We’re beginning to see why Warriors coach Steve Kerr said prior to training camp that he would be comfortable giving playing time to rookie wing Patrick McCaw.
The UNLV’s latest preseason audition was perhaps his most impressive, scoring 18 points in 27 minutes Friday night to lead the Warriors to a comeback that ended with a 129-128 overtime win over the Nuggets at Pepsi Center in Denver.
After draining a 3-pointer to tie the game at 112-112 with 1.1 seconds remaining in regulation, McCaw came back to hit a floater to win the game at the buzzer in OT.
“I don’t know how many games in my life where a guy hits a game-tying 3 in regulation and then a game-winner at the buzzer,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr told reporters in Denver. “That doesn’t happen.
“This guy is a rookie second-round pick. There’s something about him. He can play, and we’re excited about him.”
McCaw was 6-of-10 from the floor, including 4-of-6 from beyond the arc. The 6-foot-7 guard/forward rounded out his game with six rebounds, two assists and a steal.
Nothing, however, was more impressive than his composure in the clutch. It’s one thing to take a 3-pointer out of a scramble to tie the game, quite another to take the ball down by a point and drop in a game-winner at the buzzer.
“The play was called for me to get open and get the ball,” McCaw said. “Coach gave us a great play, and we executed it properly.”
Though McCaw was the clear MVP of the game, the Warriors also got a lift from second-year forward Kevon Looney, who grabbed a team-high-tying nine rebounds to help the reserves overcome a 12-point deficit in the final eight minutes of regulation.
“Looney was really good tonight,” Kerr said. “He played 14 straight minutes, which may not sound like much but this is a guy who has had two hip surgeries and didn’t play much at all last year. With his conditioning, he’s kind of made a breakthrough.”
Yet this night belonged to McCaw, scored 10 of the team’s 15 points over the final 4:07 of OT and continues to draw rave reviews from coaches and teammates.
“We’ve been most impressed with his intelligence and his feel for the game,” Kerr said. “I didn’t know he was that explosive. He can make 3s, but he sort of took over with his shooting and his rebounding. That ‘s the first time we’ve seen that kind of explosiveness out of him. That was impressive.”
Stephen Curry scored a game-high 22 points and took down nine rebounds, tying Looney. More important, Curry, coming off an illness that forced him to miss two practices, played 27 minutes, tying McCaw for the team high.
The Warriors were beaten on the glass (60-52), but managed to curtail their turnovers, committing only 16, the lowest through four preseason games.
Klay Thompson scored 17 points on 7-of-12 shooting, while also ringing up three assists, his first of the preseason.