Klay proud of Warriors bench, applauds significant turnaround

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Strength in numbers. It’s not just a former slogan for the defending champion Warriors, it’s become a philosophy that represents their culture and depth. 

Even though Golden State’s bench looks much different from last season's, that philosophy hasn’t changed. Like anything new, though, it took a while for the unit to figure things out. But it looks like they have, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. 

“Wow, our bench has come so far,” Klay Thompson told reporters after the Warriors’ 108-99 win over the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday night. “These guys have been sticking with it. I mean, JaMychal Green, what great minutes he gave us tonight. He had like three blocked shots [and was] finishing at the rim. 

“Our bench has really improved and as we got whole again, it’s just going to pay off so much down the stretch.”

Golden State’s bench outscored New Orleans’ 46-29 on Friday. Three Warriors bench players scored more points than three starters. Jonathan Kuminga had 19 points, Green had 14 and Anthony Lamb added 11. 

The Warriors were perfect (5-0) on their latest homestand, thanks to big games from Thompson and Jordan Poole. But without key starters Steph Curry and Andrew Wiggins, the Dubs knew it would take a full team effort to keep the momentum going.

They accepted the challenge and then embraced it. 

After a slow start to the 2022-23 NBA season, the Warriors' bench has provided stability in a season that has been anything but. Donte DiVincenzo in mid-February was asked about the recent surge from the unit and said the bench heard all the chatter from outside the organization at the beginning of the season and knew they had to turn things around

Two-way player Ty Jerome believes in-game adjustments also have helped the second unit maintain its focus, and believes everyone is just playing harder. 

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Coach Steve Kerr, though, thought the sluggish start from the unit was due to it being so new. 

"I think you're talking about Donte, JaMychal and Ty all being new to the team so early in the season, they're just trying to figure out how we play and terminology and all of that stuff," Kerr said after Golden State's 135-126 win over the Washington Wizards on Feb. 13. "I think we've paired down the rotation some and we have a better sense of who we should play together and what combinations we can get to.

"Then I think just over time they've gotten more and more confident. They're playing at a really high level."

The Warriors will need their bench to continue playing at a high level down the stretch if they want any chance of defending their latest title. 

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