May 19, 2024

Tuesday night in Sacramento, the Golden State Warriors suffered a more significant setback than just missing out on a trip to the NBA’s In-Season Tournament quarterfinals.

The Sacramento Kings stole their trip to Las Vegas by defeating the Los Angeles Clippers by one point thanks to a furious 17-point comeback in the second half. The more significant news items after the disappointing loss, though, concerned the injuries sustained by shooting guard Gary Payton II and point guard Chris Paul.

The news worsened on Wednesday, November 29, when Shams Charania of The Athletic revealed that Payton is sidelined “indefinitely” due to a severe calf injury.

“Sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium that Golden State Warriors G/F Gary Payton II has a torn right calf and will be sidelined indefinitely,” Charania wrote on X.

With only a few seconds left in the first quarter, Paul left the game. He did not play again on Tuesday night. He returned to the locker room and was seen favoring his left leg.

Wednesday night, Charania announced that Paul would not play in the team’s 7 p.m. Pacific Time game against the Los Angeles Clippers due to a nerve injury in that leg.

For a Warriors team that has had trouble putting players on the court early in the season, Payton’s loss is crucial.

This season, Steph Curry missed a few games due to a knee injury, and Draymond Green received a five-game suspension from the league for choking Rudy Gobert of the Minnesota Timberwolves during an on-court altercation on November 14.

In a sense, Payton was discovered by the Warriors during the 2020–21 campaign. The next season, the team gave him his first real opportunity to be a consistent part of an NBA rotation, allowing him to play Payton 17.6 minutes per game over 71 appearances.

After contributing significantly to the Dubs’ championship run that season, Payton signed a three-year, $26.15 million deal with the Portland Trailblazers. After suffering an abdominal injury in the 2022–2023 season, Payton was eventually traded back to the Warriors by the Blazers.

Due to injury concerns, the shooting guard only participated in 22 regular-season games between Portland and Golden State in the previous campaign. The Dubs had played in 18 games this season, missing only 14 before he tore his calf on Tuesday night.

According to Basketball Reference, Payton finished with an average of 5.9 points, 3.1 rebounds, 1.2 steals, and 0.9 assists in 17.3 minutes of play per game. He is also one of the top perimeter defenders for the Warriors.

Golden State is now 8-10 and the No. 10 seed in the Western Conference after losing to Sacramento. This is the final position to guarantee a spot in the NBA’s Play-In Tournament, which takes place before the official playoffs begin.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the Clippers (7-9) were in 11th place in the Western Conference, which gave the in-state rivalry that was set for Wednesday night in San Francisco a little more spice.

After struggling against the Kings, shooting just 6-of-14 from the field, including 3-of-9 from beyond the arc, Golden State will be looking to starting shooting guard Klay Thompson to get back on track.


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