Omri Casspi flooded with emotions after best game with Warriors: 'I'm loving it'


Omri Casspi flooded with emotions after best game with Warriors: 'I'm loving it'

OAKLAND -- Omri Casspi took a deep breath and paused and started talking and, honestly, seemed to be suppressing his emotions to keep them from tumbling out.

The veteran forward was moments removed from his most extended playing time as a member of the Warriors, 20 minutes in a 125-101 win over the Timberwolves on Wednesday night.

Casspi, 29, is a native of Israel who has been on six different NBA rosters, Sacramento to the west, Houston and New Orleans to the south, Cleveland to the east and Minnesota to the west. Now that he’s member of the Warriors, well, he seems downright grateful to be here and particularly appreciative to have Steve Kerr has his head coach.

Asked what it means to have a coach who spent his 15-year NBA career as a reserve and can share that kinship, Casspi needed a moment.

“Wow. I can’t even put it into words,” he said. “It’s the first time . . . he really knows how to get to me, coaching into my heart.

“As a player that comes into a team that obviously won championships, you know what you’re getting into, it’s really important for me as an individual that you have that relationship with your coach. And I feel like he really got to my heart. He keeps me going. He’s a very special human being . . . I’m enjoying this very much.”

That much was apparent Wednesday. He had submitted a fine line: 13 points, three rebounds, three blocks, two steals and one assist. He had played a total of 65 minutes over the first 11 games, and he was savoring the opportunity.

“I feel like it’s first time in my career, not to take anything from the different teams I’ve played with in the past,” he said, “but I feel like the way we play, our offense, our defense as well . . . I feel like I can play basketball and not think too much. Just play the game.”

For Casspi, that means moving without the ball and making slick passes on offense, while sneaking in and being a disruptive force on defense. He was plus-9 because he was effective at both ends.

So effective was Casspi that as he stood at the line to shoot free throws in the fourth quarter, as the Warriors were closing out the victory, he received “MVP” chants from the Oracle Arena crowd.

It’s enough to leave his coach beaming.

“On a night like this, it allows guys like Omri and Nick (Young) to step in there and get good minutes,” Kerr said. “It’s good for the team, it’s good for morale, it’s good for individual development.”

There is that kinship thing. Kerr is a big believer in communicating with all of his players, especially those who don’t have established roles and regular playing time. That was him 20 years ago, and he seems to excel at having a feel for backup players.

So Casspi, playing behind a championship team with established stars for the first time, is positively euphoric.

“I’m able to cut and do the stuff that role players should do,” he said. “I’m enjoying it, I’m loving it and I want to keep doing it. And keep going and play hard and do what I need to do.”

Durant rips referee after ejection against Knicks: 'He was searching for me'

Durant rips referee after ejection against Knicks: 'He was searching for me'

With 2:50 left in Tuesday's game against the Knicks, Kevin Durant was ejected.

It's the fourth time this season that he's been thrown out of a game.

After the Warriors' 123-112 win, Durant didn't bite his tongue when asked about what happened between him and referee James Williams.

"In the first half, I was dribbling up the right side, I made a left to right cross. He said I carried, ah, you kinda let that go. I asked him 'Where'd you get the carry from?' He said 'You froze the defender.' I said 'That's what a crossover is for.' And that's why I do it, to freeze my defender. And he tried to make a bunch of excuses and I told him he was wrong," Durant said. "He went to halftime probably with an attitude and the second half, his whole thing was, he's trying to get me. So, look at my first tech. I got the rebound, dribbled the ball hard and he teched me up. He was searching for me, he lookin' to try to tech me up to get me back because he's still in his feelings from the first half. That's what been going on around the league the whole year, a bunch of that. I gotta keep my head a little bit, but I was upset."

Draymond Green attempted to hold Durant back prior to the ejection. Durant was asked about that after the game and was able to laugh about it.

"The irony," Durant said to much laughter from reporters at Oracle.

"I was not trying to hear it. He was right in doing so. I didn't want to get teched up or thrown out,  but I did want him to hear what I had to say," Durant said.

Durant can expect to hear from the league office regarding his comments.

LeBron joins 30,000-point club with buzzer-beater vs Spurs


LeBron joins 30,000-point club with buzzer-beater vs Spurs

SAN ANTONIO — LeBron James has joined the NBA's 30,000-point club.

James became the seventh player with 30,000 career points when he hit a jumper with one second left in the first quarter of the Cleveland Cavaliers' game against the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday night.

James was recognized by the arena before the second quarter and got a standing ovation from Spurs fans. James patted his heard and said "thank you so much."

James needed seven points Tuesday to get there. He missed his first two midrange jumpers before making two driving layups and a 20-footer. He hit the milestone jumper over Danny Green from 19 feet out.

The 33-year-old James joined Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387 points), Karl Malone (36,928), Kobe Bryant (33,643), Michael Jordan (32,292), Wilt Chamberlain (31,419) and Dirk Nowitzki (30,808) on the list.

At 33 years and 24 days, James is the youngest to reach the mark. Bryant was 34 years and 104 days when he got there.

The 14-time All-Star has averaged 27.1 points since breaking into the league as an 18-year-old in 2003.