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OAKLAND — Hope you got a good look at the Warriors recently, because they’ll be gone for a while. They left Tuesday for Los Angeles, and will be gone 11 days on a six-game road trip, their longest of the season.

Yes, they will be available through the miracle of cable TV and FM radio, but you get the point. By the time they get back, the Raiders will either be at .500 or in deep doo-doo, Jimmy Garoppolo will have solidified his Hall of Fame credentials and Giancarlo Stanton may be a Giant. Or a Dodger.

One thing you can take to the bank during these six far-flung games: Steve Kerr will continue to tinker with his lineups and rotations as if he were the NBA’s Dr. Frankenstein.

It’s a matter of necessity, with lingering injuries to superstars Stephen Curry (bruised and swollen right ring finger) and Kevin Durant (sprained left ankle), and with Draymond Green (foot) and Andre Iguodala (knee) not entirely spry either.

But here’s a little secret. Somewhere deep in his heart, Kerr is executing an invisible fist pump. It wouldn’t go over well if the coach of an NBA team publicly admitted he was happy his All-Stars were in physical pain, but those throbbing fingers and ankles and knees are an early holiday gift to Kerr.

In fact, if his players weren’t getting jarred and twisted on the court, he would be tempted to toss a few banana peels around the practice courts in downtown Oakland.

Because the best possible thing for the Warriors right now — and really until at least the All-Star break — is minor adversity, especially as expressed in a shortage of manpower.

The Warriors, at 15-6, haven’t been nearly as dominant this year as everyone expected. That point was hammered home Monday, when the improved-but-still-insufficient Sacramento Kings sent them packing for the road with an upset at Oracle Arena. And it doesn’t matter. It just doesn’t. None of those six losses meant a thing, because barring a truly disastrous injury, we know the Warriors will be the team to beat when the playoffs begin.

Until the home stretch draws near, Kerr’s most pressing task is to play as many of his guys as possible, and to tinker with his puzzle pieces so feverishly that he and his staff will have fully assembled the picture by the time the games matter.

Kerr has been working hard at this since Game 1.

“I mean, you’ve noticed,” he said Tuesday. “There are games I play 13 guys, and that doesn’t happen (in the NBA). But I think we’re in a pretty unique position with our team where we can experiment and use the regular season to figure out combinations. (Monday) night was obviously odd, because without Steph and KD — I think that’s the first time we’ve ever had that scenario, since KD’s been here anyway. So we had some strange combinations, and it’s good for our team.”

Yes it is. Even if it looks bad sometimes. As Kerr noted, his Warriors were absolutely horrible in closing out quarters against the Kings. If you combine the last 2:25 of the first quarter, the last 2:44 of the second, the last 1:58 of the third and the final 3:10 of the fourth, Sacramento outscored Golden State 32-2. Seriously. Bogdan Bogdanovich and Skal Labissiere.

It was one of those clunky games in which the Warriors’ focus tends to wander off like a child chasing a butterfly. But there was more to it.

“I thought some of that had to do with unfamiliar rotations and a lack of execution that resulted,” Kerr said. “So this is all part of our regular season, trying to figure all this stuff out, executing with different combinations, figure out what works, who works with whom, and get better as we go.”

The Warriors started the same five guys in the first 11 games of this season: Curry, Durant, Green, Klay Thompson and Zaza Pachulia. In the 10 games since then, though, Kerr has trotted out five other starting quintets. That includes Monday’s duct-taped crew of Green, Thompson, Pachulia, Patrick McCaw and Omri Casspi.

But the shape-shifting goes far beyond the starting lineup. Every timeout in the NBA, every foul and every 11-2 run (in either direction) is a possible substitution, and Kerr isn’t bashful about it.

Question for you: How many different five-man combos do you think the Warriors have employed in their 21 games this year? Consider that 15 different players have seen action for Golden State, and that 13 are active on any given night. Would you believe more than 200?

According to NBA Advanced Stats, Kerr has already shuffled and dealt his cards in 205 different groupings. That includes the Curry-Durant-Draymond-Klay-Zaza foundation, which has logged 182 minutes together.

But also rotations like Draymond-Klay-Livingston-McCaw-Looney and Durant-Klay-Iguodala-JaVale-Swaggy, each of which came and went in 1 minute.

Other teams have logged more combinations, but most of them are doormats desperately searching for the right formula. In the Warriors’ case, it’s pure luxury. They have fielded more combinations than the other five NBA teams with records of 13-7 or better, and among those, only the Celtics (188) are even close. The Rockets, the lone team in the Western Conference with a better mark than the Warriors, have played with just 114 lineups.

All of this stacks the deck in Kerr’s favor.

As I said, it will help him define his go-to rotations when the games become meaningful. Today’s Omri Casspi might be April’s Nick Young, and Kerr will feel better about his determinations if he has seen everybody play with everybody else.

More important, the postseason is fraught with unforeseen emergencies. Players get hurt. Shooters inexplicably go cold. Key defenders get in foul trouble. Those 205-and-counting combinations are insurance against the worst-case scenarios.

“This game is about feel and confidence,” Durant said. “You want everybody to be confident out there when they get a chance. Coach is really good at just letting everybody play to their strengths. It may not be the regular season, or January, February, but at some point everybody’s gonna get an opportunity to showcase what they got.”

He added: “It’s good for our team in the long run.”

There will be games when Kerr simply gives a starter a night off. In truth, he’d probably like to do this every other night. But it’s an unpopular tactic, for good reason. NBA games are expensive. You can explain to the family of four from Petaluma that Steph Curry was a healthy scratch on their big night at the arena because the MVP needed a breather, but don’t expect them to accept the news happily.

It’s a lot easier for Kerr to justify when Durant and Curry have body parts wrapped in athletic tape. So nice work, Warriors, and keep those sprains and bruises coming.

You can reach columnist Phil Barber at 707-521-5263 or phil.barber@pressdemocrat.com. Follow him on Twitter: @Skinny_Post.

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