Coach Steve Kerr did not make the trip with the Warriors to Memphis for Game 5, acting head coach Mike Brown said on Tuesday.
Kerr tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday before Golden State’s Game 4 against the Memphis Grizzlies, forcing associate head coach Brown to take the reins on late notice in their eventual 101-98 win on Monday to take a commanding 3-1 series lead.
Brown — who improved to a 12-0 playoff record as acting head coach with the Warriors — is expected to coach Game 5 in Memphis, where they have an opportunity to close out the Western Conference semifinal series. The Grizzlies will be without star guard Ja Morant, who sustained a bone bruise on his right knee during Game 3 in San Francisco.
The Grizzlies say Morant, who was averaging 38 points per game, is doubtful for the rest of the series.
“You don’t wish injury upon anybody. It’s tough for him as an individual,” Brown said. “He seems like a great person from afar, I don’t really know him. Tough for his family his, the city of Memphis and his team. We have to stay focused and locked in and understand, no matter who they put on the floor, they’re more than capable of beating us. We have to have that appropriate fear in order to get over the hump.”
Kerr participated digitally in Golden State’s staff meeting on Tuesday morning before the team departed San Francisco. Kerr also called in during halftime and after Game 4.
“He’ll be part of this throughout,” Brown said.
Brown, somewhat jokingly, called for Kerr to return as soon as possible, but said he could not provide a timeline for Kerr’s return from health and safety protocols.
“I’m hoping he can coach tomorrow at shootaround, but it doesn’t look like he will be available,” Brown said.
Brown also noted a handful of Warriors tested for COVID-19, but none have tested positive.
Hours before Game 4, Brown had officially been named to fill the Sacramento Kings’ head coach vacancy, signing a four-year deal.