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Festus Ezeli’s lapse is core of courtesy in Warriors’ win

Festus Ezeli’s lapse is core of courtesy in Warriors’ win

  • Warriors brazen David Lee (left) congratulates Festus Ezeli in a initial half after a core got his initial personification time in 17 months. Ezeli had knee surgery, afterwards had shin inflammation. Photo: Ben Margot / Associated Press / AP


Festus Ezeli hadn’t played in a basketball diversion in some-more than 750,000 minutes, so watchful scarcely 9 mins before removing called to underling into Tuesday night’s diversion opposite a Clippers seemed like nothing.

The Warriors’ backup center, who has been sidelined with right knee medicine and successive right shin inflammation given personification his final diversion May 16, 2013, remarkably didn’t uncover any decay in a team’s 125-107 win.

Head manager Steve Kerr indeed wanted to wait until late in a second entertain to give Ezeli his initial personification time in 17 months, though a stars aligned for a large man’s wait to finish sooner. Starting core Andrew Bogut missed a diversion with an illness, and haven centers Ognjen Kuzmic and Marreese Speights any fast got into tainted trouble.


With 3:05 remaining in a initial quarter, Kerr called timeout and afterwards sent Ezeli onto a court. He done an roughly evident impact, swatting a Jared Cunningham layup attempt, creation a brief turnaround jumper and dunking an alley-oop pass from Andre Iguodala in a quarter’s final dual minutes.

“Festus is a large partial of what we’re doing going forward,” Kerr said. “I like to stay large as most as possible. Kuz has unequivocally come along, and Festus gives us a third edge protector.”

The 6-foot-11, 255-pounder stayed in a diversion to play a initial 1:18 of a second entertain and came behind for a final 2:03 of a initial half, totaling 6 first-half points and attack both of his shots from a building in 6:26. He left a justice to a rousing acclaim from a throng and was greeted with a David Lee cuddle before he could get to a bench.

“I only didn’t wish my initial thing to be a bad thing — an airball or something,” Ezeli said. “I had to have something go for me — a layup, a rebound, a blocked shot — and I’d be good and staid in. That was a good approach to get started, and it felt like we never left.”

Ezeli returned for a 4½-minute army in a fourth quarter, perfectionist a round inside and scoring 4 some-more points. He finished with 10 points on 4-for-5 shooting, 3 rebounds, one blocked shot and 5 personal fouls.

Because Ezeli hadn’t competed even in a full-contact, five-on-five struggle during training camp, a Warriors treated a Clippers’ diversion as such. They’ll be generally clever with a earnest 24-year-old and will provide his shin damage as a day-to-day condition until he’s totally healthy.

“I was shaken since it was my initial time personification in a prolonged time,” Ezeli said. “I was shaken since it was during home, since it was my birthday, since my family was here. There were a lot of things, though overall, we was excited.”

The Warriors were led by Stephen Curry, who had 27 points on 9-for-13 sharpened to go with 6 assists and 3 steals. The Clippers were paced by Cunningham, a Bay Area native, who had 23 points as a Clippers complacent All-Stars Chris Paul and Blake Griffin.

Briefly: Warriors haven wing Brandon Rush is approaching to skip a team’s regular-season opener Oct. 29 during Sacramento after being diagnosed with a sacral highlight greeting in his reduce back. Rush, who will be re-evaluated in a week, has played a initial half of any of a past dual games before sitting out a second halves with reduce behind spasms. He pronounced he felt a tweak in his behind a integrate of weeks ago when he was lifting weights. … In a pregame ceremony, Nate Thurmond presented Iguodala with a prize that commemorated his preference to a All-Defensive initial group in 2013-14. Thurmond was a final Warrior to get a same recognition, being comparison in 1968-69 and 1970-71.

Rusty Simmons is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. E-mail: rsimmons@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @Rusty_SFChron

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