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Back to the future: Warriors vs. Blazers keys revisited

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How did Golden State do with their keys to victory against Portland?

Portland Trail Blazers v Golden State Warriors Photo by Ezra Shaw/undefined

What a difference two days makes. After getting crushed by the Portland Trail Blazers 123-98 on Friday, the Golden State Warriors bounced back in Sunday’s rematch and won 137-122.

It was far and away the best performance of the year for the Dubs, powered by Steph Curry going scorched earth and erupting for 62 points.

Let’s see how they did on their pregame keys to victory.

STEPH

The key: Steph Curry has to shoot efficiently, and make some threes.

The outcome: Uhh ... yeah. If 62 points on 31 shots and 19 free throw attempts doesn’t qualify as efficient, I’m not sure what does. That’s a blistering 78.8% true-shooting percentage (for reference, the league average this season is 56.5%).

As for the making some threes part, Curry had eight of them.

So yeah. He heard this key to the game loud and clear, and you can go ahead and credit me for his performance.

Grading the key: 10 out of 10

Wiggs

The key: Andrew Wiggins needs to be a difference maker on offense.

The outcome: Wiggins wasn’t a difference maker on offense, but we have to adjust this key a little bit. When your teammate erupts for a hyper-efficient 62 points, the best thing you can do is stay out of their way. In hindsight, it would’ve been bad if Wiggins were a difference maker on offense.

That said, he had a totally fine game offensively, with 21 points on 8-for-16 shooting, though he went just 4-for-7 from the free throw. He helped keep the offense afloat when Curry was on the bench, and he was definitely a difference maker on defense.

So while he didn’t exactly hit this key, he had a really nice game, and that’s more important.

Grading the key: 5.5 out of 10

Aggressive Wiseman

The key: James Wiseman can’t live outside the paint.

The outcome: Two days after settling almost exclusively for jumpers in the Warriors loss, Wiseman was far more aggressive against Portland’s porous defense. He had nine shot attempts, and only one of them came outside of the paint (and it was a three-pointer).

This not only led to Wiseman having an efficient night, but also helped space the floor better.

The aggressiveness wasn’t just on offense though, as Wiseman had a career-best 11 rebounds and a pair of blocked shots. After the game, Draymond Green praised the improvements the rookie made on defense from Friday to Sunday.

A good showing all around for him.

Grading the key: 8 out of 10

The Dray effect

The key: Draymond Green has to have an impact.

The outcome: Wow. That was a vintage Green outing.

He was everywhere on defense, not only making huge plays but directing traffic. You could see how much better Wiseman, Wiggins, and Kelly Oubre Jr. played on that end of the court with Green out there. He dished out eight assists, despite scoring just a single point. He led the Warriors in +/- at +22.

That Draymond is still one of the best players in the NBA.

Grading the key: 9.5 out of 10

Well done, Dubs. That works.