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Warriors toy with, destroy Suns

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David West defends Elfrid Payton in the fourth quarter of Monday’s blowout over the Phoenix Suns. (Jacob C. Palmer/S.F. Examiner)

OAKLAND — The Golden State Warriors beat the Phoenix Suns, 129-83, on Monday. The score accurately illustrates how one-sided the game was.

There isn’t much to say about the matchup between the defending champions and the Suns, the worst team in the NBA when Devin Booker is injured. He was out of the lineup Monday and that did it.

Stephen Curry scored 22 points, Omri Casspi drew the start with Draymond Green sidelined by a “finger injury.” Casspi scored 19 points on 10 shots.

The Suns shot 34.7 percent from the field (3-for-23 from beyond the 3-point line). 

RELATED NEWS: Steve Kerr gets creative to wake up the Warriors

Head coach Steve Kerr handled the rotation. But aside from that, he took the night off as the players took turns leading the huddle during timeouts. Green looked natural for the part, drawing up plays in a suit.

Patrick McCaw played his fifth game in as many nights after going back and forth between the Warriors and their G-League affiliate in Santa Cruz. He played eight minutes — some of his best since last year’s playoffs. He scored nine points before a right wrist sprain shut him down for the night.

Phoenix didn’t offer much resistance. And the Warriors didn’t go out of their way to find any. And now they have just one more game on Wednesday in Portland before going into the All Star break with the best record in the NBA.

Here’s what the Warriors had to say after the game (courtesy Warriors PR):

STEVE KERR ON WHEN HE DECIDED HE WAS GOING TO LET THE PLAYERS COACH THE GAME:

I told them the other night, after the last game, that we were going to do it. It’s their team. I think that’s one of the first things you have to consider as a coach. It’s not your team, it’s not Bob Myers team it’s not Joe Lacob’s team – although I’m not going to tell Joe that. It’s their team and they have to take ownership of it. As coaches, our job is to nudge them in the right direction and guide them, but we don’t control them. They determine their own fate. I don’t feel like we focused well at all the last month. Just seemed like the right thing to do. I thought they communicated really well together and they drew up some nice plays.  It was a good night for the guys.”

STEVE KERR ON THE DECISION TO INSERT OMRI CASSPI INTO THE STARTING LINEUP

Great energy, but more than anything just the opportunity. I’ve hardly played him through no fault of his own. He just hasn’t had much of chance. I think it’s great for Omri to have a night like tonight and Nick Young to get extended minutes. Patty (Patrick McCaw) would have played so much more if he hadn’t hurt his hand. These are good nights for the whole team.”

STEVE KERR ON HOW DRAYMOND GREEN HANDLED THE TEAM WHEN HE WAS COACHING:

“I don’t know. I wasn’t listening.”

STEVE KERR ON IF HE’S WORRIED ABOUT HOW LETTING PLAYERS COACH WILL BE PERCEIVED:

“No, I have to coach my team. I told Jay (Triano) afterwards that people may make a big deal of it and it had nothing to do with being disrespectful. It had to do with me trying to reach my team. I haven’t been able to reach them the last month. They are tired of my voice and I’m tired of my voice. It’s been a long haul these last few years. I wasn’t reaching them and we just figured it was probably a good night to pull a trick out of the hat and do something different. I just feel like when we are focused we are really tough to beat. Tonight we were focused. I think just having to count on each other and not hearing my voice, which sort of sounds like Charlie Brown’s teacher at this point – that is what I sound like to them. They needed a different voice.”

STEVE KERR ON HOW HE WENT ABOUT SELECTING HIS “COACHES”:

“I didn’t choose at all. I just told them the other night that I would just leave it up to them and I didn’t say anything. Andre led the shootaround this morning – it just happened. JaVale (McGee) was on the computer. He’s the smartest tech guy we have so he ran the tape and Andre (Iguodala) ran the shootaround and it just happened organically. David (West) called some plays then Draymond. That’s kind of the beauty of it. You just see who takes ownership of it and then guys follow from there.”

STEPHEN CURRY ON DRAYMOND GREEN’S COACHING TONIGHT:

“I mean, it was a collective effort, just trying to stay locked in and enjoy the process of getting focused, and knowing our sets, being thoughtful about what lineups are out there, what we’re trying to accomplish and execute. Obviously, he was a part of that, Andre (Igoudala), D-West (David West) behind the scenes the other guys. A different feel was preparation for tonight, but I think it was a good, wouldn’t call it an experiment, but it was a good vibe today.”

