Kevon Looney’s historic night was ‘tough’ lesson for Grizzlies

Jenkins: Looney’s historic night was ‘tough’ lesson for Grizz originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

What was a historically impressive night for Kevon Looney turned out to be a valuable lesson for the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday.

Looney racked up a jaw-dropping 22 rebounds in the Warriors’ series-clinching Game 6 win over the Grizzlies at Chase Center, the most ever in his NBA career.

In a game — and series, really — that was notoriously headlined by careless turnovers for Golden State, Looney shifted everyone’s attention on a different stat.

And in his first start in the series, the 6-foot-9 big man proved he was just where he belongs in the lineup.

Unfortunately for Memphis, Looney’s rebounding spree forced Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins and his squad to learn the hard way.

“Looney stepped in,” Jenkins said after the game. “He limited us on the offensive boards, for sure. His physicality, I thought his positional defense was really good, they utilized him in a couple different coverages, and offensively, he definitely really hurt us on the boards. That was just a collection of all of our guys needed to do a better job. So, it’s definitely tough learning right here. Give them credit. We’ll get better from this.”

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Golden State picked up a team total of 70 rebounds compared to Memphis’ 44.

But the aggressiveness from Looney wasn’t random. He took it personally after the Grizzlies outrebounded the Warriors 55-37 in their Game 5 blowout loss in Memphis.

And he did something about it.

After experimenting and choosing to put Jonathan Kuminga in the starting lineup for Games 3, 4 and 5, Steph Curry and Draymond Green played a part in getting Looney the start in Game 6 over the 19-year-old rookie.

And it certainly paid off.

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“Yeah, I mean great adjustment on their part,” Jenkins said.  “Obviously them as an entire team, 25 offensive rebounds, we got lucky with the second-chance points. It probably could have been even way more than 21, [but] they missed some shots. But 21 second-chance points, 25 offensive rebounds, 23 fast-break points, that’s a recipe for not being successful, and we still had a chance. That’s the effort and the competitiveness that our guys continue to play with.”

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The Warriors will have a little bit of time to decide what their starting lineup will look like as they prepare for the Western Conference Finals against either the Phoenix Suns or Dallas Mavericks, but Looney has definitely made a strong case to stay a part of the first five.

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