Warriors HC Kerr takes out loss and focuses on Kuminga’s ‘best game’

Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr was unimpressed by his team’s 113-116 loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday, choosing instead to focus on what he called Jonathan Kuminga’s best game as a pro.

There were early warning signs that this was not going to be the Warriors’ night as they quickly fell 23-6 after eight minutes of play and, despite fighting back well, were unable to get past the brilliance of Luka Doncic.

The 23-year-old MVP favorite scored 41 points on 14-of-27 shooting with 12 rebounds, 12 assists and four steals, while posting a plus/minus 22 plus in his 39 minutes.

That meant that in the nine minutes he was on the bench, the Mavericks were outscored by 19 points, and Kerr acknowledged after the game that there was nothing they could do for the Slovenian when he played like that.

“Luka is Luka, he’s just a terrific shot-maker and shot-maker, and we couldn’t drop the ball tonight,” he said.

“I love the effort and have told the lads that we are in a really good position. We have achieved form, our bench has an identity and we could have won that game very easily, but the ball has to go into the circle, and sometimes it doesn’t does.

“Just an off night, you could tell right away that we fell 23-6. We looked good, it’s just part of the season. It happens, it’s not a big deal.”

Much of the Warriors’ comeback was played by Kuminga when both teams had their second units on the field, with the former lottery winner hitting six of eight from the field for 14 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks in his 26 minutes. .

“It was the best game I’ve ever seen ‘JK’ play,” he said. “Everything he did helped make an impact on the win.

“His defense on Luka was fantastic, he was disciplined, he stayed down, he challenged shots and I think he had a couple of blocks.

“He stayed patient on offense, took the shots that were there, knocked down big threes. JK was amazing, he’s really coming into himself and it’s exciting.

“It’s exciting, because it’s not easy. It’s not easy for him to be thrown into a high pressure environment and have to count to win.

“A lot of guys, a lot of his peers, guys who’ve been drafted close to him have 30 minutes every night and there’s not a lot of pressure to win, because they’re not on championship teams.

“He’s handled everything really well, I think the way he’s playing is a direct reflection of his attitude and approach these last few weeks.”

Kuminga’s sophomore season got off to a rocky start, with the 20-year-old’s minutes, points, rebounds, assists, field goal percentage and three-point percentage all falling short of his rookie marks.

The seventh overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft is starting to understand that, now posting consecutive games with at least 20 minutes played shooting over 60% from the floor, and his status as the Warriors’ most athletic forward gives him the edge to be a factor as they attempt to defend their title.

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