JaVale McGee got the surprise start at center for the Golden State Warriors in their Game 1 win over the San Antonio Spurs and flourished in the role, scoring 15 points while playing quality defense throughout the game.
As such, it's not a surprise that head coach Steve Kerr is planning to keep McGee in the lineup.
“We just wanted to put our best defensive lineup on the floor from the beginning,” Kerr said of the move. “To re-establish our defense, which has been subpar. That’s the only way to have success in the playoffs.
“You could feel the intensity right from the start.”
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Golden State's defense to open the game was the biggest factor in their blowout win, according to Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich.
“They had more grunt, more physicality in the first quarter, and we looked like deer in the headlights,” Popovich said. “I thought we were prepared, physically and mentally, but I was mistaken. It’s a bad combination to play defense like that and not shoot at the other end. That was the game right there.”
McGee, who did start 17 games during the regular season, saw limited minutes off the bench this season (a career-low 9.5 per game), and as such Golden State tried to trade McGee before the trade deadline but found no takers. Now, he's playing a vital role for them in the playoffs.
He averaged 4.8 points and 2.6 rebounds per game in the regular season.Back to the Golden State Warriors Newsfeed