Warriors’ Wiggins returns after 2-month absence, scores 17

Published 12:12 am Monday, April 17, 2023

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Andrew Wiggins gave the Golden State Warriors almost everything they wanted in his first game in more than two months.

Then with a chance to win it at the end, Wiggins missed and the Warriors lost 126-123 to the Sacramento Kings in Game 1 of their first-round series Saturday night.

“Wiggs was great,” Kerr said. “So awesome to have him back. We are whole with him. Our team makes sense with Wiggs back. … He was fantastic. It was wonderful to have him back.”

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Wiggins returned after missing the final 25 games of the regular season to deal with an undisclosed family matter. He rejoined the team earlier this month and got back on the court for a game for the first time since Feb. 13.

Wiggins brought needed energy and scoring in his 28 minutes off the bench, with 17 points, three rebounds and four blocked shots.

“He was super aggressive,” teammate Draymond Green said. “The fact that he was aggressive, you can live with him missing some shots. … To enter into a playoff game after not playing after two and a half months is big. … It’s huge. He’s our go-to guy when we need stops on the defensive end.”

The only thing missing from Wiggins’ game was his long-range shooting. He went 1 for 8 from 3-point range and missed a potential go-ahead 3 from the corner in the closing seconds.

But he felt good about his overall performance despite the late miss.

“That last one felt amazing,” Wiggins said. “Only up from here. … I’m here to compete and I believe in myself.”

The Warriors supported Wiggins during his long absence and are excited to have him back as a key piece for the postseason.

Wiggins played a big part in Golden State’s championship run last season, averaging 16.5 points and 7.5 rebounds per game in the playoffs, while also playing a key defensive role.

He signed a four-year contract extension in October to be a long-term fit for the Warriors but played only 37 games all season. He missed three with left foot soreness, 10 more because of a strained adductor in his right thigh, seven games with a non-COVID-19 illness and then the final 25 games for the family matter.

He averaged 17.1 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.3 assists in the regular season.