Most battles are won or lost in the mind.
It’s true in every facet of life. But it doesn’t ring truer than in the game of basketball. Sometimes confidence and grit is all you need to steal a win or two, and that’s exactly what the Golden State Warriors had. And tonight, the “strength in newbies” squad had it by the pound.
The Dubs fought for the entire 48 minutes to stun a Portland Trailblazer team that had more talent and had more depth but they won anyway. Here are a few factors in tonight’s 127-118 win over Portland.
Rookie forward Eric Paschal was sensational tonight, scoring 34 points off of 11 of 19 shooting from the field, and four of six from deep. He was also the first Warriors rookie since Stephen Curry in 2009-10 to post back to back games of at least 25 points. While he did most of his damage in the paint , Paschal also showed that he’s been working on his outside shot. Although the Warriors lost to the Hornets Saturday night, Paschal gained much needed confidence and he rode that confidence into this game.
Eric Paschall: “You got to feel like you’re the best player out there. It’s a dog eat dog world. If you’re not aggressive, you gonna get eat alive. There are some killers out there.” pic.twitter.com/Y4kceT9PPq— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) November 5, 2019
Granted, the Warriors fought like hell for this win and showed a grit that rivals sandpaper. However what’s lost in the scrappiness of tonight is a few subtle but key adjustments. While they still need to vastly improve on defense, the Warriors are starting to gel in defensive rotations. Their movements were better than the first five games. Despite not defending well in the paint, the Warriors held their on along the perimeter. They held the Blazers to 13 of 40 from three, and out rebounded them 47-44
What really impressed me was the way that the ‘Baby Dubs’ handled themselves throughout the night. The Blazers began to unravel late in the third quarter. Frustrated with how their night was going, the Blazers became spicy. A scuffle under the basket after Ky Bowman’s layup on Hasaan Whiteside cost the Blazers a tech. After the scuffle, the Blazers committed mental mistakes, piling up costly turnovers and fouls. Free throws by Paschall, Damion Lee, Jordan Poole, etc helped maintain the lead and iced the game.
The Warriors look to keep that same momentum, energy and fight as they travel to Houston to face the Rockets Wednesday night.