Maybe Steph Curry’s day off in Detroit helped more than just Curry himself. Because one game after Jordan Poole and Andrew Wiggins combined for 59 points in Curry’s absence, they put up 33 and 32 points respectively in a 119-104 Golden State Warriors win over the Toronto Raptors. Curry and Draymond Green’s load management may have inspired the young duo to manage the team’s scoring load themselves. The win brought the team’s record to a league-leading 15-2, their best start since the 2016-17 team began the season 16-2, a mark they’ll try to match Wednesday night versus Philadelphia.
On a night where Toronto made it their defensive mission to deny Curry touches and shots, and dared someone else on the team to beat them. Poole and Wiggins accepted that dare, going a combined 14-19 from three-point range on a night where Curry was just 1-6. Otto Porter Jr. also went nuts from deep, making five threes in his 22 minutes of play, which accounted for all 15 of his points.
Golden State jumped out to a huge early lead, going up 19-7 on Steph Curry’s only three-pointer of the game, just 5:29 into the first quarter. They’d later stretch the lead to 31-11, and the Raptors would never get closer than nine points after that. Wiggins started very hot from deep, hitting three three balls in the quarter - he was 5-5 in the first half - and scoring 14 points.
Wiggins is feelin' it early in the first pic.twitter.com/gQ43BCLtGw— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) November 22, 2021
Wiggins has famously excelled against the two teams who traded him away, the Cavaliers and Timberwolves. But his third-highest scoring average comes against his native Canada’s only team, as if playing the Raptors makes Maple Jordan play like regular Jordan. Speaking of Jordans, Poole had ten points in the first in an incredibly efficient scoring game. He scored 33 points on just 13 shots, including 8-11 from deep and 5-6 from the free throw line. Toronto swarming Curry led to more open threes for Poole and Wiggins, but they also mixed in drives to the hoop and drew fouls. It’s done wonders for Poole’s percentages.
In just two games, Jordan Poole increased his three-point percentage from 28.6% to 33.3% -- a near 5-percentage-point increase.— Joe Viray (@JoeVirayNBA) November 22, 2021
Draymond Green had another stellar game defensively, with Steve Kerr calling him “the best defender in the world” after another game where he disrupted the opponent’s defense - although Kerr added that he was worried about Draymond “after Michigan State was down 49-0 (to Ohio State) in the second quarter.” Green pulled down 14 rebounds and had 8 assists, including this dime off a blocked shot to Wiggins.
Draymond and Wiggs getting it done on both ends of the court pic.twitter.com/qsGmrMCGFF— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) November 22, 2021
For Toronto, Pascal Siakam led the way with 21 points, although most of that damage came in the second half, with the game mostly out of reach. Fred VanVleet had 17, also mostly in the second half, but it’s hard to rely offensively on the guy chasing Steph Curry around all game long. VanVleet did hit back-to-back three-pointers in the 4th quarter to cut the lead to 103-93 and make things briefly interesting. But after a timeout, Poole hit a three, Porter hit another, and the Warriors went on an 11-0 run to erase all doubt about the outcome.
Rookie Scottie Barnes came through with 10 points and 13 rebounds, but Gary Trent Junior’s brutal shooting night (3-16, 0-8 on two-pointers) helped doom Toronto in the first half. Former Warriors Chris Boucher scored ten points and had five rebounds in his 14 minutes.
It was yet another game where the Warriors’ bench stepped up, though it’s never clear who will be the hero on a given night. Birthday boy Chris Chiozza got an opportunity with Gary Payton II sitting out, and he came through with 11 points in a season-high 20 minutes of play. That’s the traditional 26th birthday gift for a backup point guard: Playing time. He got a standing ovation from his teammates in the locker room after the game.
Meanwhile 28-year-old Otto Porter Junior came back from a rest day in Detroit and gave big contributions, none bigger than the back-to-back threes he hit in the second quarter when Toronto had closed to within nine points. For the game, the team was 22-45, a stunning total for a game where Curry was 1-6.
Curry seemed to be content to serve as a decoy, giving the ball up when he was blitzed and dealing with VanVleet’s physical defense. He finished with eight assists but only ten shots, the 4th-most on the team. It was the first game in seven years where two Warriors scored 30 points - and neither of them was Steph Curry or Klay Thompson.
Per Elias, the last time the Warriors had two players score 30 or more in the same game and neither was Steph Curry or Klay Thompson:— Marcus Thompson (@ThompsonScribe) November 22, 2021
April 16, 2014.
The two players:
Shoutout to the Black Falcon!
Once again, the criminally underrated Kevon Looney had a game full of solid defense and sneaky rebounding, logging two blocks and two steals while leading the team with five offensive rebounds - he had 10 total. It’s easily his best rebounding season as a pro, and for the season, his defensive rating is a measly 98 points per 100 possessions. Sure, it helps that he shares the court with Draymond, but he’s been a huge part of the team’s ability to protect the rim with nobody taller than 6’9” on the court. And he’s still younger than Chris Chiozza!
Andre Iguodala missed his third straight game with knee soreness, and Payton was officially out with recovery from his hernia surgery, two months ago. The team plays Philadelphia Wednesday night, who may finally see Joel Embiid return after missing the last seven game in the COVID-19 protocol. The 76ers will also be missing Warriors killer Danny Green, and the unhappiest Sixer of them all, Ben Simmons.