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MILWAUKEE — Traces of Kevon Looney’s childhood played out in front of him.
As soon as the Warriors landed here on Thursday night, the Warriors’ third-year forward caught up with family and hometown friends. Nearly 24 hours later, those same people saw Looney step on the court and show what has made him so valuable. In the Warriors’ 108-94 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday, Looney provided nine points on 3-of-3 shooting while adding eight rebounds, three assists and a block in a career-high 23 minutes off the bench.
“As a kid, I dreamed about this,” Looney said. “It was pretty sweet.”
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Not all of Looney’s dreams have gone true. He faced his first two NBA seasons nursing injuries to his hips. He faced his third NBA season with questions about his future after the Warriors declined to exercise his option because his $2.2 million salary would have increased the team’s luxury tax bill. He faced uncertainty with his playing time this season amid Kerr’s preference to adjust his lineups both to chase matchups and to maximize his team’s depth.
Yet, there was Looney playing significant minutes before his hometown friends and family, while Warriors rookie forward Jordan Bell and veteran center JaVale McGee received healthy scratches.
“I wanted to get him in the game since he’s from here. But it was much more that he was a fit with all the switching we’re going to do,” Kerr said. “You have to protect the rim at the same time. I thought Looney gave us fantastic minutes.”
Those minutes became significant in ensuring the Warriors’ 11th consecutive victory. After allowing Milwaukee (22-19) to shoot 11-of-22 from 3-point range through three quarters, the Warriors held the Bucks to 12 fourth-quarter points. Looney represented the Warriors’ fourth-quarter unit that forced Milwaukee to miss its first seven shots to open the final period. Looney also replaced Warriors forward Draymond Green at the 6:53 mark, before Green rejoined Looney when he came back in to replace Patrick McCaw at the 3:11 mark.
“For them to go small and Steve still takes me out the game and puts him in the game, that shows the trust he has in him,” Green said. “He’s very familiar with his personnel and is a very smart player. He can guard one through five. That’s what has gotten him on the floor this year. He can switch and he can guard a guard just like he can guard a big. He can rebound the ball and he can block shots. That was important. Steve showed faith in him. He responded to it and played well for us.”
Looney said he had a feeling Kerr would play him partly because of his return to his hometown. Then again, Looney has a feeling he will always …read more
Source:: The Mercury News – Latest News