Loon rescues Warriors from Blazers' clutches after sweeping away dust (Part-1)

Thursday in Portland, the Warriors were clumsy due to Draymond Green and Klay Thompson playing in street clothes and Stephen Curry's shot being stubborn. As a result, the lowly Trail Blazers were able to secure their third victory in four weeks.  

Steve Kerr, coach of the Warriors, looked to his bench for a lifeline for his least-used veteran player as the team trailed 85-82 with 7 minutes and 28 seconds left in the game. Kerr was concerned that his team may lose the momentum it had built up after beating the Lakers the night before.

This time it was center Kevon Looney, who had been benched but had previously started. In response, the Warriors went on an 18-7 run down the stretch, spearheaded by Looney, to beat the Thunder 100-92 and move up to ninth place in the Western Conference Play-In Tournament.  

"Loon just saved us like he has done dozens of times in his career here," Kerr told reporters at Moda Center. For the past six weeks or so, he has been on the periphery of the rotation, but he never goes without preparation. Just by walking in, he altered the course of events.  

The last 7 minutes and 28 seconds of the game were a showcase for Looney's exhausting effort. He dunks just 20 seconds after entering the game, shoots two free throws after grabbing an offensive rebound, steals the ball, which leads to a 3-pointer by Curry, lays up after Curry's steal, and blocks a shot, which allows Brandin Podziemski to layup.  

The Warriors took their largest lead of the game, nine points (95-86) with 3 minutes and three seconds left on the clock, thanks to it. Looney had a career-best nine points, eleven rebounds (four of which came on the offensive end), four blocks, and two steals. The ninth-year center led the club with 19 points in 21 minutes played.  

On "Warriors Postgame Live" from NBC Sports Bay Area, a smiling Looney said, "I feel good; I ain't played 20 minutes in a while." Against the Bulls in Chicago on January 12, Looney started and played 26.5 minutes, marking the last occasion his minutes went beyond 20.  

Looney averaged 10.6 and 11.3 minutes per game in February and March, respectively, as rookie center Trayce Jackson-Davis received increasing playing time and finally started.  

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