The Golden State Warriors were without Kevin Durant for tonight as he missed the game due to a thigh contusion he suffered during Monday’s game vs the Miami Heat. The last time the Warriors lost Kevin Durant to an injury, the team fell into a bit of a funk. Luckily, that was not the case for tonight’s game.
With Durant out, that meant some big minutes for the rotation guys to fill in at small forward and play their best version of Kevin Durant. Andre Iguodala got the start but his backup got the nod for tonight’s Warrior Wonder.
Warrior Wonder: Omri Casspi
When Omri Casspi joined the the team, many viewed him as a solid spot up perimeter shooter. He has proven to be that much and more early this season. Casspi happens to be a great finisher at the rim.
On this play, Casspi is weaving through the defense and moving without the ball as he receives a pass from David West and finishes with his off-hand for a sweet layup at the rim. The Warriors love movement without the ball and the key for some of these new guys is the learn and adapt to the offense. With plays like this, we could see Kerr running more sets for Casspi.
The Warriors lead the NBA in blocked shots by a WIDE margin and it’s not even close. Including tonight's game, the Warriors currently have recorded 106 blocks as a team. By comparison, the Spurs are second in the NBA with 70 blocks. Much of that is driven by Durant’s additional efforts protecting the rim but also the better efforts on help defense by other teammates.
On this play, Gorgui Dieng tries to convert what looks to be an easy dunk past Nick Young. Casspi times his jump with Dieng perfectly and swats the shot off the backboard for Klay Thompson to corral the rebound. Casspi then runs back in transition, waits patiently for the defense to adjust and sees an open lane clear up in the paint. He cuts to the rim and receives an entry pass from David West, once again to finish with an easy layup. Highlight on both the defensive and offensive end.
Just a few minutes later in the game, he jumps in the Timberwolves passing lane and steals the ball. Leading the fastbreak, he cuts to the rim and hands off a beautiful soft touch pass to Thompson who finishes for a jam at the rim.
Casspi’s play was absolutely beautiful tonight and easily his best output of the season thus far. His display demonstrated the true definition of strength in numbers, coming in the clutch without Durant. In 20 minutes of play he posted a stat line of: 13 point, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 blocks, 2 steals and shot 71% from the field.
Klay Thompson was the most outstanding player of the game and a case could easily be made to make him tonight’s Warrior Wonder, but tonight Casspi shined bright in the absence of Durant. Casspi seized his opportunity, given the limited minutes he has been granted thus far this season. Tonight’s performance could help him carve out a larger role in Steve Kerr’s rotations. Casspi’s stock is trending upwards.
Who was your Warrior Wonder against the Timberwolves?
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