Gary Payton II expected to start pivotal Game 4 as Warriors look to even series

The Golden State Warriors have announced that they will be starting Gary Payton II in Game 4 of their Western Conference semi-finals series against the LA Lakers. This will be the first game in this year’s playoffs that Payton will start after coming off the bench for the squad.

Los Angeles Lakers v Golden State Warriors - Game One

Los Angeles Lakers v Golden State Warriors - Game One

According to Shams Charania, Golden State will attempt to play a smaller lineup against the Lakers. Their Game 4 lineup will feature Payton, Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins and Draymond Green. The team needs another perimeter to be locked in and help their defensive woes in the series.

The defending champions are looking to even the series as the Lakers have an advantage over them. Los Angeles has a 2-1 lead in the series after their masterful domination in Game 3, which surprised Curry and the squad. LeBron James and company ended the game with a score of 127-97, adding misery to the road struggles of Golden State.

Payton played a huge part in last year’s playoffs as his defensive tenacity contributed a ton for the team winning the title. He wasn’t re-signed by the team due to financial issues, and was signed to the Portland Trail Blazers. He later found himself back on the roster at Golden State during the trade deadline when the Blazers executed a four-team trade that included the Dubs.

Other role players like Gary Payton II should step up big-time for the Warriors

Golden State Warriors v Sacramento Kings - Game Seven

Golden State Warriors v Sacramento Kings – Game Seven

Gary Payton II has been extremely valuable for the Warriors since his rise last season. Defensively, he anchors the team’s bench unit, which makes the Warriors a scary defensive squad even when Draymond is on the bench. For this year’s playoffs, it’s been the same for Payton, but he needs more help.

The supporting cast that the team has for this season isn’t as strong as what they had in the past. Financial issues played a huge part in their offseason. They had to let some of the major contributors of the team go and manage without them. That included Payton, who only suited up for 15 games for the Blazers.

Additionally, the front office and coaching staff expected a ton from the young, rising stars to have a breakout season. Jordan Poole, who had an impressive 2021-22 campaign, was fairly decent this season. But that wasn’t enough.

It’s also worth mentioning that guys like Moses Moody and Jonathan Kuminga haven’t broken into the scene for the San Fransisco squad. But now that their season is on the line, they need to step up in a huge manner.

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