Golden State Warriors' Marreese Speights (5) celebrates after scoring during the second half of a game against the Atlanta Hawks on March 1 in Oakland. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

An ode to Mo Buckets, the Warriors’ bench

OAKLAND — Big man Marreese Speights is thrilled he has Steve Kerr’s blessing to let it fly from long range whenever he has a good look.

“It’s great, especially if I’m wide open I’m going to shoot it every time I get the opportunity to,” Speights said. “So it’s good to have the green light from the 3-point line when you’re open.”

Kerr trusts his role players to bring the energy when Stephen Curry and Co. sit down for a breather or even for good late in games with Golden State way ahead. They’re a determined bunch of backups.

Speights might even earn himself “Splash Cousin” status from Curry, and that’s one enormous compliment for a 6-foot-10 center coming from the NBA’s reigning MVP who could be headed for a second such honor soon.

“He’s auditioning for that Splash Cousin maybe,” Curry said.

Curry and fellow star Klay Thompson are known as the Splash Brothers for their 3-point precision.

Speights and the rest of the reserves on the defending champions hang with some of the top teams in the NBA, taking immense pressure off Curry and the starters — and that second unit will be relied upon down the stretch and in the playoffs as the Warriors (63-7) chase the Chicago Bulls’ record of 72 wins and another championship.

“We really take that seriously, especially if the game’s going a little slow, we know we can come in and give our team a spark with the second unit,” Speights said. “We make sure we come in there and we’re going to give a lot of energy, play defense and make some shots.”

Barbosa and Shaun Livingston, the reserves rank fourth in the league with 9.7 assists off the bench. Kevon Looney knocked down his first career 3-pointer last week, while Anderson Varejao and Brandon Rush are contributing key minutes.

Center Andrew Bogut admires how every person on Golden State, no matter his prominence, has found a way to accept a role and contribute when called upon.

“The reason why we’re playing the way we are, our starters are averaging not starter minutes compared to other teams in the league,” Bogut said. “Everyone that comes in contributes and we don’t have anyone on our bench that’s kind of a human cigar type player.”

Anderson VarejaoAndre IguodalaAndrew BogutBrandon Rushchicago bullsGolden State WarriorsJames Michael McAdooKlay ThompsonMarreese SpeightsNBAStephen CurrySteve Kerrwestern conference

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