Thursday, April 26, 2012
Warriors start five rookies in finale
OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Golden State Warriors became the first NBA team in modern history to start five rookies in one game for their season finale against the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday night.
With a roster decimated by injuries, coach Mark Jackson fielded a unit of guards Klay Thompson and Charles Jenkins, forwards Chris Wright and Jeremy Tyler, and Mickell Gladness at center.
Thompson, Jenkins and Tyler are all Warriors draft picks, while Wright was a training camp invitee and Gladness joined the team after signing a 10-day contract earlier this month.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, which has been tracking the stat since the 1970-71 season, it's the first time an NBA team has started five rookies in a game.
The Spurs started quite a young team themselves after sending Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker home on Wednesday to rest for the playoffs.
San Antonio started four players with two years or less of NBA experience (James Anderson, DeJuan Blair, Danny Green and Patty Mills) alongside eight-year veteran forward Boris Diaw.
The Spurs were also without coach Gregg Popovich, who is tending to a personal matter.
Golden State has been plagued by injuries all season. Point guard Stephen Curry, who underwent surgery on his right ankle Wednesday, played in just 26 games this season. Forward David Lee missed the final eight games with an abdominal injury. He had surgery earlier Thursday and will be restricted from on-court activities for 4-6 weeks.
The Warriors also held out forward Dorell Wright (right ankle sprain), center Andris Biedrins (mild concussion) and guard Nate Robinson (hamstring) in the finale.