Warriors

Glenn Robinson taking advantage of opportunity with Warriors right now

Glenn Robinson taking advantage of opportunity with Warriors right now

SAN FRANCISCO -- Glenn Robinson III stepped onto a makeshift stage about 20 minutes after the Warriors' 100-97 loss to the Thunder on Wednesday night to discuss his latest impressive performance. 

For years, the stage has been reserved for the team's top performer. In the last week, Robinson's performances have more than fit the bill, but the guard's presence on the platform Wednesday evening served a bigger purpose. 

Through six years, he has played for four teams along the way, searching for an opportunity to represent for an organization that believes in his talent. 

At the moment, he's taking advantage of his current circumstance. In Wednesday's loss, he scored a career-high 25 points, including three 3-pointers, giving a glimpse of his potential.

Four minutes into the first quarter, he received a pass from point guard Ky Bowman, took one dribble and forcibly dunked the ball with two hands. A quarter later, he took a pass from Marquese Chriss, took another dribble and hit a jumper, putting the Warriors up seven points, helping the team take a six-point halftime lead. Late in the fourth quarter, he hit his third 3-pointer of the night, putting the Warriors up 10 points, giving the team a formidable shot to win its fourth game of the year. 

Robinson's big night was indicative of his last week. Over his last four games, he's averaged 12 points and 4.9 rebounds on 49 percent from the field, planting seeds for a breakout season. 

"He's having a great year for us," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said Monday evening. "He's a hell of a player and I'm very happy for him." 

Similar performances have been few and far between throughout Robinson's career. During his first five seasons in the league, he played for three teams. With the Pacers, he seemed to gain traction, shooting 39.3 percent from beyond the arc over a three-year stretch, earning a two-year, $8.3 million contract with the Detroit Pistons in 2018. 

However, Robinson struggled last season, averaging just 4.2 points and 1.5 rebounds per game as injuries limited him to 47 games. Worse, the Pistons decided to decline his option four months ago.

On the surface, the Pistons' decision made sense. A modestly-paid free agent didn't live up to expectations, leading to his dismissal. According to Robinson, though, the environment wasn't conducive to personal success. 

"There just wasn't an opportunity," he said to NBC Sports Bay Area. "They didn't believe in me, they didn't think I could defend. They thought that I was a four. They didn't really think that I could shoot. I think [head coach Dwane] Casey just got me there just because I was an open free-agent wing and I don't really know why they took me because they really didn't give me an opportunity to play." 

"I knew that I belonged in this league," he added. "I knew I could be a great defender, a good shooter, but when you don't get many opportunities and I'm already a guy that doesn't require plays so then it's like I'm running up and down the court when I did get in." 

More than a week after Detroit's decision, an olive branch was extended from the Bay Area, where the Warriors offered a two-year deal and a chance to revitalize his career in a winning environment.  

"It's one of the first opportunities on a team where I've gotten where you're happy to come inside every single day," Robinson said. "I've been on some teams where you're dreading almost to go in and coach walks in, you get uptight. Guys on the team get into it.

"Guys around here just have a positive attitude and that's what you want as a player." 

Robinson's introduction to the team's culture caught him by surprise. In one of the team's first film sessions, Kerr showed the team a video montage of defensive backs getting burned on deep passes in an effort to encourage his players to improve their transition defense. Additionally, Kerr offered a training camp that promoted instruction over exhaustion, discouraging a traditional 'two-a-day' structure. 

"That's when I knew it was more about teaching," Robinson said. "More about learning how to play basketball."

Robinson thrived in the system, averaging 8.8 points and 4.0 rebounds per game in the preseason to become the Warriors' starting small forward. Now, eight players out with injuries -- including All-Stars Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, D'Angelo Russell and Draymond Green -- Robinson is expected to continue his offensive output. 

"This team needs me to step up more and take more of those shots," Robinson said. "I just want to continue down that path." 

[RELATED: Ky Bowman learns harsh lesson from Chris Paul]

If Robinson's run of podium games continues, it could put the Warriors in a puzzle. The forward owns a player option this summer, opening the door for a big payday, a scenario he hopes comes to fruition in Golden State. 

