Jonas Jerebko

Jonas Jerebko's buzzer-beater didn't surprise Warriors: 'He's fearless'

Jonas Jerebko's buzzer-beater didn't surprise Warriors: 'He's fearless'

OAKLAND -- The Warriors' victory over the Bulls Friday night was all but decided by the end of the first half, if not earlier. But considering the arena-wide excitement upon the sound of the first-quarter buzzer, you wouldn't have known it.

That buzzer, of course, sounded just before a half-court buzzer-beater from Jonas Jerebko fell through the net, and yes, the bank was open.

It was the latest highlight in Jerebko's Warriors' reel, which, for having only been with Golden State for half a season, is well populated.

Jerebko cemented his spot on his teammates' good side when he tipped in a game-winner against the Jazz in Utah in the second game of the season. On Friday, he may have done the same in the hearts of the home crowd.

After Jerebko banked in his halftime buzzer-beater, he soon found himself on the floor after colliding with an overly excited Stephen Curry in celebration. But the raucous ovation that reverberated around the arena was a clear sign the fan base has fully embraced the Warriors' new cult hero.

Those fans may not have known what the Warriors were getting when Jerebko signed as a free agent at the beginning of the offseason. Their coach, however, is not the least bit surprised by what Jerebko's been able to contribute through the first half of the season.

"I've watched him throughout his career," Steve Kerr said of Jerebko following the blowout victory. "I've always liked his game and I thought he would fit right in with what we do because he knows how to play ... he's having a really good year for us.

"He's not one of those guys that's afraid of anything," Kerr continued, "he doesn't care about missed shots, he's going to keep firing, and he'll take the halfcourt shot, too. So, it was fun to see that go in."

Curry -- who knows a thing or two about long distance buzzer-beaters -- echoed Kerr's sentiment.

"I'm not surprised at all," Curry said following a game in which he moved up to third place on the NBA's all-time 3-point list. "I was excited about that signing from the jump in the summer, understanding what he can provide. He's physical, he's confident from behind the line, making plays, making his threes.

"He's just fearless. You can count on him night in, night out to be out there, put his body on the line, move the ball, play the right way. I know he's still continuing to get comfortable and understand how he can be most effective out there on the floor, but he's been great for us. A huge catalyst in some big wins we've had, and can only expect that to continue, for sure."

Jerebko has already proven to be one of the more underrated free agent signings across the league this season, and he's outplaying the contract he signed. He's only spent 42 regular season games in a Golden State uniform, so the notion that he can be even more effective than he has already been is not out of the question.

As for feeling more comfortable, well, he should feel right at home at Oracle Arena after that ovation Friday night. Of course, a few more buzzer-beaters couldn't hurt.

Warriors road trip redux: Inside observations from Portland, Phoenix

Warriors road trip redux: Inside observations from Portland, Phoenix

The Warriors went 10-5 in December, ending 2018 with wins in Portland and Phoenix. Here’s what happened on their latest road trip ...

The shots fell Saturday at the Rose Garden. The Warriors won by 10 points and got a bust-out game from Klay Thompson, who scored 32 points. He was 4 of 5 on threes, and at one point, he spoke to his shooting hand, saying “I missed you.”

I heard Klay asked for about 15 tickets for the game. He likes Portland, and I saw his mom and one of his brothers at the game. His parents met at a gym on the University of Portland campus. Oregon also is Pac 12 territory, and plenty of people in Washington State University gear shouted their support for Klay.

There also was a cool moment for the Curry brothers, who swapped jerseys after the game. It’s a big deal for their families to see Steph and Seth on the court together in games when they're both healthy.

The team left Portland right after the game and arrived in Phoenix after 3 a.m. local time. Practice was optional Sunday, and the majority of players relaxed. Some happened to find a golf course.

Game day was Monday, the last day of 2018. So, why not soak in nature’s beauty with a sunrise hike? It’s not often that I see sunrise hours. I joined a small group of Warriors staff and family for a climb up the Cholla Trail on Camelback Mountain.

Leading up to the New Year, I asked around for some New Year’s resolutions. Steve Kerr, Shaun Livingston and Damian Jones said they don’t make them. Livingston said, in general, he tries to work on his weaknesses year round. Andre Iguodala said, “Die peacefully.” Livingston added, “We need to get healthy as a nation.”

Jonas Jerebko came right out with his resolution, saying he needs to eat less Swedish candy.

“I will give you an address when we get to L.A.," he said. "They have a candy store ... and then you’ll understand what I’m talking about."

The game featured a season-high 10 points for Jordan Bell on 5-of-5 shooting, plus six rebounds. Afterward, Jordan joined Tim Roye for a radio interview, and relaxed nearly horizontal on top of the scorer's table. I was about five seconds too late to get a good picture.

Everyone quickly cleared out of the locker room to get a move on for New Year’s Eve. In the postgame line for food, a coach pointed out that Steph led the team with nine rebounds. Steph asked me, “Did we talk about rebounds in our interview?” I said no. But I have a feeling we’ll be talking to Steph in 2019, and I can ask him then.

Warriors-Lakers watch guide: Lineups, injuries, player usage

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Warriors-Lakers watch guide: Lineups, injuries, player usage

OAKLAND -- Though the JaVale McGee ring presentation has been postponed, there will be no shortage of familiar faces sharing the court with the Warriors on Christmas Day.

The Lakers, now led by longtime Warriors adversary LeBron James and coached by ex-Warriors assistant Luke Walton, are coming to Oracle Arena. It’s James’ first visit to Oakland since he signed with LA last July.

Pregame coverage on NBC Sports Bay Area begins at 3:30 p.m. with Warriors Outsiders, followed by SportsNet Central at 4. Tipoff for the ABC/ESPN telecast is scheduled for 5.

This is the sixth consecutive Christmas Day game for the Warriors (23-11), and their fourth in a row with James as an opponent. The three previous holiday matchups came when James was a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

[RELATED: How LeBron is XMas gift that keeps on giving for Warriors]

The Warriors, coming off a 129-127 win over the Clippers on Sunday, have won eight of their last 10 games.

The Lakers (19-14) have lost three of their last four, most recently taking a 107-99 setback to the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday in LA.

PROJECTED LINEUPS

Warriors

F Kevin Durant
F Draymond Green
C Kevon Looney
G Klay Thompson
G Stephen Curry

Lakers

F LeBron James
F Kyle Kuzma
C Ivica Zubac
G Brandon Ingram
G Lonzo Ball

INJURY REPORT

Warriors: F Kevin Durant (left ankle sprain) is listed as probable. C DeMarcus Cousins (left Achilles’ tendon rehab), G Jacob Evans (left foot contusion) and C Damian Jones (left pectoral surgery) are listed as out.

Lakers: C Tyson Chandler (back spasms) is listed as questionble. F Michael Beasley (personal) and C JaVale McGee (respiratory infection) are listed as out.

ROTATION OUTLOOK

Warriors: Coach Steve Kerr changed his starting lineup Sunday, inserting Green at C and Jonas Jerebko PF. With Zubac, at 7-foot-1, starting at C for LA, it’s possible that Jerebko could get a second straight start, sending Looney to the bench.

Durant tweaked his ankle Sunday against the Clippers but insisted he was “good” and is expected to play.

Curry had his first zero-turnover game of the season against the Clippers.

PG Shaun Livingston and F Alfonzo McKinnie were subpar last time out but rarely have consecutive poor games.

After 12 consecutive games in which he played at least 10 minutes, C/F Jordan Bell has played only 12 minutes over the last three games combined and got a DNP-CD against the Clippers.

Lakers: With McGee and Chandler coping with back spasms, the Lakers are forced to play a lot of “small ball,” which suits their offense but not their defense.

Despite a desire to reduce James’ minutes in his 16th season, he’s averaging 35.1 per game, 11th in the NBA.

Ingram, at 6-9, appears to have replaced Kentavious Caldwell-Pope as the starting SG. The Lakers reportedly have made KCP available in trade.

Kuzma has been superb this month, averaging 21.7 points (50.6 pct FG), 6.6 rebounds and 3.5 assists.

This is the 20th consecutive Christmas Day game for the Lakers. The franchise has 22 wins on Christmas, tied with the Knicks for No.1 all time.