With Kevon Looney expected to start at center, the Warriors are positioned for a smooth start Wednesday against the Miami Heat.
Coverage on NBC Sports Bay Area begins at 3:30 p.m. with Warriors Pregame, followed by tipoff from American Airlines Arena at 4:40 p.m.
The decision by the coaching staff to give DeMarcus Cousins the night off not only changes the court chemistry, but also sends more of the offensive load to Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson. Assimilating an offensive force such as Cousins is a work in progress. There is no need to assimilate Looney.
There also is the fact that the Warriors averaged 38.3 first-quarter points in Looney's last three starts, most recently scoring 33 on Feb. 13 at Portland. With more touches, Durant (16 points) and Curry (9) combined for 25 of those 33 points.
The question to be answered by the Warriors (43-17) is whether they will have enough to finish. Their 12-point fourth quarter at Portland is their lowest output in any quarter this season and led to defeat.
Miami (26-33) has been struggling mightily, dropping nine of the last 11 games – including a 124-121 loss to lowly Phoenix on Monday that snapped the Suns' 17-game losing streak.
F Kevin Durant
F Draymond Green
C Kevon Looney
G Klay Thompson
G Stephen Curry
F Josh Richardson
F Kelly Olynyk
C Hassan Whiteside
G Justise Winslow
G Dion Waiters
Warriors: C DeMarcus Cousins (load management) and C Damian Jones (L pectoral surgery) are listed as out.
Heat: G Justise Winslow (L knee soreness) is listed as probable. F James Johnson (L AC sprain) and F Rodney McGruder (R knee bruise) are listed as questionable.
Warriors: Looney's start means Jordan Bell and Green will get minutes in the middle, as could F/C Jonas Jerebko.. . . In any case, F Alfonzo McKinnie and Jerebko could get significant time because of their strong rebounding. Miami outrebounded the Warriors 52-36 on Feb. 10 in Oakland. The Heat snagged an astonishing 21 offensive boards in that game.. . . Durant was terrific on Feb. 10, scoring 39 points on 16-of-24 shooting – 15-of-17 inside the arc.. . . Though F/G Andre Iguodala did not play in the previous meeting, the bench was the difference. Jerebko was plus-18, G Shaun Livingston plus-15 and Looney plus-14.
Heat: Though Robinson started at SG on Monday, he will not against the Warriors. Winslow is expected to play and start. In addition, G Goran Dragic has come off the bench since returning last week after being sidelined for two months due to knee surgery. He also may be ready to reenter the starting lineup.. . . One of the league's most physical teams, Miami typically crowds and clutches Curry and Thompson. Don't expect that to change despite Curry and Thompson combining for 20-of-39 shooting (11-of-23 from deep) on Feb. 10.. . . The most consistent offensive performer has been Richardson, who is averaging a team-best 17.4 ppg and torched the Warriors for 37 points in Oakland.
Officials: Jason Phillips (chief), Karl Lane, Haywoode Workman