NBA

Curry left surprised by Golden State rest as Kerr prioritises fitness of Warriors' star

By Sports Desk March 25, 2024

Steph Curry may have been surprised to not feature more in the Minnesota Timberwolves defeat but Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr insists his side will not solely rely on their star.

That message from Kerr was clear after Sunday's 114-110 loss to the Timberwolves, with the Golden State chief prioritising Curry's fitness over chasing results.

Curry scored 31 points on 9-of-21 shooting in his 30 minutes, including five 3-pointers, despite sitting out 11 straight minutes between the end of the third quarter and the closing stages of the fourth.

"I want to play as many minutes as I'm fresh and able to, so I'm a little bit [surprised] knowing that they were going on a run," said Curry.

Curry acknowledged "our lead was withering away" as the Warriors man was removed with four third-quarter minutes left and not introduced until just over six final minutes remained.

Kerr refuted suggestions Curry should have been reinstated sooner, though, pointing to the fitness load already on his strained shoulders.

"We can't expect to just ride Steph game after game after game," Kerr said. "We've put the burden of this franchise on his shoulders for 15 years.

"We can't expect him to play 35 minutes ... If you want to say that him playing 30 minutes instead of 32 is a difference between a win and a loss, I totally disagree with that.

"We're trying to win the game. And we're trying to keep him fresh, too."

Unlike the Timberwolves defeat, Curry played the entirety of the fourth quarter and 35 minutes overall in Friday's 123-11 loss to the Indiana Pacers.

"I played the whole fourth quarter against Indiana and it didn't work out, this didn't work out [against Minnesota]. We've got to find somewhere in the middle," Curry added.

"The situation will define itself in real-time. Every game matters as we're inching closer to the other end of the standings we never thought we would be in.

"No one is going to wave the white flag and say we are mailing it in. If that means playing more minutes, I'll be ready to do that."

The Warriors are just one game up on the in-form Houston Rockets, hanging on to the no.10 seed in the Western Conference by a slight margin.

Curry had earlier stated there remains no concern as to where Golden State finish in the standings, so long as the Warriors develop a winning habit to regain form for the postseason.

"What Steph is saying is if we don't build the habits, it doesn't matter," Kerr clarified as the final 12 games loom.

"You make the play-in, you don't, if you don't have the habits you're not going anywhere."

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