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Warriors use total team effort to run away from Hornets

Jordan Poole and Gary Payton II starred as the Warriors beat the Hornets 114-92.

NBA: Charlotte Hornets at Golden State Warriors Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Golden State Warriors superstar Steph Curry had something off an off night on Wednesday against the Charlotte Hornets, but his team didn’t seem to care. Who needs a two-time MVP when the guards behind him are ready to step up with star performances of their own?

Jordan Poole had his best game of the season, with 31 points on 11-for-21 shooting (including 7-for-16 from deep), 4 steals, and a game-high +28. And Gary Payton II had his best game of the season, shooting 6-for-9 from the field to score 14 points, with 5 rebounds, 3 steals, 1 block, and the type of defense that surely made his nine-time All-Defense selection father say, “how the hell did he do that?”

Thanks to those two, and pretty much everyone who wore a Warriors jersey during the game, the Dubs ran out to a 114-92 win over a Hornets team that entered the game with a tidy 5-3 record.

Things started slowly for the Warriors. Halfway through the first quarter they had just eight points — all courtesy of Poole — and the turnover column of the stat sheet was filling up as quickly as the piggy bank in Squid Game. The defense was elite from the get-go — though it’s worth noting that Hornets emerging star Miles Bridges had no regard for it — but the offense couldn’t do much. Other than Poole, who was doing a lot.

Curry wasn’t getting many shots, and wasn’t making the ones he got. There were turnovers and then more turnovers, and plenty of missed opportunities.

But eventually things clicked. Poole kept scoring and kept scoring, and others started to follow. Damion Lee and Nemanja Bjelica provided sparks off the bench, and in the second half Curry and Andrew Wiggins started to find the bottom of the basket. And Payton did a little bit of everything, making life hell for LaMelo Ball, picking many a pocket, and cutting to the rim to finish with authority.

What was a five-point deficit after the first quarter turned into a one-point lead at halftime, which turned into a 13-point lead after three (the third quarter Warriors are back, baby!), which manifested in a 22-point win, easily the most impressive outcome of the season.

There are still things to work on — the 16 turnovers are ugly — but when you register 33 assists, shoot 40% from deep on 45 attempts, and hold a high-flying offense to just 92 points, it’s a good day.

The Dubs are now 6-1, and will look to add to that on Friday night, at home, against the New Orleans Pelicans.

Be sure to check out the Warriors post-game chat on Twitch from our writer Marc Delucchi (content starts at 4:55).

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