Mike Brown takes notice after McCaw puts on display in replacing Iguodala

Mike Brown takes notice after McCaw puts on display in replacing Iguodala

OAKLAND -- The veterans among the Warriors have spent much of this season imploring Pat McCaw to fully unveil, to bring to games what he so often brings to practices, and the rookie guard/forward met that request Tuesday night.

With Andre Iguodala sidelined with soreness in his left knee, acting head coach Mike Brown, following the recommendation of ailing head coach Steve Kerr, turned to McCaw to fill some of the vacuum in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals against the Spurs.

“Steve suggested that we put Patty in Andre's place and it made sense, especially with (Spurs star forward Kawhi Leonard) not playing tonight,” Brown said. “And he stepped up and had a big game for us.”

McCaw delivered a line very much like one that might be submitted by Iguodala: a career postseason-high 18 points, five assists, three steals and three rebounds in 27 minutes. He was plus-19 as the Warriors rolled to a 136-100 win.

“He was amazing,” Stephen Curry said. “Obviously with Andre out, it was the next-man-up philosophy. Everybody says it. But when you have a guy like Pat who doesn't really know when his minutes are going to come, he always stays ready.”

McCaw has been the plug-in man for much of the season, starting at various times for Klay Thompson or Kevin Durant, whose calf injury influenced Brown/Kerr to play McCaw over four games in the first round against Portland.

With Durant back for the conference semifinals against Utah, another four-game sweep by the Warriors, McCaw played a total of nine minutes and never left the bench in Game 3.

He also didn’t leave the bench Saturday in Game 1 against the Spurs.

So the Spurs could not have known what was coming when McCaw entered with 5:06 left in the first quarter, about when Iguodala typically enters. McCaw neither shot nor scored in that quarter, but began making an offensive impact in the second quarter, hitting his first shot, a 3-pointer, and then his second, driving to the rim.

“We've all seen him shoot in practice,” Brown said. “He can shoot the ball, especially if you're going to give him time like that. He can do a lot of things offensively. Yeah, when he first came into the game, he passed a couple of shots, and I just don't think he realized that he was going to be that wide open.”

McCaw was 6-of-8 from the field, including 3-of-4 from deep, and the 21-year-old product of UNLV made all three of his free throws.

“The biggest thing for him was his aggressiveness,” Curry said. “If you get an open shot, take it. Make or miss, that's a good shot for us. Understanding the moment, when he gets the ball in his hands, just, you know, make the right decision, be aggressive, like I said, and try to make things happen.

“So he did that all game, and that was huge a huge pickup for us, obviously, with Andre out. And he'll probably get a lot more minutes down the stretch of this series, and he hopefully can continue to do the same.”

McCaw has been something of a project for Iguodala, who sees some of himself in the rookie. The two often spend extra time after practice working out together.

“I take bits and pieces from everybody’s game,” McCaw said. “So I take it as a compliment being compared to Andre. I take stuff from Andre, I take stuff from Klay and I take stuff from Draymond (Green).

“All the players on our team, I try to contribute to my own game.”

McCaw never looked better than on Tuesday night, when he came out of the shadows to light the Spurs.

Casspi defends his spot on Warriors, explains why he's not worried about being cut


Casspi defends his spot on Warriors, explains why he's not worried about being cut

OAKLAND -- Like much of the NBA and everyone with an interest in the Warriors, Omri Casspi has watched the emergence of Quinn Cook, who came out of the G-League and is making a strong bid to make the postseason roster.

Casspi, out since spraining his right ankle last Friday against Sacramento, happens to be at or near the top of the list of the tiny group of players that might be dropped should the Warriors decide to add Cook.

The 6-foot-9 veteran forward has heard the chatter.

“First of all, it’s you guys talking,” Casspi said, referring to media. “I don’t really feel it from the organization. At the end of the day, I’m focused on getting healthy and playing. That’s all I can control.

“I feel like the team needs me and know what I can do for the team. My focus is on getting healthy and playing.”

The Warriors have until April 11 to submit their playoff roster.

Casspi’s roster spot is in danger for three reasons.

One, he has lost confidence in his long-distance shooting, which was influential in the team’s decision to sign him to a one-year minimum contract last July.

Two, his defense has been a glaring weakness, with teams attacking him at every opportunity.

Three, he had fallen out of the rotation when the team was fully healthy and didn’t return until after succession of injuries. Casspi exceeded 10 minutes of playing time in only one of the 12 games before injuries to several teammates became a factor.

Stephen Curry’s ankle woes this season, along with Cook’s impressive play, are making a persuasive argument for adding the third-year point guard.

For now, Casspi is determined to get back on court after missing the last two games.

“With my role on this team, when I’m healthy I want to go out there and play, maybe not 100 percent healthy, but close to it,” he said. “That’s what I’m focused on, on feeling good and running up and down and being able to cut and move and be out there again with the guys.”

As Warriors inch closer to full health, Kerr provides update on Durant, Klay


As Warriors inch closer to full health, Kerr provides update on Durant, Klay

OAKLAND -- Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson all worked up sweat Wednesday, putting the Warriors ever closer to being whole again.

Only Draymond Green did not full participate in the non-contact practice session, but he’s expected back in a matter of days.

So while the Warriors are a little more than a week away from possibly having the full squad available, they’re starting to feel a little less vulnerable.

“They’re all kind of day-to-day,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “Steph is closer to playing than KD and Klay.”

Curry has not played since March 8, when he tweaked his surgically repaired right ankle. He missed the last six games. Durant (rib cartilage injury) and Thompson (right thumb sprain) sustained their injuries on March 11 at Minnesota, though Durant played one more game, March 14, before receiving a diagnosis. Durant missed the last three games, Thompson the last four.

Green sustained a pelvic contusion Monday night at San Antonio, but believes he will be available this weekend, either Friday against Atlanta or Sunday against Utah.

Curry, though, is fully cleared for all activities.

“Steph looks great,” Kerr said. “He’s chomping at the bit. But we’ll see how he responds in the next couple days before we decide whether he plays or not.”

Durant loathes acknowledging pain or injuries, and his return will be dictated by his ability with withstanding the contact inevitable in the course of a game.

“I don’t expect KD to play this week,” Kerr said. “It’s not like a timetable . . . just sort of a feel thing. It’s symptomatic with him.”

Thompson seems, at this point, the furthest away from full activity.

“Klay did some stuff," Kerr said, “but not full participation.”