Why JaMychal, not Looney, is starting Game 2 vs. Lakers


SAN FRANCISCO -- Steve Kerr is changing his starting lineup Thursday night against the Los Angeles Lakers for Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals. 

There was speculation Jordan Poole might start after how strong he played in Game 1, along with how well the Warriors' small-ball lineup performed.

Kerr indeed is going smaller, in a sense. Still, Poole is coming off the bench. 

The surprise change is JaMychal Green replacing center Kevon Looney. He'll be joined by Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins and Draymond Green. 

"We are playing a big, strong team and JaMychal gives us some size on the front lines, some rebounding and he can hit the three," Kerr said Tuesday after the Warriors' 117-112 loss. "He knocked down a couple threes for us, which is one way to loosen up their defense a little bit, so I liked JaMychal's minutes. He did a nice job out there.

"And I felt like coming in, we needed another big in this series and that we weren't just going to play Draymond. I thought we needed another guy and JaMych filled that role well."

Green was a DNP (Did Not Play) in four of the Warriors' seven games in their first-round series win against the Sacramento Kings. On Tuesday night against the Lakers, though, he played 7:45 and scored six points, going 2 of 4 from 3-point range. 

He started only one game this season, a one-point loss to the Utah Jazz on Dec. 7. The Warriors were without Curry and Draymond Green in that game. JaMychal Green was a minus-4 in his lone start with seven points, four rebounds and one assist in 17 minutes. 

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The five-man group that will start on the floor Thursday night in Game 2 only played five games together in the regular season and shared the court for 18 minutes. They produced a minus-6 net rating behind a 119 offensive rating and 125 defensive rating.

This decision isn't out of the blue. Looney is dealing with an undisclosed illness, per the Warriors, but will suit up and is expected to still play during Game 2. He played 29 minutes and grabbed 23 rebounds in Game 1, as he also scored 10 points and had five assists.

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