After a Game 5 blowout of unforeseeable proportions, the Golden State Warriors knew they had to make adjustments to wrestle the series away from the Memphis Grizzlies.
Steven Adams returned to the lineup in Game 3, and the Dubs had to move away from their small lineups to balance out the rebounding battle. In Game 5, the Grizzlies absolutely clobbered the Warriors in 55-37 total rebounds, with an 18-4 edge on the offensive boards.
“The series has changed after Steven Adams came back in Game 3, and then his impact in Game 4 and 5,” Steph Curry says after Game 6. “We needed to start with some size, kinda counter that…it would give us a chance to take that physicality that they were coming at us with. Get off to a better start defensively.”
The Dubs adjusted and threw Kevon Looney back in the starting lineup for Game 6. He finished with a season-high 35 minutes, and a whopping 22 rebounds, with 11 offensive. The Warriors delivered the counter knockout punch winning the rebounding battle 70-44 to eliminate the Grizzlies.
Mike Brown revealed that Curry and Draymond Green were the reasons for Looney to be back in the starting lineup. After the loss of James Wiseman for the rest of the season, the Dubs have always been aware they needed to figure out how to match up with bigger lineups during the playoffs.
“But Draymond [Green] Steph [Curry], Andre [Iguodala] those guys see the game, they’re playing chess while everyone else is playing checkers,” Klay Thompson discusses Curry and Green’s involvement in starting Looney. “Draymond is like an extension of our coaching staff, and so is Steph, so it doesn’t surprise me that they made that call and Loon delivered.”
Thompson Got Jokes for Kevon Looney
The always refreshing Thompson had a hilarious nickname for Looney when asked about his performance after Game 6.
“Kevon [Looney] should go by ‘Kevon Looajuwon’ because he just really was a freak out there,” Thompson told reporters after the game. “Guy has elastic arms he can stretch.”
Thompson was comparing Looney to the Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon. The Dream averaged 11.1 rebounds throughout his illustrious career, including 14 rebounds during the 1989-90 season.
Looney Recaps His Superhuman Performance
Looney reached his goal of playing in all 82 games during the regular season, but that does not come close to the pride he must feel in grabbing over 20 rebounds in a series-clinching playoff game.
“I haven’t gotten 20 rebounds in a game since college,” Looney said after the game. “I got close a couple of times this year but it’s been a long time since I had 20. Great achievement for me, especially since I take pride in being a rebounder.”
The big man talked about how much it meant to him that Curry and Green were instrumental in getting him back in the starting lineup, and talked about how he used to ride the bench earlier in his career.
The UCLA graduate also bought up how he took it personal after the Warriors got crushed on the boards in Game 5. Looney may only be 6’9”, but it is safe to say the Warriors will rely on him when they need length for the rest of the postseason.