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Kevon Looney's hot streak on the glass helps Warriors win vs Rockets
BOARD MAN GETS PAID!
If you haven’t checked out Eric Apricot’s fantastic new video on Stephen Curry’s game winner from last night, stop everything you’re doing and peep it by clicking HERE. Trust me, you won’t regret it.
What a shot!
One funny little thing I noticed from Curry’s huge shot was the in-arena DJ played the instrumental for Mac Dre’s Bay Area cult classic “Get Stupid” as the Unanimous One caught the inbound pass.
As someone who played high school basketball during the hyphy movement back in the early 2000s, hearing that lurching street anthem’s melody blast while Curry delivered the dagger made for a pretty epic moment. I used to hear that song blaring from cars during sideshows in Oakland back in the day; last night it was used to frame a beautiful moment in Warriors basketball history. #RIPMacDre
Warriors center Kevon Looney believed Curry’s walk-off shot was inevitable:
It’s great to see Looney’s faith in his superstar teammate. And after witnessing Looney’s efforts helping the Dubs to win the game, my faith is continuing to grow in him as well.
Holding down the fort
The Dubs have been struggling to win consistently with the reintegration of Klay Thompson and the injuries to their frontcourt members Draymond Green and James Wiseman. Green’s absence is especially felt considering he leads the team in rebounds (7.6 per game), assists (7.4 per game), and blocks (1.2 per game).
One of the big offseason demands Dub Nation had was bolstering the center position either by trade or internal development, with Kevon Looney being viewed as a utilitarian but unspectacular option to fill the void until the Dubs traded for Joel Embiid/Myles Turner/any decent center prospect.
So in Green’s absence, there’s an extra spotlight on Looney to carry the burden of protecting the paint, attacking the boards, while toggling between passer, screener, and finisher in the Warriors’ perpetually moving offense.
Let’s go back to Thompson’s return eight games ago against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Green was a part of the starting lineups ceremonially to share in the Splash Bro’s moment, but immediately subbed out to tend to his back/calf issue. That game Looney exploded for a career high 18 rebounds.
If we chart the stats from that night until today he’s 8th in the NBA in rebounding over that span at 11.5 boards per game. Small sample size, but he’s been stepping up to do his part as the lone healthy center on the roster. He tallied 12 rebounds last night and is currently on a streak of five games with at least 10 rebounds.
In the Steve Kerr-era, there have been only three times where a Warrior had double-digits rebounding in five straight regular season games. There’d probably be more if
A.) The Warriors weren’t historically efficient on offense and missed more shots to provide more rebounding opportunities
B.) GSW didn’t blow out teams in three quarters and bench their starters to avoid stat padding.
But with that caveat in mind, I thought it was pretty neat to see that those three rebounding streaks were shared by DeMarcus Cousins, Draymond Green, and BIG LOON DOG!
Here’s Loon’s current streak:
As Kawhi Leonard would say, Board Man gets paid. Looney could be in line for a nice payday for his work; he’s only 25 and in the last year of a deal paying him five million. He’s already got that commercial; is some team going to throw him a max contract in the offseason??
In addition to his rebounding, Looney’s defending phenomenally. Per NBA.com’s tracking, Houston players shot 6-of-26 from the field when Looney defended them, with Wood going 3-of-8.
It’s probably not a surprise that Loon’s doing well on the defensive end, as he’s long been known as a versatile and rangy deterrent. Remember his efforts to stymie those old James Harden Rockets in the playoffs?
Well he’s still at it, shutting down Rockets left and right like he’s a highly advanced missile defense system.
Beautiful work. He also showed some old school back-to-the-basket physicality when he dunked on the Rockets in the second quarter.
I’m hoping that Wiseman becomes the type of player who can dominate when he catches the ball down low while the Warriors run their off-ball screens/cuts. But if Looney can do some of that too? That makes Golden State’s offense more potent.
I can’t wait to see Green and Wiseman return to help Looney out down low, but in the meantime I’m quite pleased to watch the veteran Loon take advantage of the spotlight and provide value for the Dubs.