Warriors

Warriors Under Review: Two scary moments, but Pacers were never a threat

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Warriors Under Review: Two scary moments, but Pacers were never a threat

With Draymond Green, the spine of the defense, completely out of the mix, the Warriors strolled into Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Monday and quickly extinguished any hope of an upset.

The Indiana Pacers, with an impressive 32-16 record but without All-Star guard Victor Oladipo, hung around for a few minutes. And then, halfway through the first quarter, the Warriors got serious and sprinted to a 132-100 victory.

That’s 11 consecutive wins for the defending champs, with no end in sight.

Here are some of the positives and a sprinkle of negative from the game that concluded a 5-0 road trip:

POSITIVE

Boogie survives scary moment

With 7:35 left in the first quarter, everybody associated with the Warriors held their breath. Hit from behind while airborne (by Pacers big man Myles Turner), DeMarcus Cousins landed hard, with his left foot/ankle taking the brunt. Five games into his comeback from a ruptured left Achilles’ tendon, he was on the floor, writhing in pain. He got up. He stayed in. Made two free throws. Played another 20 minutes and finished with a season-high 22 points, along with six rebounds and four assists.

Coach Steve Kerr said Cousins was “sore.” It’s too soon to know if he’ll be available Thursday. It’s not to soon to realize as bad as it looked, it could’ve been worse.

POSITIVE

Mr. Curry averts disaster

For the second time in a week, Stephen Curry slipped and fell on the court. It happened last week in Los Angeles and again Monday in Indy. Celebrating a thunderous second-quarter dunk by Klay Thompson, Curry leapt off the bench, dropped his warmup jacket and, trying to sprint a few steps, tripped over it and landed hard. Hopes for the season hung in the balance for a few precious seconds before Curry got up.

He entered the game four minutes later and promptly scored 13 points in the quarter. What could have been disastrous ended with a collective sigh and smile.

POSITIVE

The joy of Mr. Adams

Assistant coach Ron Adams lives for inspired defense and is miserable when he doesn’t see it. He seeks perfection, but settles for effort. He loved the first quarter, when the Warriors forced five turnovers (getting four steals along the way) while limiting the Pacers to 35-percent shooting. Indiana shot 43.2 percent for the game, the sixth opponent to shoot less than 45 percent during the 11-game win streak.

The Warriors are playing the best defense in the league. This makes Adams happy.

NEGATIVE

Mr. Durant’s shooting

The oddest sight of the night was that of Kevin Durant struggling to make shots that he usually swishes blindfolded. He took 21 shots and missed 14. His makes were three dunks, a six-footer, a nine-footer, a 14-footer and a 29-foot 3-pointer. Everything else to was too long, too short, off left or off right. It has been nearly two months since Durant shot less than 33.3 percent in a game. He had scored at least 20 points in 22 consecutive games before finishing with 17.

Though Durant couldn’t care less about the streak, it is strange to see one of the most efficient scoring machines in NBA history failing at the thing he does best.

POSITIVE

Mr. Looney’s stock continues to rise

After spending last season finding his place in the NBA, Kevon Looney is using this season to show why he has a home in the league. Upon becoming an unrestricted free agent last July, he got no love on the market. He came back to the Warriors on a minimum deal ($1.57 million). He’s not fluid, but he is profoundly effective on both ends. In 18 minutes, he had 15 points (6-of-7 shooting), five rebounds, two assists, one steal and one block. He was plus-18. This is becoming 'Typical Looney'.

Looney has come a long way from the guy whose career was in question. He’s a solid rotation player who will command a salary well beyond his current $1.57 million.

Kerr pushes for Warriors to sign Looney to long-term deal this summer

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Kerr pushes for Warriors to sign Looney to long-term deal this summer

LOS ANGELES – Steve Kerr doesn’t often publicly discuss personnel matters faced by the Warriors. Those questions, he will say, are for general manager Bob Myers.

The coach made an exception on Friday. He expressed his desire that the team re-signs center/forward Kevon Looney to a long-term contract when he becomes a free agent in July.

“I was terrified all last year, after we denied the option, that we were going to lose him,” Kerr said. “He was great last year. But it was a bad free agent market for the players last summer. People just didn’t have money. So, we got lucky in terms of being able to keep him. And he’s turned into such a good player for us.

“I’m really, really hoping that we can keep him long term and that we can give him the contract he deserves and he can make some good money and we can enjoy having him on our team for many years.”

This does not imply that Kerr has no desire to see Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson remain Warriors beyond this season. Rather, it is more a matter of not wanting to lose Looney, who has become a valuable member of the rotation and whose cost will be a fraction of what Durant and Thompson will command on the open market.

Looney, 23, is a coach’s dream insofar as he rarely makes mistakes and is not prone to some of the mental errors that can plague young players. He has some physical limitations – he’s an average athlete – but he compensates with sound judgment and hoops intellect.

After a solid regular season, particularly on defense, Looney has been terrific through three postseason games. In 53 minutes off the bench, he has scored 35 points on while shooting an absurd 82.1 percent (14-of-17), adding 11 rebounds, two blocks and two steals, with one turnover.

“He’s gotten better and better,” Kerr said of Looney’s offense. “You can see the confidence growing every game . . . there’s a lot of dunks and a lot of put-backs, but also making that midrange shot. This is the best he has played in his career.”

Looney’s re-signed with the Warriors last summer at $1.57 million for one season. The Warriors will have full Bird rights this time around and, if so inclined, likely would be looking at deal that would pay somewhere in the range of $5-6 million annually.

Matt Barnes trolls Russell Westbrook in Kevin Durant-Pat Beverley tweet

Matt Barnes trolls Russell Westbrook in Kevin Durant-Pat Beverley tweet

Programming note: Watch the pregame edition of Warriors Outsiders on Sunday morning at 11, streaming live on the MyTeams app.

In Thursday night's Game 3, the Warriors led the Clippers 73-52 at halftime.

When he walked off the court after the first 24 minutes, Kevin Durant had scored 27 points (10-of-15 shooting) and dished out four assists.

Before the third quarter started, former Warriors forward Matt Barnes took to Twitter to let his feelings be known.

This tweet receives a 10 out of 10.

Barnes, of course, is referring to Durant's former teammate, Russell Westbrook, who went 5 of 20 from the field in Oklahoma City's Game 2 loss in Portland on Tuesday night.

Durant received a lot of backlash from the media for how he handled facing Patrick Beverley in the first two games of the NBA playoff series (mostly Game 2).

[RELATEDNBA rescinds Durant's technical foul from Game 3 vs. Clips]

Warriors coach Steve Kerr even told reporters that he wanted to see a much more aggressive KD in Game 3.

With his 38-point outbust, the reigning two-time NBA Finals MVP gave everybody what they were looking for.

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