Santa Cruz Warriors Lose at the Golden 1 Center v. Bighorns

Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports /

The Santa Cruz Warriors lost 109-108 to the Reno Bighorns on Friday at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento despite Damian Jones being on assignment.

After securing a lopsided 116-96 win over the Reno Bighorns (13-23) last Wednesday, the Santa Cruz Warriors (19-17) were unable to go 2-0 against Reno this past week, losing 109-108 on Friday to the Bighorns at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento.

Only time will tell whether Santa Cruz will be able to regroup and bounce back at Kaiser Permanente Arena on Saturday against the visiting Windy City Bulls. Fans unable to catch the game personally in Surf City will be able to tune in via Facebook Live at 7:00 p.m. PST.

James Southerland paced the Warriors with a double-double, finishing with 27 points (10-16 FG) and 11 rebounds, going 5-for-11 from behind the arc. LaDontae Henton dropped in 23 points (8-17 FG) off the bench, shooting 7-of-13 from long range.

Scott Wood contributed 13 points (4-12 FG) and six rebounds, while Phil Pressey finished with a double-double, tallying 12 points (4-15 FG), six rebounds, and 10 assists. Cleanthony Early added 11 points on 4-for-8 shooting.

And in the first game of his most recent D-League assignment, Golden State Warriors rookie center Damian Jones recorded eight points, seven boards, two assists, and one block. He shot 3-for-7 from the field and went 2-for-2 from the free throw line.

Per Warriors beat writer Anthony Slater of San Jose Mercury News/Bay Area News Group, the plan for Damian Jones is to have him play with Santa Cruz for the remainder of the D-League season. Santa Cruz is currently on an uphill battle for the fourth and final playoff spot in the D-League Western Conference.

Next: Santa Cruz Warriors Earn Blowout Win v. Reno

Reno’s Gary Neal led all scorers on Friday, tallying 41 points (12-20 FG), eight rebounds, and five steals. Neal notably shot 2-for-4 from beyond the arc and 15-for-15 from the free throw line. Reggie Hearn contributed 17 points (7-10 FG).

Georgios Papagiannis  on assignment from the Sacramento Kings — notched a double-double, dropping in 16 points (7-8 FG) and 10 rebounds. Isaiah Cousins had 13 points (3-12 FG) and four boards, while David Stockton recorded 10 points (3-12 FG), five rebounds and five dimes.

— EDIT (Feb. 25, 2017 6:00 P.M. PST) —

Santa Cruz Warriors announce that they’ve traded veteran player Cameron Jones to the Canton Charge. Jones came into the 2016-17 season as a training camp invite with the Golden State Warriors. He was a DNP-CD on Friday against Reno.

Per the official media release:

"“The Santa Cruz Warriors announced today that the team has acquired the Sioux Falls Skyforce’s original 2017 NBA D- League 3rd Round Draft Pick and the Returning Player Rights of Juvonte Reddic and Jordan Morgan  from the Canton Charge, in exchange for Cameron Jones and Santa Cruz’s 2017 NBA D-League 4th Round Pick.Cameron Jones appeared in 34 contests (15 starts) for Santa Cruz this season and averaged 12.1 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 3 assists in 26.5 minutes.  Jones is the franchise’s all-time leading scorer with 1,995 points for his career. Including his time with Fort Wayne, Jones has 2,669 points in his D-League career, which is 20th all-time.”"

Trading away a core piece this late into the season could mean a number of different things. Warriors head coach Casey Hill told Santa Cruz broadcaster Kevin Danna that the trade was based on the fact that Cam Jones’ minutes were dwindling with the emergence of some of the other guys.

"“With the way this team has kind of evolved over this season, his (Cameron Jones) minutes just kinda started to disintegrate a little bit, and it had nothing to do with what he was doing wrong; it had a lot to do with what other guys were doing right,” said Hill.“It came down to a point where we felt like we needed to find a better place for him.”"

Santa Cruz is currently three games behind the Sioux Falls Skyforce for the fourth and final spot in the Western Conference. How this trade affects the Warriors’ push for the playoffs moving forward remains to be seen.