Warriors

Jonas Jerebko solidifies rotation spot with career-high in Warriors' win

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Jonas Jerebko solidifies rotation spot with career-high in Warriors' win

 

OAKLAND -- Even as the Warriors say they knew what they were getting when they signed Jonas Jerebko to a veteran’s minimum contract in July, they were not sure.

Their summary, in short: 6-foot-10 power forward, good shooter and rebounder, plays hard, playing time will vary wildly from game to game.

Shred the last nine words. They no longer apply.

Jerebko has jammed himself into the rotation, become a staple among the bench corps and his performance in a 120-116 win over Dallas on Saturday provided an illustration of why his minutes do not vary wildly.

Jerebko delivered 23 points -- a career-high -- on 10-of-12 shooting, including 2-of-4 from deep, along with six rebounds, three assists and one steal. All in 21 minutes.

“He had several plays that just got the crowd into it with his hustle,” coach Steve Kerr said. “He gave us a huge lift off the bench. It was a great night for him.”

Jerebko is making a habit of contributing what’s needed, often with rebounding but particularly with scoring. He has scored in double figures in seven of the last 11 games, averaging 11.4 points per game during that stretch.

Moreover, Jerebko has played at least 20 minutes in 19 consecutive games.

“That’s what I’m in the gym for every day,” Jerebko said. “I want to get consistent minutes, so that’s why I’m in the gym working and showing what I can do, just playing my butt off every night to get to that point. I’m going to keep doing that and keep helping this team win.”

The guy who wasn’t projected to get regular playing time leads all Warriors reserves in minutes and has played more minutes than any Warrior not named Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson or Stephen Curry.

Jerebko, a ninth-year veteran, often is the first reserve to enter, replacing either Kevon Looney or Draymond Green in the first quarter. On this night, he owned the pivotal third quarter, scoring nine points on 4-of-4 shooting and grabbing two rebounds in six minutes.

[RELATED: Draymond rediscovers 3-point stroke, lets Mavs know it]

The Warriors, down three at the half, took a seven-point lead into the fourth quarter. Jerebko earned the standing ovation he got when he exited with 6:39 remaining.

“He’s a big part of what we do,” Curry said. “He’s very versatile in terms of what he can offer. He can shoot the ball really well and he’s pretty smart on defense in being in the right position and sacrificing his body. On the offensive end, he just tries to make the right play at all times.

“The ball is moving and hopping and he knows that if it’s an open shot, take it, and if not, move it along and set a good screen and get it back. He’s really implemented himself into what we do.”

Those regular minutes won’t be going away anytime soon. Two months into the season, Jerebko -- who was released by Utah last summer -- has outperformed projections and become a regular on a championship team.

The Warriors didn’t see this coming, but now they’re taking all they can get.

How Lakers assistant coach's game plan led to rout of Warriors on Christmas

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How Lakers assistant coach's game plan led to rout of Warriors on Christmas

Even with an injured LeBron James, the Warriors couldn't come back against the Lakers on Christmas Day, losing 127-101 in a crushing defeat on their home court. 

The result wasn't just from what happened on the floor, though. It all started with a game plan from Lakers assistant coach Jesse Mermuys. 

Really, the plan was quite simple, and it worked to perfection. Mermuys has been responsible for scouting the Warriors all season long and had a clear message for the Lakers -- guard Steph Curry, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson as tightly as possible. Don't worry about anyone else. 

"I just remember Jesse being really excited at about 8 o'clock in the morning," Lakers point guard Rajon Rondo told ESPN. "He told me he thought he had figured out a great game plan and 7-8 hours later, it turned into the truth."

The trio combined to score for a measly 41 points, averaging under 14 each in the loss. As a whole, the Warriors only shot 40.9 percent from the field and the three All-Stars didn't receive any help. Draymond Green, a fourth All-Star, only made two shot and scored five points. 

That game plan won't be quite as easy for the Lakers on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, especially as they play without James, Rondo and Lonzo Ball. Sure, Los Angeles will hound that same trio of scorers, but now there's a fifth All-Star to add to the mix. 

DeMarcus Cousins brings a big-man presence the Warriors have lacked for years. He scored 14 points in his team debut on Saturday, including three 3-pointers. 

As the Warriors seek revenge for the Christmas Day meltdown, they've looked better than ever winning seven straight. Good luck, Lakers. 

MLK's words resonate with DeMarcus Cousins, who has Dr. King tattoo

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MLK's words resonate with DeMarcus Cousins, who has Dr. King tattoo

LOS ANGELES -- Monday is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and DeMarcus Cousins carries Dr. King's legacy with him closely. The Warriors center has MLK, Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali tattooed on his right leg.

Cousins grew up in Alabama. That’s where four little girls were murdered by the KKK in a church bombing. That’s where Dr. King wrote his Letter from a Birmingham Jail.

“I appreciate what he preaches," Cousins said Sunday. "I’m not really a guy that gets caught up in color or race or anything like that. At the end of the day, we’re all the human beings race. I don’t think there’s any superior color. There’s no reason we can’t all get along.

"That’s basically what (MLK) was preaching. It’s not about black, white, blue, green. ... Just finding that peace and happiness from one another and getting along. We’re all born the same, and we all die the same.”

Cousins added this “getting along” idea must come with accountability and reconciling with racism in America.

“People want to move on ... but you also have to recognize the damage that’s already been done and the damage that’s been put in place now, the generations it’s affecting,” he explained. “Everyone wants to move on, but there’s some groundwork that needs to be done.”

“We get a month,” Cousins half-laughed about Black History Month in February. “We’re still the minority race. We’re still struggling. There are still a lot of odds against us coming up. I don’t think there’s been a lot of accountability so far.”