Juan Toscano-Anderson earned his way back into the Golden State Warriors rotation thanks to his stellar play of late, and on Saturday the second-year player earned his way into the hearts of fans with a hustle play that left him bloodied but led to a key bucket.
Late in Saturday’s key contest against the Boston Celtics, Toscano-Anderson sacrificed his body to save a loose ball from going out of bounds. The play sent him crashing into the scoring table and led to some tense moments before he was helped up, but also earned some big praise from Warriors fans.
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The play took place midway through the fourth quarter of what would eventually be a 119-114 loss to the Celtics. Toscano-Anderson hustled to the sidelines to save a long rebound on a missed three-pointer that was headed out of bounds. As Toscano-Anderson scooped the ball back into play, his momentum sent him crashing over the scorer’s table. He then fell hard to the ground, with some of the computer equipment falling on top of him.
But the ball that Toscano-Anderson saved also found its way to the hands of teammate Jordan Poole, who fed it to Steph Curry for a long three-pointer. The play gave the Warriors a 103-101 lead in what at the time was a back-and-forth contest.
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Toscano-Anderson remained down for some time as medical staff rushed over to check on him and his Warriors teammates watching on. When he was able to get back to his feet, Toscano-Anderson held a towel over his head to cover what the broadcast crew later said was a laceration and was helped back to the locker room.
As NBC Sports Bay Area noted, Toscano-Anderson was diagnosed with a concussion after the play and entered the league-mandated protocol. It was not yet clear how long he could be out, and the Warriors face a critical stretch as they try to remain within the playoff race. Saturday’s loss dropped the team down to 28-29, but they remained in ninth place and still within the league’s new play-in tournament.
Toscano-Anderson later took to Twitter to tell fans that he was feeling fine and had no regrets about putting his body on the line for the play.
Play Earns Praise
The hustle play made quite an impression on Warriors fans. Many took to Twitter to share their praise for his decision to put his body on the line, and Golden State head coach Steve Kerr joined the fans in praising the play.
“That’s a competitor,” Kerr told reporters after the game, via NBC Sports Bay Area. “Juan is a guy, you want that guy on your team.”
The play comes amid a strong stretch for Toscano-Anderson, who scored a career-high 20 points in the previous win over the Cleveland Cavaliers. He had fallen out of Kerr’s rotation entirely after big men James Wiseman and Kevon Looney returned from injuries at the end of February, but has been playing regularly with the second unit since Wiseman went down again with a season-ending knee injury.