OAKLAND — The Warriors finished off the Spurs on Monday night and then took Tuesday and Wednesday off before returning to practice each of the past three days.
Zaza Pachulia, the only injured Warrior rotation player late in the Spurs series, has participated in all parts of all three practices, without restriction on that sore right heel. He is on track to start Game 1 of The Finals on Thursday.
“We’ve done running, had scrimmages and he’s done everything,” Mike Brown said.
Pachulia, of course, is the least impactful of Golden State’s five starters. The other four are All-Stars. Pachulia is the first wave of a center by committee rotation, averaging only 18 minutes per game this season.
But in Golden State’s win over the Cavaliers at home back in January, Pachulia was key. He had 13 rebounds in his 21 minutes, while also helping hold Tristan Thompson to only two offensive rebounds and five total in his 30 minutes.
There’s a chance that this Warriors-Cavaliers series morphs into a small-ball spectacle, with Cleveland attacking the Warriors with spread shooters and Kevin Love as their backup center. If so, the Warriors may counter by stripping the center from their lineup.
But for now, Pachulia is expected to play his typical 15-20ish minute per night role and he has been fully cleared, health-wise, to do so.
“It’s good that we have one week off,” Pachulia said. “That way I can prepare myself mentally and physically for this team.”
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