In the NBA Playoffs, Kevon Looney has been looking like one of the best centers in the entire league for the Golden State Warriors. He was a main reason why they were able to escape the Sacramento Kings in their first-round series, dominating Domantas Sabonis in Game 7. Now in the Western Conference Semifinals against the Los Angeles Lakers, Looney continues to make his impact felt.
While he did not play much in Game 2 on Thursday night due to being sick, Looney still made a major difference in his 11 minutes and 44 seconds coming off the bench.
Recording eight rebounds in the Warriors’ 127-100 victory, Looney outrebounded every single player on the Lakers’ roster. In doing so, he became the first player to outrebound every opposing player in a playoff game since Mitch Kupchak did so in 1986, according to OptaSTATS. Coincidently enough, Kupchak played for the Lakers when he achieved this feat.
What Kevon Looney has been able to do on the glass in the postseason has been extremely impressive, as his 137 total rebounds and 47 offensive boards rank No. 1 in the NBA.
Despite feeling under the weather and not being himself, the Warriors’ gritty big man was still able to single-handedly beat the Lakers on the interior and help Golden State even up this series at 1-1 before heading to Los Angeles for two games.
The fact that Looney played through his sudden illness is what’s really remarkable about this, as he liked would not have played if this was a regular season game, according to Warriors beat reporter C.J. Holmes.
He may not have grabbed double-digit rebounds in the Warriors’ Game 2 victory, but this marked Looney’s seventh consecutive game with at least eight rebounds. He has had at least three offensive rebounds in five straight games.
With Looney not feeling like himself on Thursday night, head coach Steve Kerr made the decision to elevate veteran JaMychal Green to the starting rotation, which paid off big time for the Warriors.
Not only did Green finish the game with 15 points in 13 total minutes, but this performance opens up the doors for the Warriors the rest of this series. They now have another option they can utilize alongside Kevon Looney and Draymond Green in the frontcourt, which takes a lot of strain off of Looney in particular.
Having a well-rested and recovered Looney is critical for the Warriors to have a chance at winning another title, and it will be interesting to see the lineup decisions Kerr makes moving forward in this series.
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