In three days, Christmas bells will ring. But Friday night, one Bell rang louder than the rest at Oracle Arena.
Warriors Rookie Jordan Bell and his stat line rang out across Oakland as he led Golden State to a 113-106 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.
The fact the coaching staff wants to see him in this specific lineup has Bell optimistic:
“Obviously, those are two of our main guys, so the fact that [Kerr] wants to see me more with them is a good sign for me and my future.”
Bell who has been pushing for minutes since the very start of his career looks to be finally earning some trust from the coaching staff. He made the most of his minutes Friday as he totaled a career high 20 points, 10 rebounds and three assists.
With Green out due to a sore right shoulder, Bell had drawn the previous two starts alongside another traditional center in JaVale McGee — to very mixed results. But with Green back, that let Bell play next to another small-ball center who can space the floor.
Steve Kerr said he was waiting to see what this lineup could do:
“I was waiting to play him with KD and Draymond to see. I think the reason he had 20 and 10 was because there was so much space… He was just roaming and had plenty of easy hoops and that was what we were kind of waiting to see with that combination. He was really impressive, he did a great job.”
It’s a lineup that Warriors Twitter has been clamoring for, and with good reason. It could very well be their starting lineup of the future.
It’s no coincidence the Lakers went on a 41-24 run after Bell exited the game with more than five minutes left in the third. Bell would finally check back in the fourth — sparking an immediate 10-0 run to seal the win.
Green has been impressed with not only the rookie’s impact but his knowledge of the game:
“He’s a sponge, he’s one of those guys where you talk to and he looks you in your eyes and shakes his head yes. He asks questions, he’s very curious and that’s a great trait to have… He doesn’t think he knows it all, he honestly acts like he doesn’t know anything, which is great. He goes out there and plays hard but he doesn’t act like he’s the brain.”
After these teams stretched into overtime in their first two matchups, Friday looked to be a different story with the Warriors up as much as 23. But Kyle Kuzma and the Lakers destroyed the Warriors bench unit to claw back into the game.
Kuzma looked borderline unstoppable, going for 27 points and 14 rebounds, but the Warriors were able to quiet him long enough to secure the win.
A night after Klay Thompson went on a first half barrage, it was Durant’s turn, pouring in 18 points on 5-of-8 shooting before the halftime buzzer. Durant would finish with 33 points, seven rebounds, seven assists and four blocked shots.
The returning Green pitched in with 13 points of his own, 11 boards and seven assists. His shoulder looked to be fully healed after taking two weeks off.
And with Zaza Pachulia still sidelined, we could be getting some more looks at this futuristic starting lineup — potentially for years to come.
The Warriors get a 20-hour break before tipping off at Oracle once again when they take on the Denver Nuggets Saturday at 5:30 p.m. Both teams will be on their second game of back-to-back sets as the Nuggets beat the Blazers Friday.
The Warriors have pushed their season-long winning streak to 11 games. And they have now won 10 straight home games against the Lakers.