"One of my goals coming in was to play as good as I can to let them make a decision about next year," he said. "And to be back here would be great."

Warriors takeaways: What we learned in 134-131 OT loss to Nuggets

Warriors takeaways: What we learned in 134-131 OT loss to Nuggets

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO -- Since the calendar flipped to 2020, the Warriors (9-33) have been searching for any sign of positively in a dormant season. They didn't find it Thursday night, losing to the Denver Nuggets 134-131 in overtime at Chase Center. 

The loss marked Golden State's 10th straight, as they fell to 0-9 in overtime games over the last two seasons. The Warriors led the majority of the night, taking a 19-point lead in the second half against the Nuggets (28-12) before squandering it in the fourth quarter. 

Michael Porter Jr. scored 18 points, including the go-ahead bucket with 1:16 to go in regulation. A minute later, Nikola Jokic hit a game-tying hook shot to send the game into overtime, leading to Golden State's latest demise.

Here are the takeaways from a disappointing loss:

Early defense gives way to second-half collapse. 

Golden State entered the game against the Nuggets with one of the worst defensive units in the league, allowing opponents to shoot 47 percent. On Thursday, they held the Nuggets to just 22.7 percent in the first quarter and forced two turnovers. By the end of the first half, Denver made just 15 of 49 (30.6 percent) from the field. 

Along the way, the Warriors outscored Denver in the paint and off the bench, building a 19-point lead. Then the Nuggets woke up, outscoring the 89-69 in the second half and overtime, using a 16-6 run to cut the lead to two in the fourth quarter. Before Porter's fourth-quarter layup, the Nuggets had not led all game. 

It was yet another disappointing turn of events for a Warriors team looking for any signs of development. 

Damion Lee returns with a bang

Lee has been waiting most of his career for a chance to play under a guaranteed deal. On Thursday, he made the most of his new status, finishing with 21 points and six assists in 37 minutes. 

Lee's importance to Golden State is apparent. During his 45 two-way days, he started 13 games, averaging 12.8 points over his last six outings. Upon return, Warriors coach Steve Kerr immediately put him in the starting lineup. 

Based on his new multi-year deal, the Warriors would like Lee to be a long-term piece. The plan was made possible by Lee's hard work. After two ACL tears, countless G League stints, and two two-way deals, he's finally on the long-term stage he deserves. 

Russell struggles again

D'Angelo Russell seemed primed for a tear after his 36-point performance last week in Memphis. After a 6-for-19 performance Thursday evening, those plans seem to be on pause. 

The result didn't seem likely in the first quarter, when Russell scored 10 points, including two 3-pointers in seven minutes. However, he shot 4-of-15 over the final three quarters and overtime. The sequence followed a recent theme for Russell, in which hot starts give way to puzzling finishes. In Tuesday's blowout loss to Dallas, he finished 5-of-17 from the field after making four of his first seven shots. 

Russell has the ability to go on large scoring binges. But with that strength comes occasional off-nights. If Russell can curtail the latter, the Warriors can be dangerous as long as he's on the roster. 

Klay Thompson shoots in full Warriors uniform on Chase Center court

Klay Thompson shoots in full Warriors uniform on Chase Center court

Just two days ago, injured Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson said he would "love to get out there" on the court with his teammates.

On Thursday, half of that declaration came true.

Thompson, who is rehabbing a surgically repaired torn left ACL, was out on the court at Chase Center shooting in full uniform.

Thompson was even sporting a headband. The shooting session lasted roughly 20 minutes.

Thompson spoke to the media before the Warriors game on Tuesday and provided an update on his recovery.

“It’s a tough part of the season,” Thompson said during halftime of the Warriors-Mavericks game. “It’s very rare for me not to be grinding through with them. But I’m trying to make sure this type of injury never happens to me again. So, I’ll be very patient because I want to play at a high level until I’m in my late-30s.”

[RELATED: Watch Klay shoot on Clippers hoop]

The Warriors and Thompson have yet to decide if the All-Star will return this season. The team is scheduled to provide an update on Thompson's status in mid-February.

While we wait for Thompson to return to game action, we can just enjoy watching his sweet stroke again in these short bursts.