When the Golden State Warriors fell behind 13-0 to the Orlando Magic tonight, they could have conceded the game in the first quarter and take another ‘L’ to add to their already shameful collection of “L’s” this season or they could fight like hell and give themselves a chance to win.
With only 9 players available, the Warriors chose the later and was rewarded for it with a 109-95 win over the Magic. Here are some takeaways from the game.
Learning to Close
During the Dubs’ 10 game losing streak, they lost some heartbreakers where they lead for most of the game and squandered it in the fourth. Most of their issues in the late third and fourth quarters pertained to lackadaisical defense and and inability to score on offense. When the Magic went on a run early in the fourth to take a 90-91 lead, the Warriors ratcheted up the pressure on defense. That defensive pressure was the catalyst to easy buckets in transition. In addition to transition opportunities, D’Angelo Russell hit a dagger 3 that gave the Dubs an 11 point lead with a little over a minute remaining.
Poole’s Offensive Punch
After the Warriors missed their first seven shots and fell in a 13 point hole in the first quarter, it was Poole that sparked the Warriors’ first run of the game. Poole went four for his first five shots and scored 11 points to tighten the score to 15-13 before taking a 28-25 lead into the second quarter. Poole scored a career and season high of 21 points on 8-of-19 from the field, including 4-10 from three. During the past four games, he’s averaged 15.3 points while shooting 42 percent from deep.
Poole’s G-League stint has worked wonders for his confidence and his comfort in adapting to the pace of the games. His ability to score has never been an issue. It was just a matter of getting more familiar with the game and applying what he learned from his G-League assignment to make it click for him.
Paschal Breaking Through The Rookie Wall
Eric Paschall’s had a tough stretch recently. After making noise in the first six weeks of the season, Paschall’s production dipped. To make matters worse, he missed time due to hip pain. Tonight marked his second start in five weeks.
Starting for an injured Draymond Green (index finger sprain), Paschall scored 20 points and snagged nine rebounds. Since returning to the rotation, Paschall averaged 14.8 points per game during a five game span.
Underrated in tonight’s win was Russell’s role as a facilitator. In addition to his 26 points, Russell also dished 12 assists. Since Poole and Paschall had it going tonight, Russell made sure to get them the ball. In additon to keeping the rookies productive, Russell also made a point to seek Willie Cauley-Stein and Marqueses Chriss for pick and roll and lob opportunities, and to keep them engaged and involved in the offense. Russell’s 12 assists was a season-high.