STEPHEN CURRY ON HIS REACTION TO HEARING PLAYERS WOULD BE COACHING:

“I was horrible, actually. I thought about a play, and then I forgot the second option and had two guys in the wrong place on the board. And I actually got a delay of game coming out of halftime, because I was scrambling. I forget when he told us but I appreciate the process of being just a little bit more thoughtful when it comes to controlling the game, and the game plan, and locking in on tendencies of the Phoenix (Suns) players and just getting your mind right to play.”

STEPHEN CURRY ON OMRI CASSPI’S GAME TONIGHT:

“He played amazing. It’s nice when you get 20, almost 27 good minutes of run. Get his feel. He obviously rebounded the ball well, shot well from the floor, was aggressive and took advantage of Draymond’s absence. So, he’s obviously a very smart player and when he has those opportunities to just play off of the other four guys that are out there on the floor that’s when he’s at his best. And he was just assertive tonight so that was good to see.”

STEPHEN CURRY ON IF HEAD COACH STEVE KERR’S STILL RESONATES WITH THE TEAM:

“Hasn’t been reaching us? I mean, we talked about it a little bit. Just around the fourth year around and trying to stay locked in mentally and physically, and just be aware of our intensity level as we go through the season. For whatever reason, whether it was what you mentioned, or whether it was just our lack of execution and intensity on the floor during games, or whatever the case was, we obviously haven’t been great by any stretch of the imagination the last month. But, this All-Star break should hopefully be great for us to recalibrate and reset and hit the ground running. We obviously have one more game left to finish on Wednesday to continue to finish out the first half of the season strong, and coach (Head Coach Steve Kerr) knows what to say. He knows how to manage us and hopefully we all click post-All-Star break.”

OMRI CASSPI ON STARTING TONIGHT’S GAME:

“It’s always good. I felt like the last month or so I’ve been dealing with a lot on and off the court with injuries and being sick and what not. It’s tough. The team is running and the team is playing well. I had to make some adjustments. It’s just fun to go up and down and play. I felt like the guys found me early with some easy ones to get going. I put a lot of effort into spacing the floor more and shooting more threes. You guys come to practice. You guys see me all the way in the corner trying to shoot a lot more. Get back into being more of what I used to do. Add that to cutting and moving also. I’m trying. On the run, on the fly, it’s been tough, but it is what it is. It’s part of the game, and I’m happy coach trusted me to go out there and compete. It felt good.”

OMRI CASSPI ON HEAD COACH STEVE KERR TURNING THE HUDDLE OVER TO THE PLAYERS:

“It was great. It’s not just the huddle. He turned the whole morning session and video. He talked about it at the team meeting after the game. He always said, in his words, that this is our team and we should take accountability for everything that’s going on. The guys are great guys. We have so many smart basketball minds on our team. The guys really used that to their…great opportunity to just run things that they like and see different things, it was great.”

OMRI CASSPI ON HOW HIS PERFORMANCE FELT:

“It’s great. The guys, it’s amazing because they’re so good and how amazing of human beings they are. A lot of people see us on TV and they think it’s fake, maybe it’s not (real). Those guys are amazing. It’s a privilege to play with these guys, along side of them. Going every morning to practice and seeing how hard they work. For them, they make the game easy for me and for all of us. Me and Zaza (Pachulia) joked around in the beginning of the third that we have three Hall of Famers around us, are all future Hall of Famers and All-Stars and NBA Champions. Then me and Zaza passing to one another and other shooting the ball. It was fun.”

OMRI CASSPI ON HOW DRAYMOND GREEN DID COACHING:

“He ran the play for me of alley-oop. If you run that as an NBA coach, I think he would get fired. I told him that I appreciate the support and the respect. I probably wouldn’t be able to catch it. It was a good plan, run a little backscreen action. It was fun.”

OMRI CASSPI ON IF HE THINKS GREEN HAS A FUTURE IN COACHING:

“He can have a lot of different things. Draymond is very special human being. Smart and a lot of different things going for him. He knows the game better than anybody I’ve been around. He has a lot of different things. Hopefully he’ll be able to pick what he wants to do. It’s great for him.”

jpalmer@sfexaminer.com

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