After losing Game 3 of the Western Conference semifinals to the Los Angeles Lakers 127-97, the Golden State Warriors are in a critical situation going into Game 4 on Monday.
Head coach Steve Kerr said it’s not a must-win game, but it is a virtual must-win, as they do not want to fall behind 3-1 in the series.
For the second time in this series, Kerr has made a change to his starting lineup, as guard Gary Payton II will reportedly start alongside Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and Andrew Wiggins.
Just in: Golden State Warriors expected starting lineup change in Game 4 vs. Los Angeles Lakers: pic.twitter.com/jKbUc2KaYP
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) May 8, 2023
After Golden State lost Game 1, Kevon Looney was moved to the bench in favor of forward JaMychal Green, and it seemed to work, as they took Game 2 by a wide margin.
They also neutralized Anthony Davis in that contest — he was monstrous in Game 1 but only managed 11 points on 11 shot attempts in Game 2.
Davis, however, bounced back in a big way on Saturday with 25 points, 13 rebounds, four blocked shots, and three steals.
He has seemingly been a force for Los Angeles, and if he goes off again, the Warriors will be in trouble.
With Payton in the lineup, perhaps they’re banking on beating the Lakers from the 3-point line and in transition, as they did in Game 2.
Kerr may be hoping for a replay of the magic that came in Game 4 of the 2015 NBA Finals when he inserted Andre Iguodala into the starting lineup after falling behind 2-1 to the Cleveland Cavaliers, who like the Lakers, possessed a superstar by the name of LeBron James.
Golden State went on to take the next three games of that series and claim their first world championship of the Curry era.