Golden State Warriors

Steve Kerr: Juan Toscano-Anderson is his guy when game turns into a ‘dog fight’

The Golden State Warriors still appear unstoppable after beating the 76ers 116-96 on Wednesday, much to the delight of Bay Area basketball fans ready for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

But the game wasn’t an easy win for superstar guard Stephen Curry and company. The 76ers took control early and amassed a 19-point lead in the first half. Defensive stalwart Draymond Green found himself in foul trouble, diminishing Golden State’s league-leading defense, and the Warriors offense was out of sync, too.

So coach Steve Kerr’s squad had to fight for the win, and that means he placed forward Juan Toscano-Anderson in the game. Toscano-Anderson fell out of the rotation earlier in the season, but as Green has said, the Warriors will turn to him when they need a spark. (I couldn’t find the quote, but just trust me on this one.)

Kerr reiterated Green’s sentiment after the win on Wednesday. Toscano-Anderson helped turn the game, which Kerr described as a “dog fight.”

Toscano-Anderson continued his impressive play of late after struggling to crack the rotation to start the season. He had 13 points (6-for-6 shooting), six rebounds, six assists, two blocks and a steal to go plus-21 in 25 minutes.

“He’s a guy who we know is a two-way player. When we are in a game like tonight, that’s kind of a dog fight, he’s the guy you put out there,” Kerr said.

San Francisco Chronicle/Rusty Simmons

Toscano-Anderson’s floor game was sensational, with those six assists and six rebounds, two blocks, and a steal. He also helped turn the game with some rim-ratting dunks, such as this one:

Toscano-Anderson’s story itself is motivating. Hailing from Oakland, he paid his dues playing professionally in Mexico and the G-League before carving out a spot on the undermanned Warriors last season. Early this year, however, it appeared the luster on his story was wearing off as he languished on the bench.

His role on the team now is clear, however: he’s there to supply energy when needed, as well as sneaky skill that fits the Warriors’ playing style very well. Golden State’s roster is stacked compared to last season, so it’s no surprise Toscano-Anderson has played less. But he owns a vital (and pretty cool) role on a Warriors team with championship aspirations. That’s got to feel good for a Bay Area kid playing for his home team next to the brightest stars in the NBA.

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