(photo credit: REUTERS)
After a frustrating start to 2018, Omri Casspi scored a season-high 19 points to go with 10 rebounds for his third double-double of the season in Golden State's 129-83 blowout win over the Phoenix Suns on Monday night.
The 29-year-old Israeli forward replaced the injured Draymond Green in the starting lineup and made the most of the opportunity, hitting 7-of-10 field goal attempts, including a three pointer for the first time since December 14.
Casspi impressively carved out a role for himself with the NBA champions during December, averaging 8.4 points and 5.3 rebounds over 19.5 minutes per game. However, he took a back seat during January, ending the first month of the year with averages of 3.4 points and 2.3 rebounds over 12.6 minutes, while playing in only seven of the team's 14 games after losing his place in the rotation and suffering minor injuries.
He didn't manage more than two points in Golden State's first five games of February, but proved once more on Monday that he is ready to make the most of his chance when given one by coach Steve Kerr.
"I put a big effort into shooting more threes and focusing on spacing the court," he said following Monday's win. "I feel that has been my game my whole career.
Guys found me open early and I had some easy dunks. It was just a good game.
"I've got to earn those minutes," he added. "I feel like I've got to tweak some things in the All-Star break. I feel very comfortable. Our system is great." Point guard Stephen Curry scored 10 of his team-high 22 points in the second quarter Monday night to help the Warriors to a third consecutive win to close a four-game homestand. Phoenix's guard Elfrid Payton, acquired from the Orlando Magic for just a second-round pick last week, hit 11 of his 18 shots for 29 points and also had eight rebounds and a team-high five assists in 31 minutes. However, the Suns lost for the sixth consecutive time on a night when they were formally eliminated from the Pacific Division title race.
Forward Kevin Durant had 17 points and guard Klay Thompson 16 for the Warriors, who beat Phoenix for the 12th straight time, their longest active streak against any opponent.