Warriors

DeMarcus Cousins wins Steve Kerr over with passionate plea for more minutes

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AP

DeMarcus Cousins wins Steve Kerr over with passionate plea for more minutes

DeMarcus Cousins stopped short of throwing a tantrum late in the Warriors’ 117-107 win over the Suns on Friday night, perhaps because Rick Celebrini, the team’s director of sports medicine, stepped in before it reached that point.

With the Warriors leading 101-94 and 5:46 remaining, Cousins had reached his 25-minute limit and coach Steve Kerr was ready to plop the big man on the bench.

Cousins wasn’t ready to sit. Didn‘t want to sit. He’s tired of sitting, even though he’s still working on his timing and conditioning after a one-year layoff to recover from surgery to repair his ruptured left Achilles’ tendon.

He wanted to play, so he let Kerr know.

“I just wanted to try to finish the game out strong,” Cousins told Warriors sideline reporter Kerith Burke. “We’re trying to stick to this minutes restriction. I’m like a defiant child right now when it comes to it.”

The Warriors, however, are trying to be careful. They want to keep Cousins’ playing time at about 25 minutes for now, with the plan to increase it in the weeks after the Feb. 14-20 All-Star break.

But the game was in the balance and Draymond Green, who often closes games at center, was unavailable after being ejected late in the third quarter.

So, it was Boogie Time.

[RELATED: Ask Kerith: KD, Boogie, Klay's futures can't be foretold]

“I was going to take him out at the six-minute mark,” Kerr told reporters in Phoenix, “and he said, ‘Please, do not do this.’ I asked Rick, and Rick said he’s good to go.

“I played him a couple more minutes, and then I didn’t feel comfortable extending him more than that eight-minute run. But by that time, he had done his job.”

When Cousins left the game with 3:45 remaining, after a season-high 27 minutes, he was replaced by Kevon Looney. The Warriors had a six-point lead.

“I just want to be out on the floor and help my team win games,” said Cousins, who in his ninth game as a Warriors finished with 18 points, five rebound and four assists. “So they let me play a couple extra minutes.

“I’m just happy to get a win.”

Warriors takeaways: What we learned in deflating 114-106 loss to Jazz

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USATSI

Warriors takeaways: What we learned in deflating 114-106 loss to Jazz

BOX SCORE

SALT LAKE CITY -- Warriors big man Marquese Chriss said his team was "tired of losing" during his halftime interview with NBC Sports Bay Area's Kerith Burke on Friday at Vivent Smart Home Arena.

Unfortunately for Chriss, the Warriors will have to wait at least two more days to erase their current skid, as Golden State lost 114-106 to the Jazz. 

Unlike most nights, the Warriors -- without Draymond Green and rookie Eric Paschall -- showed fight, taking a seven-point lead after the first quarter. However, a second-half Utah run doomed their chances as the Warriors' inability to finish crippled them once again. 

There are no moral victories in sports and the Warriors will take another loss back to the Bay Area. 

Here are the takeaways as the Warriors fell to 5-22 on the season: 

Fast start erased in one quarter

The Warriors have been immune to quick starts over the last week. On Friday, the trend changed. Through the first 24 minutes, Golden State outscored Utah 26-18 in the paint, while holding the Jazz to just 43 percent from the field. 

Utah's defense was out of sorts in the second quarter, as the Warriors built a 13-point lead. On one possession, Chriss blocked a shot on one end, ran the floor unguarded and received a pass wide open under the basket for an easy dunk. 

Then the third quarter happened.

Over the next 12 minutes the Warriors were outscored 37-28. Even when the Warriors fought back, a key missed dunk from Willie Cauley-Stein ended any hopes of a win. 

The Warriors have shown fight amid injuries, but the only mark of success is winning, a goal the team again couldn't accomplish in Utah. 

Alec Burks shines

Against his former team, Burks was effective, finishing with 24 points including two 3-pointers. Despite shooting just 41 percent from the field this season, Burks has shown the ability to carry Golden State's offense when needed. His downhill attack consistently puts the opponent on edge. 

The location of Burks' output is noteworthy. He spent eight years playing in Utah before injuries derailed his career. His affinity for the town was apparent from the time he walked into the building. Following his pregame workout, he spent most of his time exchanging pleasantries with former teammates and arena staff, causing a Warriors team official to jokingly ask, "When is Alec's statue going up?"

[RELATED: Burks wants to stay with Warriors]

Chriss shined despite scare

The first-year Warrior continued his reclamation bid, finishing with 12 points, adding 13 rebounds and two blocks in 23 minutes off the bench. 

Chriss had a slight scare in the third quarter when he knocked knees with a Jazz player contesting a layup. He was later diagnosed as a left knee contusion. 

Following a rough start to his career, Chriss has become a valuable piece to the transitional Warriors, providing rebounding and scoring off the bench. Friday was yet another example of his contributions.

Warriors' Kevon Looney gives up meat and gluten to combat neuropathy

Warriors' Kevon Looney gives up meat and gluten to combat neuropathy

In the summer of 2017, things clicked for Kevon Looney.

"I had to change my diet," the Warriors' big man revealed in March 2018. "Andre (Iguodala) was in my ear for two years about it. I finally listened to him and it paid off."

After registering career highs in nearly every statistical category last season, Looney was rewarded by the Warriors with a three-year contract worth $15 million.

Unfortunately, his 2019-20 campaign was derailed early in training camp because of a hamstring issue caused by a neuropathic condition he's been dealing with for a couple of years.

It turns out that another dietary change just might save Looney's career again.

As Ryan Gorcey of The Mercury News writes:

After he visited the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., last month, Looney ironed out a recovery plan. He went gluten-free and became a pescatarian (meat-free diets have been shown to help in many neuropathy cases). Kevin (Looney's father) served as Kevon’s personal chef, regularly cooking blackened catfish and baked salmon with vegetables and a side of potatoes.

Hopefully this makes the world of a difference for the 23-year-old.

[RELATEDWhy Dubs might be very active before, after trade deadline]

Since returning on Dec. 2, Looney is averaging just 3.4 points and 2.0 rebounds in 10.1 minutes. He doesn't yet look like the guy Warriors head coach Steve Kerr repeatedly called a "foundational piece" during last year's playoffs.

Perhaps things start to turn around for Looney on Friday night in Utah, as he is starting against the Jazz with Draymond Green and Eric Paschall both sidelined.

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