Jonas Jerebko

Positives, negatives from Warriors' back-to-back vs. Clippers, Hawks

Positives, negatives from Warriors' back-to-back vs. Clippers, Hawks

OAKLAND -- The Warriors on Tuesday completed the third of 12 back-to-back sets that they will have this season, and this one might have a lasting impact.

There are few moments to remember and many to regret, most notably the blow-up between Kevin Durant and Draymond Green on Monday night.

Here are two positives and two negatives culled from splitting the two games, a loss to the Clippers in Los Angeles and a win over the Hawks in Oakland:

POSITIVES

The bench didn’t waver

With Stephen Curry missing both games and Green missing the second while on suspension, the Warriors needed a boost from their reserves. They generally got what they wanted.

The bench scored 39 points on 68.2 percent shooting against the Clippers. It was the starters' 77 points on 40.3 percent shooting that failed the test.

Against the Hawks, the bench didn’t shoot as well, perhaps because two reserves -- Quinn Cook and Jonas Jerebko -- were in the starting lineup. Cook and Jerebko combined for 32 points (46.4 percent), 17 rebounds and eight assists.

If Cook and Jerebko keep making shots and stretching the floor, the Warriors will benefit.

Iguodala’s shot looks niiice

If there is a sense the Oracle Arena crowd holds its collective breath every time Andre Iguodala hoists a 3-pointer, it’s because it does.

When he misses, and sometimes badly, there is a groan.

[RELATED: Iguodala references Kobe-Shaq when asked about Draymond-KD beef]

When they go in, there is plenty of extra hearty in the cheer.

These days, they’ve been going in. Iguodala, the team’s multi-skilled Sixth Man, scored 22 points, on 8-of-12 shooting, including 4-of-5 from deep, over the last two games.

Since missing his first eight shots from beyond the arc, Iguodala is 8 of 14. That’s 57.1 percent. He won’t maintain that pace -- nobody does -- but that scoring boost is particularly timely with Curry out.

NEGATIVES

The Green-Durant quarrel

The Warriors can’t hide this one. They can’t deny it. Durant and Green squabbled in plain sight Monday night, with teammates trying to soothe each of them.

With the score tied and about five seconds remaining in regulation, Green yanked down a rebound. Durant was a few feet away pleading for the ball. Green ignored him and went dribbling up the court. He committed a turnover, the Warriors did not get off a shot, and the game went into overtime, with Durant fouling out and Golden State fading over the final minutes.

That led to the dispute on the bench that carried over into the locker room. It also prompted the Warriors to suspend Green for conduct detrimental to the team.

This might be the biggest tiff yet involving Green, a firebrand that injects energy and enthusiasm but in this instance might have become too abrasive for the general good.

Will it have any lasting effect? If comments made by players and coaches are any indication, it possibly will.

Young bigs struggling on the glass

The Warriors determined this was the year they’d go away from a veteran center rotation and turn things over to the three youngsters: Jordan Bell, Damian Jones and Kevon Looney. Results have been mixed.

One element that has been fairly consistently disappointing is rebounding. Bell played just 13 minutes over the last two games and grabbed three. Looney played 45 minutes and grabbed seven. He has been the best rebounder of the group.

Jones has started every game. In 32 minutes over last two games, he had six rebounds. His season high is six. He has had eight games with three or fewer boards.

The Warriors need them to be better.

Warriors' bench coming into its own on early season road trip

Warriors' bench coming into its own on early season road trip

While cameras and eyeballs follow the wondrous exploits of Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant, as well as the struggles of Klay Thompson, the Warriors could be onto something on the opposite end of their roster.

The defending NBA champions might have an effective bench and, moreover, perhaps their most versatile yet under coach Steve Kerr.

The young big men -- Jordan Bell and Kevon Looney -- are doing well in replacing David West and Zaza Pachulia. Jonas Jerebko, the veteran big man brought in over the summer, has been productive. Alfonzo McKinnie, the newly discovered combo forward, has been a valuable addition.

