By CJ Peterson
Special to S.F. Examiner
OAKLAND — Pulling up from 27-feet away from the basket at the 3:18 mark of the second quarter, Warriors guard Quinn Cook rattled home his second triple of the quarter, giving Golden State an eight-point lead. Of the seven shots Cooke took in the half up to that point, he had yet to miss.
Using the ultra-efficient night from the floor in his first start of the season, Cook made sure the Warriors didn’t skip a beat without their MVP-caliber point guard Stephen Curry (adductor) against the Brooklyn Nets, scoring 27 points as they cruised to a 116-100 victory at Oracle Arena on Saturday night.
“More than anything, I’m just impressed with [Cook’s] professionalism,” said Warriors head coach Steve Kerr. “To be able to perform out of nowhere when we need him, that’s the mark of a pro.”
Over the course of the last 10 games the Warriors had played heading into Saturday night, Cook had received three DNP’s, including two consecutive minuteless nights against the New Orleans Pelicans and Minnesota Timberwolves in the first week of November.
According to Kerr, the decision to not play Cook was made based on matchups. During his down time, however, Cook stayed prepared, even working on his shot, after games, inside of an empty Oracle Arena.
“I just feel like Quinn thinks that he’s supposed to be ready not matter what,” said Warriors forward Kevin Durant. “Obviously he wants to be out there but he’s still working on his game.”
In the wake of Curry’s injury on Thursday, however, — as well as the fact that Golden State was without Shaun Livingston (foot) — Cook was given a chance to showcase that game as he was named the starter against Brooklyn.
Cook went 4-for-4 for nine points in the first quarter to finish the period as the second-leading scorer behind Durant’s 13 in the first.
Cook’s hot start continued in the second quarter, as he knocked down his next three shots, including a pair of 3-pointers from Curry-like range. The efficiency of his start even impressed Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson.
“He did his best Stephen Curry impersonation tonight,” he said after the game.
At a perfect 7-of-7 from the floor, Cook’s spotless line was ruined in that second quarter when Nets forward Spencer Dinwiddie blocked his layup with six seconds to go before halftime.
In the second half, Cook carried on with his efficient ways, as he continued to be aggressive with his mid-range jump shot. Coming off of screens and using a jab-step step-back, Cook was able to create space at will, even against the bigger guards and wing players that Brooklyn threw at him.
Finishing 11-16 shooting from the floor, Cook was the Warriors’ second-leading scorer behind Durant, who had a quiet 29 points and 11 assists.
“I just felt more comfortable tonight,” Cook said after the game. “Our guys just do a great job of making you feel important and making you feel part of the team…. I felt comfortable out there and we got it done.”
With Cook’s impressive and efficient showing on Saturday, the question being asked is how the Warriors will handle Curry’s adductor injury moving forward.
Kerr has said on several occasions that they will be approaching any injury with caution, as has been the case with the recent injuries to Draymond Green (foot/toe).
“We won’t change out thinking on Steph based on how someone else is playing,” Kerr said. “In the meantime, if Quinn is playing like that, it’s a huge help.”NBA