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#pounditMonday, April 15, 2024

Warriors get welcome news on key player ahead of Game 2

Steve Kerr looks on from the sideline

Jan 18, 2020; San Francisco, California, USA; Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr stands on the sideline during the fourth quarter against the Orlando Magic at Chase Center. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Down 0-1 in the NBA Finals, the Golden State Warriors may be ready to activate their trap card.

Warriors head coach Steve Kerr told reporters on Saturday that guard Gary Payton II will be available for more usage if necessary during Game 2, per Anthony Slater of The Athletic. Payton was active for Game 1 of the series but only for selective defensive possessions as the team’s trainers believed that Payton needed more recovery time, Kerr added.

Payton himself told reporters that he was ready to go and did not have any discomfort in his elbow.

The defensive specialist Payton has not played in a month since fracturing his left (shooting) elbow on a controversial foul during the second round of the playoffs (video here). While Payton was active for Game 1 of the Finals, he did not actually see any playing time.

The 6-foot-3 Payton is probably a little too small to make a difference on Celtics star Jayson Tatum. But he could be a valuable weapon to throw at guards Marcus Smart and Derrick White, or even wing Jaylen Brown off switches. For a player that was seeing about 18-to-20 minutes a game in the playoffs before going down, Payton’s return will be a very welcome one (and not just because of his personality).


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