Draymond Green wasn’t the only impact defender and playmaker sidelined for the defending champions in Game 3. Fortunately for the Golden State Warriors, Gary Payton II is also primed to return for Sunday’s pivotal battle with the Sacramento Kings at Chase Center.
Speaking with reporters on Saturday after Warriors practice, Steve Kerr suggested that Payton is on track to play in Game 4 against the Kings.
“He’s looking good,” Kerr said, per Dalton Johnson of NBC Sports Bay Area.
Payton joined a suspended Green at home for Golden State’s series-saving Game 3 win over Sacramento on Thursday, out with an illness. He participated in Saturday’s practice, though, which combined with Kerr’s positive assessment of Payton’s performance indicates he’s close to fully healthy.
Payton played a key role for the Warriors in the opening games of the first round, just one of two defenders—along with Andrew Wiggins—capable of making De’Aaron Fox and Malik work one-on-one. He had 13 points, six rebounds, two assists and two steals in Game 2, getting 27 minutes off the bench—more than Payton ever played during Golden State’s title run last year.
Expect Gary Payton II to once again see early action in Game 4. And if he’s a half-step slow on Sunday while fully recovering from illness, Kerr should be more comfortable going deeper into his bench following the stellar efforts of Donte DiVincenzo, Moses Moody and Jonathan Kuminga while Payton was out.
Game 4 tips off from Chase Center at 12:30 (PT).
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