Warriors Under Review: Dubs salvage back-to-back with win vs. Pistons

Warriors Under Review: Dubs salvage back-to-back with win vs. Pistons

OAKLAND -- The weekend at Oracle Arena was supposed to extend the momentum generated by the Warriors after walloping the Pacers on Thursday in the homecoming game following a successful road trip.

Coming in were the Mavericks and the Pistons, with the former betting on the future and the latter scraping the bottom of the Eastern Conference playoff pillow fight.

Sweep, right? Well, sort of.

Dallas swept the Warriors into a state of disbelief Saturday with a 126-91 rout of the champs, who recovered nicely on Sunday by sweeping Detroit off the floor with a 121-114 victory.

Here are some of the positives and negatives culled from the back-to-back set:


Rest season is underway

It’s that time of year where coaches and trainers have one eye on the present and the other on the future. Rest nights are hereby given to selected players.

Stephen Curry, Andrew Bogut and Shaun Livingston got theirs on Saturday, with DeMarcus Cousins and Andre Iguodala getting theirs on Sunday.

The Saturday plan was a rousing success. Curry, Bogut and Livingston likely would not have made much difference against Dallas, but they were superb against Detroit. Curry scored a game-high 26 points, shooting 5-of-10 from deep while playing 35 minutes. Bogut scored eight points (4-of-5 from the field), adding five rebounds, three assists and three blocks in 24 minutes. Livingston was 4-of-4 from the field with two assists in 16 minutes.


Draymond’s bombs

This is something Draymond Green doesn’t mind you noticing -- as long as you don’t mention it: His broken 3-ball seems to be on the mend.

Green made one of the Warriors’ four 3-pointers against Dallas and then drained a big one to beat the halftime buzzer against Detroit. He was 2-of-5 from deep for the weekend, which may seem modest -- until you realize he’s been hovering well below 30 percent this season.

[RELATED: How Draymond's defense set the tone in Warriors' win]

Green over the last six games is shooting 50 percent (8-of-16) from beyond the arc. That’s a clear sign of progress. When his 3-ball is a threat, the Warriors are indefensible.


The spine remains intact

Displaying precious little determination and zero rhythm, the Warriors were barely in the building for the loss to the Mavericks. Never has a blowout been more richly deserved.

Did they even care? Based on that performance, it was impossible to say.

It bothered them enough that they bounced back. After an autopilot first quarter Sunday, they came after the Pistons with a vengeance, going up 14 at the half and taking a 20-point lead into the fourth quarter. The Warriors tend to respond loudly after being pantsed. They brought their backbone and it showed.

[RELATED: Sixth straight 50-win season has earned Dubs one thing]


The ghastly truth

As much as the Warriors would like to, as coach Steve Kerr put it, “flush this one down the toilet,” we cannot overlook the headlong dive into humiliation on Saturday.

How to lose to a team on your floor to a team 16 games below .500? The numbers tell the truth. Outrebounded 49-36. Shoot 4-of-30 from deep, while the opponent is 21-of-49. Have Klay Thompson hang a minus-39, Draymond Green a minus-29, Cousins a minus-27 and Kevin Durant a minus-26. Quinn Cook, starting for Curry salvaged a minus-24.

The Warriors looked like a bunch of guys hitting the gym after 16-hour shifts at the warehouse. This one was about as close to inexcusable as anything they’ve offered in recent years.


Loon in tune

Amid the ruins of the loss to the Maverick was a single jewel. Kevon Looney scored 12 points in 13 minutes on 5-of-6 shooting. He didn’t stop there.

Listed as questionable for the game against Detroit with a right forearm contusion, Looney was cleared to play and delivered once again, scoring 11 points in 13 minutes on 4-of-5 shooting from the field.

When a backup center comes off the bench in back-to-back games and scores 23 points in 26 minutes on 9-of--11 shooting from the field, he’s exceeding any realistic expectation.

Kevon Looney would 'love to stay' with Warriors, hopes it works out

Kevon Looney would 'love to stay' with Warriors, hopes it works out

LOS ANGELES -- Aware that Steve Kerr one day earlier urged the Warriors to offer him a long-term contract, Kevon Looney paused and broke into a broad grin at the mention of it Saturday.

“Yeah, I heard what he said,” Looney said. “It’s good to have that kind of support from the coach. I hope it works out.”

Kerr made it clear Friday that he was glad Looney did not leave upon becoming a free agent last summer, adding he believes the 23-year-old center/forward had done enough to earn a long-term deal -- and that he hopes it’s with the Warriors.

So does Looney, who has become a staple of the team’s playing rotation.

“I’d love to stay here,” he said. “I like being on this team. I want to be there when Chase Center opens later this year.”

Looney is earning $1.57 million this season. The valuable backup becomes an unrestricted free agent in July, the second consecutive summer he will hit the market.

[RELATED: Why Iguodala hopes Looney leaves]

This time, however, the Warriors have Bird rights on Looney, giving them considerable financial flexibility to pursue a new contract.

“For two years now, he has been a rock for us,” Kerr said Saturday morning. “So when I mentioned that [Friday], yeah, I really hope that’s here. I want him to be here for a long time. I think everybody in this locker room wants Loon to be rewarded for his effort.”

Looney set career highs in games played (80), minutes (18.5 per game), points (6.3 points per game) and rebounds (5.2 per game), among other categories, during the 2018-19 regular season. He has averaged 11.7 points in the Warriors' three playoff games thus far.

Steve Kerr believes Andre Iguodala can play as long as he wants, but will he?

Steve Kerr believes Andre Iguodala can play as long as he wants, but will he?

LOS ANGELES -- Andre Iguodala has one more year left on his contract, but Warriors coach Steve Kerr believes the 16-year NBA veteran isn't close to being done.

"I think he can play beyond this contract if he really wants," Kerr said after practice Saturday morning. "He may not want to -- he may just go to the golf course and call it a career -- but he can keep playing if he wants."

Despite his NBA mileage, Iguodala, 34, continues to be a key contributor, averaging 10.7 points, 4.7 assists and 4.0 rebounds in the postseason, making good on the three-year, $48 million deal he signed with the Warriors in 2017.

"Not a lot of players who stay relevant deep into their careers, almost all of them have high basketball IQs," Kerr said. "He still has his athleticism. It takes him longer to warm up and longer to cool down, but it's still there."

In Game 3 of the first-round series against the Clippers, Iguodala finished with 15 points, three assists and two rebounds, helping the Warriors take a 2-1 series advantage, showing athleticism not normally seen from a player his age. 

"Some of those dunks the other night, plays he was making in the paint," Kerr said. "The guy is a remarkable athlete, and the combination of his athleticism, his work ethic and his brain is going to allow him to play." 

However, Iguodala might be out of the league sooner than his coach thinks. Last November, he told NBC Sports Bay Area's Monte Poole that his NBA days could be numbered. 

“I’m going to be done soon,” he said. “I could probably play a legit five more years, but I’ll probably max out at three more after this year -- maybe three more.

[RELATED: Kerr jokes about trading spots with Iguodala]

“But if I’m not here, that will weigh heavily on what I will do. I possibly have another year here -- if we win. That’s it. I know that. I’m fine with it.”

Only Iguodala knows how long he can play, but however long he wants to stay with the Warriors, it seems his coach will welcome with open arms.