Anthony Lamb clarifies Warriors’ two-way contract mentality after race night

SAN FRANCISCO — The Warriors were still without Steph Curry and learned moments before kickoff that Klay Thompson was a late scratch Saturday night against the Orlando Magic with a sore left knee. Andrew Wiggins was back in the starting lineup, but he was understandably picking off some rust after missing the last 15 games.

Someone else had to provide the score. The answer came from what used to be a surprise and is now becoming more and more of a regularity.

With Andre Iguodala debuting in the season, Anthony Lamb joined him as the first two Warriors off the bench. That was at the 7:28 mark of the first quarter. Lamb ended up scoring 14 of the Warriors’ 29 points in the first quarter of their eventual 115-101 loss at Chase Center.

“Lamb was great,” Steve Kerr said after the loss. “He kept us in the game early on with his 3-point shooting and gave us a chance. I liked where we were at halftime, given that we hadn’t played very well. We were there for the most part. I think it was a triple play at the time, maybe a four-point game, but we were there mostly because Lamb kept us on it with his shots in the first half.”

For the sake of clarity, the Warriors were down by three before halftime, 62-59.

Going into the night, Lamb’s season-high in points was 17. He was within three behind after his first seven-plus minutes. By halftime, Lamb had set a new Warriors record and then tied his career high of 22 points through the first two quarters. The problem was that the Warriors starters had combined for just 30 points at that point.

Kerr was right. Lamb was literally keeping the Warriors in the game while the rest of the team struggled. From the floor, he was 8-for-14 (57.1 percent) from the field and 5-for-10 (50 percent) from deep in the first half. His teammates were 13 of 33 (39.3 percent) from the field and 8 of 23 (34.8 percent) from 3-point range.

Reflecting on his night, Lamb saw that white-hot first half as a teaching lesson. Not so much how you can replicate. Instead, what he needs to improve the most to be a complete player.

“I had great first halves, I had a lot of great first halves down the stretch, but being able to block and finish the game I think will be a progressive evolution,” Lamb said. “For me personally, being able to put together a complete game. I have a group of guys who lead by example, who can play a complete game. They hit a lot of big shots down the stretch and being able to see them or find whatever I need to be able to do here.

“Getting over that hump is going to be big, because if you’re the guy who takes the shots and hits the open ones in the first half, they’re going to look at you in the second half and I have a ton of openings, but I just didn’t hit them the same way that I did it in the first one.”

Playing 33 minutes off the bench, Lamb finished with a career-high 26 points and shot 9-of-20 (45 percent) from the field and 5-of-14 (35.7 percent) from beyond the arc. He played just over 18 minutes in the second half and was limited to four points, going 1-for-6 from the field and missing all four of his 3-pointers. Lamb added four rebounds, four rebounds, three assists, one steal and made both of his free throws. His plus/minus was a plus-3 in the first half and a minus-7 in the second.

in the warriors double overtime win over the Atlanta Hawks on Monday, Lamb scored 13 of his 16 points in the first half. Then at Golden State’s loss of buzzer beats against the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday, 14 of his 17 points were scored in the first half.

Still, Saturday night should be one to remember for Lamb. The Warriors signed the 24-year-old, who will turn 25 this month, two weeks before the start of the regular season. Lamb was active in just one of Golden State’s first seven games. He’s now played in 31 straight games and is averaging a career-best 7.2 points per game while shooting 38.9 percent of his 3-pointers. However, he might have to start benching out of uniform and is ineligible for the playoffs.

Thanks to his status as a two-way contract player, Lamb can only be active for 50 regular season games. He is already 32 years old, and there are still 42 games left in the season. All you have left are 18 remaining active games. Do you feel like he’s shown that he deserves a guaranteed contract, especially for a team like the Warriors who have a vacant roster spot?

The competitor himself surely has to feel that way. Outwardly, Lamb expressed a deeper mindset with the position in which he currently resides.

“For me, it’s not even about proving myself,” Lamb said. “The biggest thing about playing for the Warriors is that I see the Warriors as the best team in the NBA. I grew up watching the Warriors and they are the best team in the NBA. So that’s not our record (20-20). It’s showing right now, so I want to help in any way I can to get us to that point.

“Whatever the role of the guys playing 10 minutes, five minutes, no minutes, whatever I can do to get us back to that point where we’re the best team in the NBA, that’s what I want to do.” . Instead of proving myself, that will happen through working to win. I know at the end of the day it’s going to be if the coaches, the front office see how much of an impact I’ve had in winning and that’s what I want to do.

“I don’t want to have a big night on a losing team, you know. I want to be a part of the Golden State Warriors, the best team in the NBA.”

RELATED: Warriors will rise and fall with Poole until Steph returns

Lamb’s offense has certainly given them a big boost, especially with Curry and Wiggins losing so much time. He’s shooting 50 percent from the field and his 119 offensive rating trails only Kevon Looney, Curry and his teammate Ty Jerome. Lamb’s offensive rating is 13 points higher than Klay Thompson’s and 16 points higher than Jordan Poole’s. In his last three games, Lamb is averaging 20 points on 53.7 percent shooting and 40 percent from 3-point range.

But helping the defending champions win is more than just putting points on the scoreboard. Lamb’s 114 defensive rating ranks 10th on the Warriors. He is only two points better than Thompson and three better than Poole. Versatility is at the top of Lamb’s personal to-do list.

That’s what it’s been like for the Warriors, playing the two forward positions almost equally. According to Basketball-Reference position estimationLamb, who is 6-foot-6 and 227 pounds, has spent 54 percent of his time on the court at power forward and 45 percent at forward. The final one percent is like escort. To expand his versatility, Lamb is looking to become a better defender.

“The biggest thing I would say defensively is to be as versatile as possible,” Lamb said. “There are a couple of positions that I’m not entirely comfortable with and I’m trying to clean up and do it as quickly as possible, so I know that in whatever lineup I’m replaced in, I can play any position and be a solid Defender in any position. any place.

“I think that’s the biggest focus for me knowing that we have a group of guys who can make shots, a group of guys who can make the right plays. I can’t just stand in the corner and continue to help the team, especially in open space.” . but being able to be versatile in defense is the most important thing for me”.

Coming off the biggest scoring performance of his NBA career while playing for a bigger contract, Lamb made it clear where his head is. His mentality should continue to help him and the Warriors for the foreseeable future, and could also have a big impact on his future on the court.

Download and follow the 49ers Talk Podcast

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *