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Preparing for Playoff Push, Warriors coach Mark Jackson Shortens His Rotation

The last two games, Warriors point guard Stephen Curry has played 43 and 46 minutes. His back up, Jarrett Jack, has played 33 and 35 minutes the last two games. Conversely, rookie reserves Draymond Green and Kent Bazemore totaled just over 8 minutes the last two games. Veteran Richard Jefferson hasn’t played at all.

Jackson has noticeably shortened his rotation. He’s primarily playing the five starters and Jack off the bench. He’s been mixing in forward Carl Landry and rookie center Festus Ezeli off the bench.

JACKSON: “It’s a combination of both shortening the rotation and reading (the situations). It doesn’t mean those guys aren’t going to play. … The good teams that I’ve been on, the good teams that I’ve watched, this time of year you shorten it.”

As the Warriors shift into playoff mode, Jackson is bracing his team for the intensity of the posteason. Possessions will matter more. The level of play will increase. That means less room for error, and less time for players deep on the bench.

Jackson has also gone away from the mass substitution he used to do at the end of the first and third quarters. Instead of going with the defensive unit (Jack with Ezeli, Landry, Green, Jefferson and rookie forward Harrison Barnes), he has been leaving Curry and/or Thompson in the game along with Lee. At least two starters on the floor at all times seems to be the new pattern.

Jackson said a shorter rotation gets Barnes more minutes on the floor, which is something he wants.

The new substitution pattern seems to be to bring in Jack for Barnes and Landry in for Bogut. Barnes then comes back in to spell Thompson or Curry. Ezeli comes in if the Warriors want to stay big when Bogut comes out.  Everyone else is mixed in based on match-ups and situation.

Of course, that means big minutes for the top seven, and ridiculous minutes for Curry, Thompson and Lee — especially Warriors getting at least a day off between most games the rest of the way. They’re going to have to get used to playing for elongated stretches and with tired legs. You can also expect to see Jackson call more timeouts.

JACK: “I don’t know anyone who gets mad at playing more minutes. I just spoke to a couple of guys I saw kind of fall out the rotation, telling them to stay ready because you never know when your name will be called and being ready will allow you to take advantage if your name is called.”

Another factor is Bogut’s return. They have some lost time to make up for with him in the middle. Playing the regulars together for more minutes expedites the process. Bogut over the last six games has averaged 30.2 minutes.

Marcus Thompson

  • Stan

    You knew the Warriors weren’t taking Sac seriously when they did those ballet floater shots instead of a layup or jumper. And those floaters were religiously taken. Like a prayer.
    Andy even blew a easy dunk by trying to imitate a Blake Griffith windmill dunk..and he missed. Hey,wasn’t that the kind of dunk he tore his elbow up with?
    And yet..1,000% better then a Monta team ever was. No need to hide the woman.

  • Grey Warden

    Gotta love the fact that they kept feeding Klay the ball at the end, even though he kept shooting brick after brick throughout the game. When will Jackson ever learn? When Klay’s shooting is ice cold, he’s not going to magically get hot and starting draining 3s. If you’re going to have somebody jack up 3s, it should be Curry, not Klay, even though Curry may have his own shooting woes.

  • Dan

    I’m not sure what good teams MJax is referring to because of all the good teams I’ve watched in the history of the NBA, I don’t remember seeing any play their best player an average of 44+ minutes down the stretch of the regular season. And that’s not even considering his ankle issue. The irony is that it’s actually decreasing the Ws chances of winning these games because Curry is so gassed at the end. And Marcus, can I really expect Jackson to call more TOs? I didn’t see that in the 4th quarter of the Laker game when the Ws were gassed and the Lakers were on a huge run.

  • Stan

    You knew the Warriors weren’t taking Sacramento seriously when they did those ballet floater shots. I can see one,but the team went to that over and over.

    And The Big Eucalyptus tried a Blake Griffin dunk..missed. Not only did he pass up a sure 2 points..isn’t that kind of dunk how he tore up his elbow?

    Curry..he isn’t handling the ball under pressure of a good defender. You can just see the ball is going to taking from him in a crowd.

    Still,this is better by a 1,000% better then a Monta led Warriors team.