Wiggs looks ‘great' in Warriors' loss after two-month absence

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SACRAMENTO – Back on the court Saturday for the first time in two months, Andrew Wiggins was true to the vow he made to the Warriors and to himself.

He performed as if he’d never left.

Coming off the bench for the first time in his eight-year NBA career, Wiggins entered Game 1 of the first-round playoff series against the Kings with 6:21 remaining in the first quarter. He blocked a shot in his first minute, grabbed a rebound in his second minute and drained a 22-foot jumper in the third.

Though it came in a 126-123 loss, it was a dazzling return, Wiggins finishing with 17 points over 28 minutes. He surely was more dynamic and productive than anyone had a right to expect.

“Wiggs was great,” coach Steve Kerr said.

“I felt good,” said Wiggins, who also blocked a career-high four shots. “I felt like I made some good plays early. Second half, didn’t make as many shots but still competed.”

Wiggins scored 12 of his 17 points in the first half, shooting 5-of-8 from the field, before totaling five points after intermission, on 2-of-8 shooting, including 1 of 6 from distance – most notably missing a potential game-tying corner 3 with 10.3 seconds remaining.

“First half, he was amazing,” Kerr said. “Second half, he maybe wore down a little bit, which is to be expected, given that he hasn’t played in a game in over two months.”

Wiggins didn’t blame fatigue.

“Maybe it looked that way,” he said. “I felt good, though.”

Wiggins told NBC Sports Bay Area this week that he was “trying to get every rebound, trying to defend full court, trying to score the ball” and that he wanted to “come back like I never left.”

Perhaps the most encouraging sign for the Warriors was Wiggins’ activity level. He was a bundle of kinetic energy, chasing on Kings defense and scampering around and through them on offense. Any conditioning concerns related to his extended absence were quickly squelched.

“I feel like that went well,” Wiggins said. “Just cutting, moving without the ball. That’s Warriors basketball. You never stop moving and cutting, playing for one another.”

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He was one of four Warriors – along with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Jordan Poole – to score in double figures over the first 24 minutes. It was enough to take a 61-55 lead into the locker room.

“So awesome to have him back," Kerr said. "We’re whole with him out there. Our team makes sense with Wiggs back. He looked really good.”

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