The Golden State Warriors beat the Los Angeles Clippers 115-113 on Thursday night to improve to 2-0 on the young season. They’re the only team in the league with that record, so things are going according to plan.
Since this team is both deep and intriguing, I thought I’d start offering up player grades after games, to give a quick analysis of how everyone did. I won’t do this after every game, but I’ll aim for most of them.
Players will, for the most part, be graded on a weighted scale, so an A+ for Steph Curry and an A+ for Chris Chiozza will not be the same thing.
34 minutes, 10 points, 6 rebounds, 7 assists, 1 steal, 1 turnover, 1 foul, 4-for-5 shooting, 2-for-9 free throws, -7
It was a very rough day shooting free throws for Green, but truthfully, I’m much more encouraged by the number of free throw attempts than discouraged by the rate of success. Green has historically been a good free throw shooter, and the fact that he was getting to the rim, finishing much stronger than he did last year, and earning trips to the line is a great sign.
Plus, it made for some wonderful lines.
Draymond Green went 2-of-9 from the FT line tonight: “Hopefully these coaches see this and start doing the Hack-a-Draymond and I can get some free points.” pic.twitter.com/JqEzPw2zLi— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) October 22, 2021
Also encouraging was Green playing 34 minutes. Before the season opener, Steve Kerr said that it would probably be a few weeks before Green was fully conditioned for regular playing time, after missing the start of camp with a personal issue.
He looked to be in great condition all through the game, and made some of the biggest plays of the game down the stretch.
31 minutes, 17 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, 2 turnovers, 1 foul, 6-for-15 shooting, 3-for-6 threes, 2-for-2 free throws, -5
Wiggins’ first quarter was the best offense he’d played this month, surpassing the season opener and preseason games.
Yet even with that, he finished with a moderate-efficiency night. And while there’s no shame in getting cooked by Paul George — most players get cooked by Paul George — it wasn’t a defensive game that Wiggins will want to put on his resume, either.
The Warriors will need a little more consistency from Wiggins going forward, but this game was a step in the right direction after a few rough appearances from him.
14 minutes, 6 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block, 4 fouls, 2-for-3 shooting, 2-for-2 free throws, +8
Even with James Wiseman injured, it’s clear that Looney’s role is going to be diminished this year. That’s no fault of his, just the reality of a team tailor-made to excel at small ball.
Still, Looney did everything the Warriors asked him to do. He gobbled up rebounds, set strong screens, played great defense, and stayed within his role on offense, scoring when the ball found him.
He’ll never be a glamorous player, but days like Thursday are a reminder as to his value on this team.
38 minutes, 45 points, 10 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 block, 6 turnovers, 2 fouls, 16-for-25 shooting, 8-for-13 threes, 5-for-5 free throws, -2
Only Curry could drop in 45 points — including 25 in the first quarter — with those shooting percentages and finish a plus sign shy of an “A+.” But that’s the standard he’s held to.
Curry showed up early, and showed up late, with two monster threes in the final moments, both to put the Dubs ahead.
In between he struggled a bit though, as he was unable to stop the bleeding in the second quarter or the sloppiness in the third quarter, and had way more turnovers than he’d like.
Still ... it’s greatness.
25 minutes, 9 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, 7 turnovers, 4 fouls, 4-for-14 shooting, 1-for-6 threes, +10
Poole finishing with a +10 and Curry with a -2 is your daily reminder to take single-game +/- with a Chase Center-sized grain of salt.
It was a good learning lesson for Poole, who played with the style and confidence of someone who had a coming out party in the preseason, but not quite with the results.
Draymond notes the Clippers were very physical with Jordan Poole, who had seven turnovers. Draymond’s advice to Poole was “slow down.”— Kerith Burke (@KerithBurke) October 22, 2021
Poole will win the Warriors a lot of games this season, so it’s nice to see that they can win without him, too.
16 minutes, 6 points, 6 rebounds, 1 turnover, 3-for-5 shooting, -11
It wasn’t quite an encore performance after Bjelica played so well in the season opener that many fans were already fretting in my mentions over the fact that the Warriors wouldn’t be able to afford to re-sign him.
But this is what you expect out of good bench players. Some nights the stats will be there, and some nights they won’t; but all along, a good bench player does the things that help a team win.
Bjelica once again showed pristine chemistry with Steph Curry and Draymond Green, and looked incredibly comfortable in the system. There were some plays where he got a touch too Strength in Numbersy, and passed when maybe he should have shot, but it was a strong performance nonetheless.
24 minutes, 4 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, 1 turnover, 2-for-2 shooting, +13
I’m just going to leave it at this: Iguodala looks like the player who was on the Warriors from 2013 through 2019, not the guy who was on the Miami Heat for the last two seasons.
Otto Porter Jr.
18 minutes, 4 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 turnovers, 1 foul, 2-for-3 shooting, 0-for-1 threes, +13
Porter hasn’t filled up the stat sheet in these first two games the way he did in the preseason, but just like Bjelica, it’s abundantly clear how well he fits in the system.
He moved to the right spots, made the right reads, made the right passes, and did what was asked of him. He showed strong intuition and chemistry with the Dubs’ stars, rebounded well when asked to play up a position, and played his usual high-quality defense.
7 minutes, 3 points, 2 assists, 1 turnover, 3 fouls, 1-for-3 shooting, 1-for-2 threes, -6
JTA has the unenviable task of being a depth piece on a team with a lot of depth pieces, which means some days he’ll have sporadic minutes, and some days he’ll play quite a lot.
He’s always good for a few JTA plays a game, where his intelligence and scrappiness combine into one brilliant moment. He had those in this game, but also a fair share of less ideal moments.
29 minutes, 11 points, 1 rebound, 2 assists, 2 fouls, 3-for-8 shooting, 2-for-3 threes, 3-for-4 free throws, +6
Lee is Thursday’s winner of the award for the player whose contributions were far greater than the box score might indicate.
Steph Curry was the star, and Draymond Green the do-everything motor, but Lee seemed to always come up with a big play when the team needed it.
He was on the court down the stretch, and for good reason. Curry gave Lee an extra-long and emphatic embrace when the final buzzer sounded, and it wasn’t just because it was Lee’s birthday. It was because the Warriors don’t win the game without him.
4 minutes, 0 points, 2 assists, -9
Moody didn’t get much of an opportunity in his second career game, but he made two highly-impressive passes, getting assists on plays that were headed for turnovers before he saved them.
Moses Moody's only had a couple cameos the first two games, but the rookie's done some nice things. I'd expect him to get increased run in coming weeks, as Iguodala's playing time ticks back on select nights. Here are two smart Moody assists in his three minutes last night. pic.twitter.com/nPrGyiiNoI— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) October 22, 2021
Still, while Moody flashed signs of excitement, he looked a touch in over his head on both ends of the court.
Gary Payton II
3 seconds, 0 stats
Payton only played seven seconds in the season opener, but that was enough time to make an impact, with a critical steal. That didn’t happen in this game, with Steve Kerr turning to the 15th player on the roster for just three seconds to get Steph Curry off the court at the end of a quarter.
Nothing of note happened.
Thursday’s DNPs: Jeff Dowtin (coach’s decision)
Thursday’s inactives: Chris Chiozza, Jonathan Kuminga, Klay Thompson, James Wiseman