Kerr: Healthy Warriors core makes for ‘tantalizing' playoff run


During their tumultuous regular season, the Warriors experienced one full game with their Big Three of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, the same core that delivered three NBA championships to the Bay Area at the height of the franchise’s dynasty.

It was March 14 -- Steph's 34th birthday. Coming off a lower-back injury, Draymond played 20 minutes off the bench while Steph dropped 47 points and Klay added 20 in a feel-good win over the Washington Wizards. They celebrated with an emotional embrace after the game, one that signified the first game they played together since Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals.

Two days later, Steph suffered a foot injury against the Boston Celtics and the star trio was down to a pair once again.

While Steph was out, Draymond called himself out for holding the Warriors back, and Klay struggled to find his shot during an ugly 1-7 stretch. But both players found their game in the final two weeks of the season, sending Golden State into the postseason with momentum on a five-game winning streak.

Now, the Warriors’ core is on the brink of another reunion -- this time, in the playoffs. Saturday’s clash in Game 1 against the Denver Nuggets, which Golden State hopes Steph will suit up for, will mark the Warriors’ first playoff appearance after two injury-riddled seasons sidetracked their mission.

“It’s been a long time,” coach Steve Kerr said. “It feels great to be back in this position.”

With all the injury issues Golden State dealt with in 2021-22 -- from Steph’s foot to Draymond’s back to James Wiseman "ramping up" all season only to be shelved for the year – winning 53 games and earning the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference was quite the accomplishment. Chasing a fourth championship with the Big Three core, along with veteran Andre Iguodala, would be even sweeter.

“Potentially getting everyone healthy is really tantalizing,” Kerr said. “We have persevered this season through a lot of injuries and absences. If we could get Steph back healthy and keep Andre on the floor, it would be the first time all year. We will have our main guys healthy at the same time. 

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“That’s exciting because I think that means our ceiling is higher than what we have shown so far.”

If Steph returns at or near 100 percent, the Warriors should be a force to be reckoned with. They’ll get a clearer picture of what to expect on Thursday when the NBA's all-time leading 3-point shooter is scheduled to scrimmage at practice.

Until then, roll the tape of that emotional win over the Wizards. If everything comes together, it’s hard not to feel like this team is bound for a special postseason.

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