"Steph, we looked at the schedule maybe a week ago and figured that this was what we were going to do," Kerr told reporters. "And then Draymond's was more based on the injury that he suffered in L.A."
The Warriors have to be pretty happy with the first half of the 2020-21 season. Despite being without Klay Thompson, the Dubs came into Thursday night 19-17, putting them at the No. 9 seed currently.
While finishing with a top-six seed would benefit the Warriors, allowing them to avoid the play-in tournament, being in the playoff mix with a winning record despite being without Thompson is an achievement.
Curry has been the main reason. He's been spectacular, averaging 29.7 points, 6.3 assists, 5.5 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game while shooting 47.8 percent from the field and 41.1 percent from three.
And Green remains the team's defensive anchor and an excellent playmaker on offense, posting 5.7 points, 6.1 rebounds and 8.6 dimes per contest. He did suffer a sprained ankle in Sunday's matchup vs. the Lakers, however.
So on Thursday night, both needed a night off. With Kelly Oubre Jr. also out of action, Kerr's starting lineup Thursday was rookies Nico Mannion and James Wiseman alongside Damion Lee, Juan Toscano-Anderson and Andrew Wiggins.
"Well, Nico's a true point guard, and with Steph out, we need somebody to run the show and deliver the ball, get us organized, pick up full court defensively—do all the things that Nico does," Kerr told reporters. "And it felt right to give him the start."