Jonathan Kuminga didn’t make an impact on the court as the Golden State Warriors closed out their series with the Memphis Grizzlies in Game 6, but did manage to make waves on social media after the game.
The Warriors rookie was pulled from the starting lineup as acting head coach Mike Brown decided to counter the Grizzlies’ size with veteran Kevon Looney, a move that played out perfectly for the Warriors. Kuminga didn’t make it off the bench at all in Friday’s win, though did have a chance to get into some taunting after the game — which earned him a rebuke from Grizzlies star Ja Morant.
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Kuminga, Warriors Crowd Troll Grizzlies
After the Warriors took a 3-games-to-1 lead in the series, Steph Curry was ready to close out the Grizzlies in Game 5 on May 11 and predicted before the game that they would “Whoop That Trick” — referring to the song from Memphis rapper Al Kapone that has become the Grizzlies’ rallying cry. Curry’s prediction was more than a little off, with the Grizzlies winning in a rout, 134-95.
The Warriors got a second chance to close out the Grizzlies on Friday and didn’t waste it, ending the game on a 23-7 run, turning what had been an 89-87 fourth-quarter deficit into a 110-96 victory. As the game came to a close, some Warriors fans in the Chase Center crowd gave it back to the Grizzlies, chanting “Whoop That Trick” as Golden State put the finishing touches on the game and advanced to the Western Conference Finals.
After the game, Kuminga joined in as well, taking to Twitter to repeat the lyric.
But his taunt didn’t sit well with Morant, who felt that Kuminga didn’t yet have the stature to rub it in.
“gotta earn some stripes first kid,” Morant joked with the Warriors rookie.
Kuminga’s Up and Down Series
While he was able to move into the starting lineup against the Grizzlies after injuries to Gary Payton II and Andre Iguodala, Kuminga struggled at times in the Western Conference semifinals. Kuminga started Game 4 but came out after five He scored 17 points in 24 minutes in Game 5, but missed all five of his three-point attempts.
The Grizzlies opted to go big after Morant went down with a knee injury, moving Steven Adams off the bench and into the starting lineup. The Warriors countered by taking Kuminga out of the starting lineup for Game 6 in favor of Looney, a move that paid off as the veteran big man had a career-high 22 rebounds including 11 on the offensive end.
Still, Kuminga’s teammates see big things for him ahead. Speaking to NBA insider Marc J. Spears for Andscape, Draymond Green said Kuminga has the potential to become an All-Star.
“He’s going to be really good,” Green said. “He can be a perennial All-Star in this league. “That’s up to him and the work he puts in. But he has the skills, the tools, he can see the floor, he has the opportunity if he puts the work in to be a perennial All-Star.”