With the triumvirate of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant once again missing out, Draymond Green directed the Golden State Warriors to a comfortable 124-109 win over the Phoenix Suns on Saturday night.
On an evening when Green nearly hit a triple double and a pair of low-profile Warriors delivered career-best showings, here’s what you need to know..
Quinn Cook continues to make the most of his big opportunity but don’t put him on the playoff roster just yet. The night after putting 25 points on the Sacramento Kings, Cook set his career high for scoring for the second time in as many games, dropping 28.
Once again Cook, who also had four rebounds, four assists and two steals, was ultra efficient, knocking down 11 of his 17 shoots from the field and going 5-for-7 from distance. Over the past two games, Cook has posted the following line:
53 points, 21-for-30 FG, 10-for-14 3-pt, 8 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 steals
Cook, a two-way player, continues to state his case for a spot on the Warriors’ 15-man playoff roster. In order to make that a reality, the Warriors would have to clip another player off the squad, likely Omri Casspi who’s currently out with a sprained right ankle.
As noteworthy as the two-game run has been, it’s worth noting that the opponents — the Kings and the Suns — have won a combined 42 games. The Warriors have won 53. Tanking Phoenix is in a death spiral, losers of 18 of 19.
What’s more, it’s difficult to envision how Cook would slot into a shortened playoff rotation behind Curry and Shaun Livingston. Seemingly the only way he would is if Curry is still dealing with ankle injuries, and at that point, there’s much big issues than the third-string point guard.
As is custom, the Warriors barreled to the win thanks to a third-quarter burst. After a thoroughly underwhelming first-half showing, the Warriors sprinted out of the locker room, turning a 60-52 deficit into a 94-85 advantage.
The 42-point stanza gives the team 11th 40-point quarters, five such showings in the third. Cook was the leading figure, pouring in 16 points.
Less than 24 hours after stumbling to a 34-point second half against the Kings, the Warriors more than doubled that output (72).
Golden State rolled with a small-ball frontline. For much of the night, the depleted Dubs went small, at one point in the second utilizing a frontcourt of Draymond Green, Jordan and Kevon Looney.
Statistically, Looney delivered his most productive outings as a Warrior. The third-year big man set a career high in points (13) and blocks (six), playing nearly 25 minutes. Bell saw 18 minutes of action while Zaza Pachulia (17) and JaVale McGee (3) combined for 20 minutes of run.
David West played his typical 17 minutes, scoring 10, grabbing five rebounds and dishing three assisted while generally look far more settled than he did in his return against Sacramento.
Green stepped up to offset the drain of All-Star firepower. Sans the big three shooters, Green left his offensive imprint on this win. Green scored 20 of his season-high 25 points after the break and nearly posted a triple double. The Warriors’ tone-setter recorded 11 rebounds, eight assists, one steal and one block.
After the first quarter, Nick Young was on pace to score 44 points on 28 shots. Someone had to shoot and early on that was Young who had 11 points (4-for-7 from the field) in nine first-quarter minutes. Young ended up with an even 20 in 42 minutes, finishing a game-high +29.
Steve Kerr is the best. Midway through the second quarter, Young collided with Dragan Bender peeling off a screen. Taking offense, Young shoved the Sun and a mini dustup ensued. Kerr then beckoned over Young — and Cook — draped his arms of the guards’ shoulders, and with a laugh and big smile, diffused the situation. Young ultimately was assessed a technical.