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Warriors big man Kevon Looney set to return to lineup Monday night

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Golden State could use any good news they can get. Especially on the injury front.

That news is big man Kevon Looney is set to return to the lineup Monday night against Atlanta after missing 20 games with neuropathy, which effected his hamstrings.

Looney averaged just 6.3 points and 5.2 rebounds a game for the Warriors last season, but that understates his importance to the team. He’s a mobile, active big man who understands the way the Warriors want to move the ball on offense and protect the rim on defense. It was evident in the Finals last June, when the Warriors’ offense just flowed better with him on the court compared to DeMarcus Cousins (Looney had to play through painful injuries to get on the court in that series).

Looney will split time with Willie Cauley-Stein and Omari Spellman along the frontline, and as he gets back into game shape expect Looney to get more and more of those minutes.

Luka Doncic had more points, rebounds and assists than Warriors in first quarter

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Luka Doncic keeps doing amazing things.

But he really outdid himself in opening quarter of the Mavericks win over the Warriors last night. The box score after the first quarter:

  • Points: Doncic 22, Warriors 16
  • Rebounds: Doncic 5, Warriors 4
  • Assists: Doncic 5, Warriors 4

Outscoring Golden State? OK. Getting more assists? OK. Doing both? That’s just incredible. Doncic was in total control offensively.

The 6-foot-7 wing out-rebounding the Warriors is especially astounding. Though I suppose if 6-foot Allen Iverson out-rebounded an entire team for a quarter, it’s not that crazy Doncic did, too.

To be fair, this achievement deserves a little context. Warriors who played in the first quarter:

Several Warriors leave bench during altercation/stoppage (video)

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Update: No Warriors will receive suspensions, per an NBA spokesperson.

 

The injury-ravaged Warriors got a satisfying win last night.

But will the game leave them even more short-handed?

Golden State guard Ky Bowman drove for a layup late in the fourth quarter. As he turned to run up court, Bowman collided with Trail Blazers center Hassan Whiteside, who pushed away Bowman. Whiteside got hit with a technical foul.

The big development: Several Warriors – Jordan Poole, Willie Cauley-Stein, Omari Spellman and Klay Thompson – left the bench while Whiteside and Bowman squared up.

Any player who leaves the bench during an altercation receives a one-game suspension. The hard-and-fast rule is designed to prevent fights from escalating.

Golden State might be off the hook, because there was a stoppage – signaled by the referee on the opposite sideline – as the Whiteside-Bowman confrontation got going. The leaving-the-bench rule doesn’t apply during a timeout.

However, the stoppage was seemingly for a Portland timeout. The NBA’s official play-by-play includes no timeout at that time. If not a Trail Blazers timeout, why did officials stop play for a commercial break? That question might determine whether Warriors get suspended.

Suspensions could create quite the conundrum for Golden State. Teams must have eight players “able to participate” in each game. The Warriors had just nine healthy players last night – including Poole, Cauley-Stein and Spellman. Losing those three would drop Golden State below the limit.

Maybe Draymond Green and D'Angelo Russell will return soon from their injuries. But Stephen Curry, Kevon Looney, Jacob Evans, Alen Smailagic and Thompson are out longer-term.

The Warriors are pressed against the hard cap. There’s no easy way to add outside reinforcements.

Warriors big man Kevin Looney out at least two games with hamstring injury

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SAN FRANCISCO — Golden State Warriors forward Kevon Looney will miss at least two games because of a hamstring injury.

Looney sat out the entire preseason with a strained right hamstring, then started the season opener Thursday before dealing with tightness in the hamstring again. He didn’t play in the second half of a 141-122 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers in the first game at new Chase Center.

The Warriors play Sunday at Oklahoma City and Monday at New Orleans. No Looney or Willie Cauley-Stein (foot injury) — the two guys expected to play the bulk of the center minutes for Golden State — forces a number of guys to play out of position to cover them.

The Warriors said Saturday that Looney will be evaluated by a team of specialists because of an “on-going presence of a neuropathic condition in his body, which has a direct correlation to his recent injury.” An update on his status will be provided by the team once tests are complete and the Golden State medical staff has a chance to collaborate with the specialists.

Looney played a bulk of the minutes at center during last postseason, but suffered a first costal cartilage fracture on the right side of his rib cage.

 

Cavaliers reportedly snap up Alfonzo McKinnie off waivers

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Going into training camp, Alfonzo McKinnie was expected to be the starting small forward for the Warriors this season.

However, injuries along the front line — Willie Cauley-Stein is out for weeks still, plus Kevon Looney and rookie Alen Smailagic are banged up — and some strong play from Marquise Chriss meant he was going to make the Warriors roster. With the team being hard capped after signing D'Angelo Russell this summer, the Warriors had no choice but to cut McKinnie.

The Cleveland Cavaliers have snapped him up off waivers.

This is a good move by the Cavaliers, a low-risk pickup — McKinnie is on a minimum contract — that could get them a 3&D wing on a young team. He played in 72 games for the Warriors last regular season plus got playoff minutes, and shot 35.6 percent from three. He’s long and athletic and a player both the Raptors and Warriors liked but had to move on from because of other roster situations.

For the Warriors, they will have Glenn Robinson III starting at the three with Alec Burks behind him. They could have really used McKennie.