Steve Kerr missed 43 games during Golden State’s record-breaking 73-win season last year due to complications from a back surgery and a spinal fluid leak. Those symptoms have occasionally returned this season.
After 84 games this year, Kerr's back flared up again, forcing him to miss Saturday’s Game 3 with severe symptoms that put him, at the worst moments, “in excruciating pain.”
The Warriors coach has not been able to kick the pain and discomfort and has acknowledged that he will miss Monday night’s Game 4 closeout against the Portland Trail Blazers as well.
In steps assistant coach Mike Brown, who led Golden State to a 119-113 victory in Game 3, putting the Warriors up 3-0 in a series with Kevin Durant possibly returning tonight.
Brown was the coach who experienced all of young LeBron James’ highs and lows in the three-time champion’s first run in Cleveland. He won an NBA Coach of the Year Award in 2009, but when LeBron bounced, so did his winning ways.
Brown had some rough stints in Los Angeles and then back in Cleveland again in 2013-14 with some terrible teams before coming to the Golden State Warriors as an assistant coach, replacing Luke Walton who bounced to coach the Lakers.
Nobody is concerned about Brown's ability to win games with this well-oiled offensive machine.
“This came up pretty quickly and Golden State is hoping they can deal with it,” said ESPN contributor and Cleveland Cavs expert Brian Windhorst on TV. "Mike Brown has nine playoff series victories on his resume and has shown in his career that he’s very good at making adjustments in a playoff series. In fact, I’d argue that when he was with the Cavs for five years that that was his best attribute. “
Brown is in a rare opportunity to replace Kerr for as long as necessary and feel the rush of leading a championship caliber team into battle. He gets to showcase his talents once more as a head coach on the big stage.
“Even if Steve Kerr is out for a little bit,” added Windhorst, “(Golden State) has an experienced coach who knows how to operate a playoff series sitting in his seat.”