Before Jonathan Kuminga establishes himself as a nightly impact player, he still has a ways to go. But it’s reasonable to say that Tuesday night will have served as a crucial turning point in Kuminga’s growth if he ultimately lives up to that status on the Golden State Warriors’ quest for back-to-back championships.

At the American Airlines Center, Golden State lost to Dallas 116–113 because they were unable to stop Luka Doncic offensively and were further hindered by the opponent’s icy three-point shooting.

Kuminga, whose solid two-way play won Steve Kerr high praise on the postgame platform, was one of the main reasons the Warriors overcame an early 17-point deficit to make the game interesting.

The best game I’ve ever seen JK play, according to Kerr, was one in which everything he did helped his team win. The way he defended Luka was outstanding. He exercised self-control, remained still, and disputed shots. I believe he had a few blocks. He was persistent in his aggressive approach and only used the available weapons. He made a huge three-pointer.

Kalinga ended with 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting, 10 rebounds, and two blocks. His total influence was accurately reflected by his team-best plus-minus of +21 and the fact that Kerr reinserted him for some of the game’s most crucial possessions in the closing minutes.

In the final few minutes, Kuminga not only alternated as Doncic’s primary defender but also composedly sank a vital three-pointer to pull Golden State within one that Dallas practically dared him to take.

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Kuminga must make open shots to be effective, of course, but he performed all the dirty work necessary on Tuesday to guarantee Kerr will continue to give him opportunities like that in the future.

Jonathan Kuminga

Golden State’s greatest defender against Doncic was unquestionably Kuminga, who repeatedly stopped him in the post and forced a turnover by intercepting his step-back three with an early long-arm contest. The sophomore forward worked within the Warriors’ offensive plan while also making several one-handed rebounds in tight spaces and two help blocks near the rim out of nowhere.

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Kuminga basically put on a standout effort, following up on another game that showed he’s finding his feet as a defense-first, sparkplug finisher off the bench. Remember, Kerr also praised Kuminga’s scoreless performance in Friday’s victory over the Utah Jazz.

The Warriors’ coach praised JK, saying, “JK’s been great.” It’s incredibly exciting to see him actually blossoming.

 

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