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Player grades: Warriors vs. Cavs

Assessing every Golden State player’s performance in the team’s 104-89 victory over Cleveland.

Golden State Warriors v Cleveland Cavaliers Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

Whew. That was something. The Golden State Warriors made us sit through three rather ugly quarters of basketball before turning on the gas in the rudest and most delightful of ways.

I mean just look at the way they played with their food — Steph Curry in particular.

So do we reward the Warriors for one of the most dominant quarters of basketball you’ll ever witness, and yet another win by double digits? Or do we punish them for being down 13 points entering the fourth quarter to a Cleveland Cavaliers team missing Collin Sexton, Jarrett Allen, Evan Mobley, and Lauri Markkanen?

There’s only one way to find out: by grading all of the Dubs, weighted for expectations.

Draymond Green

30 minutes, 4 points, 2 rebounds, 14 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, 2 turnovers, 1 foul, 2-for-3 shooting, 0-for-1 threes, +/- 0

The Warriors had a hard-to-fathom 36 assists on 41 made baskets, and Green was at the heart of it. It was a playmaking game that would make any point guard proud — or envious.

There were weaknesses too, though. Green was mostly a non-factor scoring, and he’s partially responsible for Golden State getting out-rebounded by eight boards. But we’ll take 14 assists (especially with just a pair of turnovers) and All-World defense any day of the week.

Grade: B+

Post-game bonus: Led the team in assists.

Andrew Wiggins

24 minutes, 12 points, 2 assists, 1 block, 3 turnovers, 1 foul, 5-for-11 shooting, 0-for-5 threes, 2-for-2 free throws, -14

Even with a donut from beyond the arc, it wasn’t a horribly inefficient game for Wiggins, who shot 5-for-6 on twos. But the Dubs need a lot more than a stat-free game on the glass, with more turnovers than assists.

It’s nice that Wiggins isn’t forcing up shots like he often did in Minnesota, but he is having plenty of games where he’s just kind of a non-factor.

Grade: C

Kevon Looney

19 minutes, 2 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 3 fouls, 1-for-3 shooting, -17

Looney really struggled to keep Ed Davis off the glass, and his defense wasn’t up to his normal standards in this game.

This was a game where, if healthy, James Wiseman might have gotten a good run of minutes.

Grade: C-

Post-game bonus: Lowest plus/minus on the team.

Steph Curry

35 minutes, 40 points, 4 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals, 3 turnovers, 4 fouls, 15-for-27 shooting, 9-for-16 threes, 1-for-1 free throws, +8

There’s only one part of Curry’s stat line that’s ugly: the 35 minutes. Winning on the road is never easy, but the Warriors were facing a team missing four of its six leaders in minutes per game ... they won’t say it publicly, but they had to be hoping to keep Curry’s minutes in the low-mid 20s as they cruised to a blowout.

Instead, they needed Curry to put forth one of his classic must-see-TV performances in order to accrue that blowout they were searching for. Thankfully he was up to the task.

We are so lucky.

Grade: A+

Post-game bonus: Led the team in points.

Jordan Poole

24 minutes, 8 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 3 fouls, 3-for-10 shooting, 1-for-5 threes, 1-for-1 free throws, -8

Another inefficient scoring contest from Poole, particularly from distance. He’s now shooting just 10-for-50 from three-point range over his last six games. While his defense remains greatly improved, it’s still hard for him to provide too much value when he has more shots taken than points scored.

Grade: C-

Nemanja Bjelica

23 minutes, 14 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals, 2 fouls, 6-for-11 shooting, 2-for-6 threes, +22

Bjelica entered the game having not made a field goal in either of the last two games. He quickly reversed course, with nine early points that helped the Dubs overcome an awful start to the game (they trailed 10-0 and then 19-9).

Later, Beli found himself as part of the dominant fourth-quarter lineup ... you’ll notice four bench players with sterling plus/minuses, as they shared the court with Curry to turn a double-digit deficit into a double-digit win.

He put it all on display in this game.

Grade: A

Jonathan Kuminga

7 minutes, 0 points, 0-for-4 shooting, 0-for-3 threes, +9

Right before the game started, I asked on Twitter what fans were looking for in this game.

It seemed like every single response was a fan looking forward to Kuminga playing a lot of minutes, and/or building on his recent string of strong performances.

Unfortunately, neither happened. Kuminga didn’t play much, and was a total non-factor. He held his own defensively, but also displayed poor shot selection by firing three of his four shots from distance, which is the weakness in his offensive game right now.

Grade: C

Otto Porter Jr.

20 minutes, 0 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assists, 1 steal, 0-for-2 shooting, 0-for-2 threes, +24

With Andre Iguodala out, Porter took over the role of finding a way to impact without scoring. Seriously, is there anything more Iguodalaian than 0 points and a plus/minus of +24?

Porter was part of the deadly fourth-quarter lineup, and while he had a role that wasn’t glamorous, he put on a graduate-level seminar on impacting a game without filling up the box score.

Grade: B+

Juan Toscano-Anderson

16 minutes, 7 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 3 turnovers, 3 fouls, 3-for-3 shooting, 1-for-1 threes, +21

I could give JTA an A+ for his stat line. I could give him an A+ for being one of the five dudes on the court when the Warriors went on their unfathomable run. I could give him an A+ for being taken out of the rotation the last few games, but still staying ready when his number was called. I could give him an A+ for the praise that Curry heaped on him after the game.

But I’m giving him an A+ for this:

Grade: A+

Damion Lee

23 minutes, 11 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 5-for-8 shooting, 1-for-3 threes, +30

It’s these types of performances that will make Steve Kerr’s job so difficult when Klay Thompson returns. How can you remove Lee from the rotation when he’s doing stuff like this? Working seamlessly with Curry as the offense flows about balletically; making big shot after big shot; stepping up on defense.

His season has been so fun and, more importantly, vital to the team’s success.

Grade: A

Post-game bonus: Led the team in rebounds and plus/minus.

Moses Moody

1 minute, 0 points, +3

Moody only got in the game in garbage time.

Grade: Incomplete

Gary Payton II

15 minutes, 6 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 1-for-1 shooting, 1-for-1 threes, 3-for-4 free throws, -2

Payton continues to prove that spark plugs don’t need to be in the instant offense mold. Every time the Warriors put him in the game, the energy level increases, the focus intensifies, and the team just seems to play better.

He’s also scoring really well (still!), which is awesome. And somehow is one of the team’s best rebounders.

What a guy.

Grade: A

Post-game bonus: Led the team in rebounds.

Chris Chiozza

2 minutes, 0 points, 1 assist, -1

Garbage time for Chiozza, with the exception of one possession where he replaced Curry to keep Steph fresh and out of foul trouble.

Grade: Incomplete

Thursday’s inactives: Jeff Dowtin, Andre Iguodala, Klay Thompson, James Wiseman

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