OAKLAND — The logos on the floor are different. The banner backgrounds for interviews have a different logo. Even the pre-game podium was different, much to Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr’s chagrin.
“This feels very important,” Kerr said, looking down at the high chair and single-speaker podium, with ‘NBA FINALS’ printed on the front. “This is very awkward … It always feels different … You have a podium instead of a desk with picnic chairs. Everything’s a little different.”
Kerr playfully leaned his left elbow the right side of the podium as he craned the microphone over to his mouth. The NBA Finals may be different, but Kerr hasn’t changed. He certainly hasn’t moved from his position regarding announcing his starting lineups.
“I made a declaration before the playoffs started that I would not be announcing lineups, if only because I felt bad about lying to Tim Kawakami a few years ago,” Kerr quipped. “So, just to uphold my family’s name, I just wanted to establish that standard, so I will not be announcing anything.”
It’s a good thing, too, because it may not be set yet.
With the announcement that Kevin Love is not only eligible to play — after passing the NBA’s concussion protocol — but would in fact start without a minutes restriction, that could alter Kerr’s plans for the post.
Starting the Hamptons Five isn’t an option — Andre Iguodala is still not cleared to play — but he could potentially start Zaza Pachulia instead of Kevon Looney, along with his four All-Stars, Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. Jordan Bell and Looney would likely come off the bench with the second unit, with Quinn Cook and Nick Young also coming off the bench.
Also potentially seeing action: Patrick McCaw.
After having suffered a lumbar spine contusion on March 31 against the Sacramento Kings, McCaw wasn’t expected to play again this season, much less in the playoffs. He missed the last two months, but saw action in the Warriors’ Game 6 and Game 7 wins. McCaw only played a total of five minutes, but given the fact that he’s been able to get some run in recent days, he could see meaningful minutes in the Finals.
“He could play a few more minutes now that he’s gotten his feet wet and he’s had a few more days of court work,” Kerr said. “He had some knee soreness a couple weeks ago that is now gone. So, he’s feeling healthier. There’s no question he could play a bigger role in this series than he did in the last one.”
As for when Iguodala could be back, Kerr said the training staff will put him through court work and make an assessment in the next two days, as they re-evaluate his condition for Game 2. The biggest issue is that the bone bruise and nerve inflammation cannot be solved with any kind of injection.
“They’ll just tell us if he’s ready or not,” Kerr said.
As Kerr prepared to leave, he was asked about LeBron James’s unique game-day attire: mid-thigh suit shorts. A reporter asked if he had seen them, and if he hadn’t, to comment on them after the game.
“You got it,” Kerr said.
Things really are different in the Finals.