Warriors

Warriors Under Review: Bench comes to the rescue in victory over Suns

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USATSI

Warriors Under Review: Bench comes to the rescue in victory over Suns

When you’ve beaten an opponent 17 consecutive times, and that opponent on this particular night is ambivalent about winning, it’s easy to cozy up to complacency.

That would explain the performance of the Warriors on Friday night in Phoenix. They showed up expecting to tap dance on the heads of the Suns, only to discover the Suns weren’t in the mood for it.

It took the Warriors about 42 minutes to bring things to their natural order, achieving a 117-107 victory at Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix.

Here are some of the positives and negatives from the Warriors’ 11th consecutive road win and their 18th straight victory over the Suns:

 

POSITIVE

Bench brings the energy

The Warriors were off an atrocious start, down by 11 (18-7) six minutes after tipoff and by 17 (26-9) two minutes later. Enter Andre Iguodala, Kevon Looney, and Jonas Jerebko and, shortly thereafter, Quinn Cook, leaving Kevin Durant as the only starter. That group outscored the Suns 17-5 over the final four minutes – with an 11-0 finish. They did it with defense and hustle. They were playing to win.

The Suns didn’t exactly go away, but they never had another double-digit lead.

 

NEGATIVE

Rebounding fundamentals MIA

The total rebounding numbers were just fine, as the Warriors came away with a 49-48 advantage. But they spent way too much time standing flat-footed as various Phoenix players – Kelly Oubre Jr. in particular – ran around or jumped over them for offensive rebounds. The Suns had 14 in the first half but only five in the second half, after the Warriors woke up. That was enough for Phoenix to get up 20 more shots (101-81), resulting in 25 second-chance points.

Being indifferent on the defensive glass a dangerous game to play, and the Warriors got away with it because they were playing a team that made only 40 percent of its second-chance shots.

 

NEGATIVE

The return of Santa

The Warriors through most of January did a nice of taking care of the ball, averaging 12.9 turnovers per game. They handed out seven gifts – all by the starters – in the first quarter, giving Phoenix 9 points. They lost dribbles, tried to throw passes through keyholes and generally carried on as if they were scrimmaging at the Y. They eventually got it together somewhat but still finished with 18 turnovers, off which the Suns scored 22 points.

No excuse for most of the giveaways. Just a team believing it could get away with being sloppy – and did.

 

POSITIVE

Boogie takes another step

DeMarcus Cousins had a gloriously mixed bag of an evening, great moments and forgettable sequences in near equal parts. The highs: 18 points on 7-of-11 shooting, solid defense on Suns big man Deandre Ayton (after the first quarter) and a season-high 27 minutes – after pleading for more playing time. The lows: Cousins committed four turnovers and Ayton had his way early (12 points, 6-of-7 shooting in the first quarter).

This was Cousins’ ninth game. He’s still a work in progress, but he continues to produce during the process.

Joel Embiid tells Steph Curry he's thinking of creating new nickname

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Unanimous Media

Joel Embiid tells Steph Curry he's thinking of creating new nickname

Programming note: Watch the pregame edition of Warriors Outsiders tonight at 6 P.T., streaming live on the MyTeams app.

Steph Curry plays for the Golden State Warriors. Joel Embiid plays for the Philadelphia 76ers.

But they are teammates off the court.

Back in October, we learned that Curry helped Under Armour sign Embiid to an endorsement deal.

And on Wednesday morning, Embiid was the guest on the latest episode of Curry's YouTube series, "5 Minutes From Home."

The 76ers played the Warriors at Oracle Arena on Jan. 31. The night before, the superstars took a ride together over to Ayesha Curry's restaurant, International Smoke.

Shortly before they got out of the car, Curry brought up Embiid's nickname, "The Process." And then Embiid said something that is surely going to cause a stir in Philly.

"'The Process' is never gonna be over. You gotta win a championship and when you win a championship, it starts over. So 'The Process' is always gonna go ... I do like it, mainly because of the history of how we got here. So that's why I like it.

"But I've actually been thinking about, you know, creating something else. I'm tired of 'The Process.' I'm tired of it."

Whoa! 

Embiid's Twitter banner simply reads: "THE PROCESS," and his Twitter bio simply says: "PROCESSING.........................."

This is about to break the Internet for sure.

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Quinn Cook reveals Coach K loves Beyonce, how she motivates Duke players

Quinn Cook reveals Coach K loves Beyonce, how she motivates Duke players

When Warriors sideline reporter Kerith Burke first met legendary Duke men's basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski, she instantly realized how funny he is. Known for his championship titles before his jokes, the humor was certainly a surprise. 

Nobody knows this quite like Warriors guard Quinn Cook, who spent four seasons under Coach K as a Duke Blue Devil. But when talking about Coach K, a surprising nugget came to Cook's mind.

"He loves Beyonce," Cook revealed to Burke and Rockets guard Austin Rivers on The Uninterrupted Road Trippin' podcast. "Yeah, he loves Beyonce. He like ... loves Beyonce." 

Cook calls Coach K "the ultimate motivator" and "he'll make you really feel like you can beat the world." That includes using Beyonce as an example. 

Respect. 

"I remember we weren't practicing well and it was trickling into our games. We were barely beating teams we were supposed to manhandle," Cook said. "We come in for film and it's this big dark theater and he's like, 'Kevin turn it on.' That's our video guy. It was Beyonce.

"It's her walkin'. Her talkin' to her dancers. Her talkin' to everyone in the room how she wants this, she wants that. He's showing how hard she's practicin', how hard she's rehearsin' for her show. She's going full speed. She was really demanding greatness in her practice. It transferred to her doing a show that night.

"That was his little correlation about how hard we had to go in practice." 

Now the real question is, would Coach K do the "Single Ladies" dance?

"No, no," Cook said to Burke without hesitation. "Coach's got too much swag for that."

[RELATED: Don't take Steph Curry breaking these records for granted]

Now that is exactly how you become the all-time wins leader in men's college basketball. 

Listen to Cook, Burke and Rivers on Road Trippin' in the player below, and subscribe here.