NBA

'The puzzle hasn't fit' – Kerr ponders changes after Warriors rally for Portland win

By Sports Desk December 07, 2023

The Golden State Warriors rallied for a 110-106 win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday as Jonathan Kuminga's impressive cameo left Steve Kerr pondering more changes to his lineup.

Stephen Curry overcame a slow start to finish with a game-high 31 points as the Warriors saw off Portland at Chase Center, though their victory was far from a sure thing until Kuminga's third-quarter introduction.

Against the team with the second-worst record in the Western Conference, the Warriors looked lifeless until the 21-year-old entered the fray.

Kuminga starred with 13 points in 17 minutes, stealing the ball from Toumani Camara at a vital moment late on to kick-start a move which ended with a Curry three-pointer, making the result safe.

The Warriors are now 10-11 for the season, with injuries and suspensions – most notably Draymond Green's five-game ban for putting Rudy Gobert in a chokehold – having hampered their attempts to build any lasting momentum.

Golden State have already used nine different starting lineups this year, with only the Miami Heat naming more in the whole league, and Kerr expects the rotation to continue for the time being. 

"The puzzle hasn't fit this year," Kerr said. "We've had a lot of guys playing well, but we may have to think about moving the starting lineup around from game to game depending on who we are facing. 

"I'd still prefer to get something solid, but we haven't established anything this year. We're a quarter of a way through, so there is a lot of thought that has to go into this.

"I've really been patient and hoping to get our starting unit from the last couple of years into a good groove.

"It's easier to play and to coach when everybody knows exactly where they fit in. It's easier to play a role when there is a set rotation and the stars are playing well so the puzzle fits.

"Every night is going to be different with this team, that's what I am figuring out. We don't have roster clarity in terms of who's going to play every single night."

Curry added that the Warriors need greater flexibility in games, saying: "There have been situations this year… obviously we lost some big leads because we haven't been able to adapt quickly enough in those kinds of games. 

"It's the same thing with the coach's decisions that he has to make on a night-to-night basis."

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