Gary Payton II started the Warriors-Lakers Game 4 decider

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GP2 starting Game 4 vs. Lakers in Dubs' latest lineup change originally appeared nbc sports birea

Steve Kerr's surprising change to the Warriors' starting lineup in Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals worked wonders JaMychal Green scored 15 points in 13 minutes. In place of Kevon Looney ahead of 27-point win against Los Angeles Lakers.

But the move wasn't as impressive on Saturday night in a 30-point loss to the Warriors. Green was shooting 1-of-5, missed all three of his 3-point attempts, and did not grab a single rebound. So with the Warriors up two-games-to-one, Kerr is once again turning it into territory in Game 4.

Kerr isn't bringing Looney back into the starting lineup, and Jordan Pool isn't stepping in as an offensive option. The Warriors coach is turning to a player whose role surprisingly took a backseat in the first three games of the series. Gary Payton II will join Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins and Draymond Green as the first five Warriors on the court.

The Athletic's Shams Charania first reported on Monday that the Warriors intended to start Payton, and while Kerr did not confirm the news during his pregame press conference, he did address the 30-year-old's impact.

“He plays more like a big but he moves like a guard,” Kerr said Monday about 90 minutes before tip-off. “…He obviously helped us dramatically in the playoffs last year, so he has big game experience as well. We trust him.

Payton averaged 5.7 points and 4.3 rebounds in 16.1 minutes in the final regular-season games after completing his core/right adductor rehab. their output was almost the same In the Warriors' first-round series win against the Sacramento Kings, he averaged 5.5 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.0 assists in 16.1 minutes. In the first three games against the Lakers, Payton averaged 5.7 points and 3.7 rebounds, but only played 11.2 minutes.

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Seen by many as the Warriors' ultimate weapon after an earlier offseason loss to the Portland Trail Blazers retrieve it on the trade deadline, Payton played just under 13 minutes in the Warriors' Game 3 blowout loss. He scored eight points, went 4 of 7 from the field and added three rebounds, one steal and one block. Payton's plus/minus was minus-15 in the loss.

This five-man group did not play together during the regular season at all due to Payton's health and Wiggins being away from the team for the last two months of the regular season. They have played five games together in the playoffs and shared the court for 19 minutes. Over that span, the Warriors have had a 7.8 net rating with a 120.0 offensive rating and a 112.2 defensive rating.

So far, the 6-foot-2 Payton who guards all five positions and operates out of the dunker spot has held Anthony Davis and LeBron James to a combined 52 seconds. However, he did guard starting guard D'Angelo Russell for 2:41, his most on any Laker.

Russell 2 of 6 from the field while being guarded by Payton and missed his only 3-point shot. Last game, he came out on fire and Peyton could be a solution in slowing him down.

Connected: Warriors Need A “Good Jordan” Pool In Game 4

The former Warrior played almost all of the first quarter and scored 13 of the Lakers' 23 points, shooting 5 of 7 and 4 of 3 from deep. All 21 of his points were scored in the first half as Russell shot 8 of 12 from the field and 5 of 7 from long range in the first two quarters. The Lakers are 6-1 when Russell has scored 20 or more points this season, and 2-0 in such cases after this season.

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The Warriors will look to set a tone early in the series, and Peyton will serve as their latest problem solver.