Rewind: 'It'll mean everything' to McGee if he makes Warriors

Rewind: 'It'll mean everything' to McGee if he makes Warriors

LAS VEGAS – On a night when Klay Thompson torched every defender he saw and Kevin Durant dazzled a sellout crowd, the most satisfying sight for the Warriors and their fans was JaVale McGee throwing down dunks and rejecting shots.

The world knows what Thompson can do, and it has long been aware of Durant’s offensive wizardry. McGee is another matter entirely.

The NBA is curious about the 7-foot center. It has questions about him. It’s waiting to see if the Warriors can prod McGee into unlocking the best of what he has to offer.

He provided a few glimpses Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena, a few steps off the Vegas strip, where the Warriors put away the Lakers early and hung on for a 112-107 victory that pushed their preseason win streak to four.

There were the two blocked shots that wowed the crowd. There were the 12 points in 14 minutes, on 6-of-10 shooting. And there was the dunk.

Or perhaps we should say The Dunk, for it was the most emphatic highlight of the evening, a massacre of the defense put forth by Lakers forward Thomas Robinson that brought most of the audience, including the Warriors, out of their seats.

“He did some great things,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “That dunk was obviously spectacular.”

Rookie guard Pat McCaw dribbling along the right baseline, whistled a pocket pass to McGee, who grabbed the ball while rolling toward the rim and with his right hand flushed it over a leaping Robinson, giving the Warriors a 108-96 lead with 3:40 left.

“Earlier in the game, I wasn’t rolling as aggressively and coach (assistant Jarron Collins) told me to keep rolling,” McGee said. “So I rolled, and Pat passed it to me and I went up and dunked it. It was just a dunk.”

It wasn’t "just a dunk," and McGee knew it. He paused upon landing to admire his work, before hustling back on defense to block an Anthony Brown jumper 13 seconds later.

This is the kind of sequence that has made McGee so intriguing throughout his eight-year career. He is that rare 7-footer capable of chasing down shooters and also vaulting into the stratosphere to power down lobs.

He also has played for four different teams, with mixed results. Waived in July by the Mavericks, McGee was shopping for a team before signing a non-guaranteed contract with the Warriors two weeks before training camp.

“He’s so athletic,” Kerr said. “We’re just trying to give him a chance and get him comfortable and see what he can do, and we’ll see how it all goes.”

McGee, 28, realizes he is running out of opportunities. He hopes to make enough of an impression on the contending Warriors to nab their final available roster spot.

“It’ll mean everything,” he said. “I’m definitely trying to bring my talents here and help the squad win another championship. That’s all I’m really focused on, doing whatever I have to do to be the one that helps them.”

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.”