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War­riors, Lak­ers take pre­cau­tions with star play­ers in fi­nal ex­hi­bi­tion

The Mercury News - - Sports - By Mark Me­d­ina mme­d­ina@ ba­yare­anews­group.com

SAN JOSE >> For two teams that have over­whelm­ing star power, the War­riors and Lak­ers sud­denly had fewer.

In the War­riors’ pre­sea­son fi­nale against the Los An­ge­les Lak­ers on Fri­day, both teams used the game to rest their star play­ers in the 119-105 Lak­ers’ win.

The Lak­ers rested LeBron James and Ra­jon Rondo. They

also sat some young play­ers that had mi­nor ail­ments, in­clud­ing third-year for­ward Bran­don Ingram (quad), sec­ond-year guard Josh Hart (left ham­string tight­ness) and sec­ond-year guard Alex Caruso (right hip strain).

War­riors guard Klay Thomp­son had 21 points while stay­ing ef­fi­cient from the field (7 of 16), from 3-point range (3 of 6) and the free-throw line (4 of 4). But the War­riors joined the ab­sen­tee party by sit­ting Kevin Du­rant af­ter he played in the first four ex­hi­bi­tions. They rested vet­eran An­dre Iguo­dala. And af­ter en­ter­tain­ing the crowd with plenty of points (16), shots (5 of 10) and 3-point­ers (4 of 7) in the first quar­ter, Stephen Curry sud­denly be­came ill and missed the rest of the game. He still sat on the bench, so at least the ail­ment is not con­ta­gious. But it was not worth it for the War­riors to trot Curry out any­more.

Af­ter all, con­sider what War­riors coach Steve Kerr said be­fore­hand on if he cares about a pre­sea­son win.

“No,” Kerr said, smil­ing. “I’m not go­ing to elab­o­rate. There’s noth­ing more to say.”

Ex­cept for one thing, the War­riors right­fully have more con­cern with their reg­u­lar-sea­son

opener against Ok­la­homa City on Tues­day than pro­vid­ing any mem­o­ries in ex­hi­bi­tion play.

DRAY­MOND GREEN RE­TURNS >> Af­ter miss­ing the past three games with a sore left knee, Green seemed nor­mal as al­ways. His pres­ence spoke louder than the box score with his in­ten­sity, de­fense and smarts.

Of course, he also ex­changed barbs. He and Lak­ers coach Luke Walton play­fully talked trash dur­ing a free throw. Then, Lak­ers for­ward Michael Beasley got tan­gled up with Green and the two in­evitably jawed with each other.

Af­ter both were called for a tech­ni­cal, Beasley ap­proached Green to smooth things over. Green feigned in­dif­fer­ence. Then Beasley was given an­other tech­ni­cal and a sub­se­quent ejec­tion with 9:12 left in the third quar­ter af­ter an of­fi­cial thought he was fur­ther in­sti­gat­ing.

DAMIAN JONES RE­MAINS

THE START­ING CEN­TER >> Kerr has said he will keep that spot open un­til DeMar­cus Cousins’ un­cer­tain re­turn from an in­jured left Achilles ten­don. For now, though, Jones has the start­ing cen­ter po­si­tion un­til fur­ther no­tice. He fin­ished with 16 points on 6-of-6 shoot­ing and six re­bounds in 23 min­utes.

He started in all pre­sea­son games. He has im­pressed the War­riors with his length, ath­leti­cism and de­fense. And against the Lak­ers on Fri­day, Jones’ al­ley-oop lob from Curry rep­re­sented the high­light of the game.

Don’t look now, but Jones could mir­ror JaVale McGee’s role the pre­vi­ous two sea­sons with the Lak­ers. The War­riors’ All Stars loved throw­ing lobs to them. It kept them en­gaged. And for a team that will have to find a way to feel in­ter­ested in the reg­u­lar sea­son, Jones could keep theme en­ter­tained. CE­MENT­ING HIS FU­TURE >> The War­riors have not reached any res­o­lu­tion with Pa­trick McCaw. The War­riors have reached a res­o­lu­tion in bol­ster­ing their wing po­si­tion, though. The team signed train­ing camp in­vi­tee Al­fonso McKin­nie to a twoyear deal at the vet­eran’s min­i­mum that guar­an­tees him a ros­ter spot for the 2018-19 sea­son. Kerr ob­served that McKin­nie

“clearly stood out amongst the group” in train­ing camp be­cause of his ath­leti­cism, out­side shoot­ing and hus­tle. Not bad for some­one the brought in be­fore camp af­ter play­ing with Chicago’s G-League team (2016-2018), Toronto’s sum­mer-league team (2018) and pro­fes­sion­ally in Luxembourg and Mex­ico (2015-16).

“I like when a guy fights and scraps and crawls,” Kerr said. “His team­mates like him, we like him, and we think he has some ver­sa­til­ity. We are ex­cited for him.”

What about McCaw? That might ce­ment his end since the War­riors have 14 play­ers com­mit­ted to their reg­u­lar-sea­son ros­ter. They have one ros­ter spot va­cant, but the War­riors want to keep that open to keep fi­nan­cial flex­i­bil­ity. Still, War­riors GM Bob Myers told Bay Area News Group he is still open to­ward re-sign­ing the thirdyear guard.

BREAK­ING BREAD >> Be­fore the game, Kerr and James spoke in the hall­way like they were long­time bud­dies.

The sub­ject? “There’s this great sand­wich spot down the corner that we went to,” Kerr quipped.

ANDA CHU — STAFF PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

Stephen Curry lasted one quar­ter in Fri­day night’s ex­hi­bi­tion and scored 16 points against the Lak­ers at the SAP Cen­ter.

ANDA CHU — STAFF PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

The War­riors’ Klay Thomp­son, who fin­ished with 21 points, shoots a 3-poin­ter over the Lak­ers’ Travis Wear dur­ing their pre­sea­son game Fri­day in San Jose.

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