Warriors’ Omri Casspi relishes memorable night against Suns

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Golden State Warriors forward Omri Casspi (18) in the first half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) Photo: David Zalubowski, Associated Press

PORTLAND, Ore. — Early in the fourth quarter of the Warriors’ 129-83 rout of Phoenix, forward Omri Casspi drained a wide-open three-pointer from the top of the arc. It was a forgettable play in a game already rid of suspense.

That is, if not for one detail: It was the first three-pointer in nearly two months for Casspi, whom Golden State signed last summer largely for his long-range accuracy. A player who has averaged 2.4 three-point attempts per game over his nine-year NBA career is averaging a career-worst 0.5 this season.

“I put a lot of effort into spacing the floor more and shooting more threes,” Casspi said. “You guys come to practice. You guys see me all the way in the corner trying to shoot a lot more. Get back into being more of what I used to do.”

That three-pointer Monday was an exclamation point in what was a much-appreciated outburst from the NBA’s only active Israeli-born player. With Draymond Green sidelined by a sprained left index finger, Casspi got the spot start at power forward, posting a season-high 19 points on 7-for-10 shooting and a game-high 10 rebounds.

Playing the entire fourth quarter, he poured in 11 points. Golden State outscored the Suns by 28 points in the 27 minutes he was on the floor.

“I’ve hardly played him to no fault of his own,” head coach Steve Kerr said. “He just hasn’t had much of a chance. I think it’s great for Omri to have a night like tonight.”

Added Stephen Curry: “He played amazing. It was nice for him to get almost 27 good minutes of run, get his feel. Obviously rebounded the ball well, shot well from the field, was aggressive and took advantage of Draymond’s absence.”

Casspi, who inked a one-year, veteran-minimum deal with the Warriors in July, was an early-season revelation. Kerr’s movement-heavy system seemed the ideal fit for his playing style. With Curry, Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant commanding opponents’ attention, Casspi tended to have plenty of room to operate, cutting hard to the rim for layups.

Though he largely abandoned the three-point arc, he averaged 8.4 points on 65.3 percent shooting in 19.5 minutes per game in December. On the night of Jan. 11, Casspi came down with the flu, which, combined with fatigue and a cross-country flight to Milwaukee, had left him dehydrated. His back spasms were so severe that he couldn’t walk and had trouble sleeping.

After missing wins over Milwaukee, Toronto and Cleveland, Casspi returned for Golden State’s Jan. 17 win over Chicago, only for the Warriors to get outscored by 20 points in the 18 minutes he logged. The improved play of Nick Young and Kevon Looney ate into Casspi’s playing time.

Entering Monday’s game against Phoenix, Casspi had averaged 0.8 points and 4.6 minutes over the Warriors’ previous 10 games. His role was so limited that some had begun to speculate that, if Golden State added a player in the buyout market, it might waive Casspi.

“I felt like the last month or so, I’ve been dealing with a lot on and off the court with injuries and being sick and whatnot,” Casspi said. “It’s tough. The team is running and the team is playing well. I had to make some adjustments. It’s just fun to go up and down and play.”

Connor Letourneau is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: cletourneau@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @Con_Chron

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