They all played a role in a 120-114 win over the Nets on Sunday at Barclays Center. Curry scored 35 points and Durant had 34, but nothing was more encouraging than the reserves' contributions.

“Our bench is starting to round into form,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr told reporters in Brooklyn. “I love what Jonas did tonight. I thought ‘Zo was really good as well. We can always trust Looney. We’re playing a lot of people, and I’m really proud of everybody for being ready to play.”

This was the second consecutive game in which the Warriors' bench made a positive impact, and the second in a row in which every reserve posted a plus rating. Insofar as this is one of the areas in question at the dawn of the season, it comes as a welcome sign.

It’s McKinnie, though, that has been the pleasant discovery. While Jerebko is a veteran and Looney and Bell were on the championship team last season, McKinnie came to camp without any guarantees, simply hoping to make the roster but prepared to play in the G League.

“A lot of teams are going to put him in the scouting report now,” Durant said.

“I’m surprised,” Kerr said. “We knew he was athletic from the first day of training camp. But he’s come a long way offensively pretty quickly.”

McKinnie scored nine points (4-of-5 shooting) in 17 minutes on Sunday, adding five rebounds, one steal and an impressive chase-down block of Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie at the rim. Over his last four games, totaling 51 minutes, McKinnie has 26 points (11-of-16 shooting, including 3 of 6 from deep) and 18 rebounds.

“He’s getting more confident shooting the 3,” Durant observed. “We want him to be aggressive; we don’t care who shoots the ball, as long as it’s a good shot. And he’s knocking that thing down. Hopefully, it continues. We’ve got to support him and encourage him every minute he’s on the floor, because he’s one of those guys that can be in the league for a while.”

McKinnie’s journey is nothing less than inspirational. He attended two colleges (Eastern Illinois for two years, Wisconsin-Green Bay for two more), and has done multiple stints in the G League, as well as played in Mexico and Luxembourg.

Now, at age 26, he appears to have found his way into the NBA for good.

If McKinnie has been the unexpected treasure, Jerebko is shaping up as the answer to several needs, most notably as big man with a natural 3-point shooting touch.

After totaling eight points and seven rebounds Friday against the Knicks -- and posting a team-best plus-34 in 19 minutes -- Jerebko came up with four points, six rebounds and two assists in 15 minutes Sunday.

“Jerebko was great tonight,” Kerr said. “He’s really had a good start to the season. He’s tough, rebounds well and sets good screens. His ability to step out and make a 3-point shot is important as well.”

Jerebko, at 6-foot-10, can spell Draymond Green at power forward or fill in at center if needed. His effort already has paid dividends; Jerebko’s game-winning tip-in Oct. 19 at Utah was one of the most memorable plays of the early season.

With Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, Bell, Jerebko, Looney and McKinnie, the Warriors can go 11 deep with confidence. That wasn't always the case last season, or the year before.

Between the decision to stagger usage of Curry and Durant after the first quarter and having Jerebko and McKinnie capable of dropping triples, the Warriors’ search for scoring and activity off the bench might be over.

“We can play better, but I like the direction we’re heading,” Kerr said. “We feel like we’re getting better as we go, and our bench is starting to solidify. We’re starting to see combinations and patterns that work. I like where our team is right now.”

Klay Thompson reminds Jazz they cut Jonas Jerebko after buzzer beater

Klay Thompson reminds Jazz they cut Jonas Jerebko after buzzer beater

Minutes after Jonas Jerebko broke his former teammates' hearts with a game-winning, buzzer-beating tip-in on Friday night, Warriors guard Klay Thompson reminded the Utah Jazz of something.

The Jazz could have kept the 31-year-old Swede ... not that they needed another reminder. 

Utah waived Jerebko on July 7, one year after he signed a two-year contract with the team. Five days later, his deal with the Warriors was official.

Jerebko played just under 24 minutes against his old club, scoring 10 points (on 4-of-5 shooting), with six rebounds, a steal, and an assist.  His ninth and tenth points -- and his sixth rebound -- were the difference on Friday. 

The Jazz got more salary-cap space when they cut him, but Jerebko got the last laugh on Friday.