The Golden State Warriors gutted out a 102-100 win over the Indiana Pacers on Monday, despite trailing for almost the entire game. It wasn’t pretty at all, but one of the marks of great teams is the ability to pull off ugly wins when shots aren’t falling and the rhythm is off.
The Dubs had an off day, took the best punch from a sneakily good Indiana team, and will still roll into New York on Tuesday with a winning streak.
Now let’s grade the performances, weighting for expectations as always.
31 minutes, 15 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 turnovers, 4 fouls, 7-for-10 shooting, 0-for-1 threes, 1-for-2 free throws, -4
It was a season-high 15 points for Green, whose offense was aggressive from the opening tip. He was attacking the basket relentlessly, and fit rather decently into the secondary scorer role, which we don’t see very often these days.
I’d argue it wasn’t his best defensive game, but with Green, even his worst defensive games are great.
Post-game bonus: Led the team in rebounds.
34 minutes, 15 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 3 blocks, 2 turnovers, 4 fouls, 7-for-15 shooting, 0-for-3 threes, 1-for-1 free throws, -6
On the other hand, this was one of Wiggins’ better defensive games of the year. Wiggins had the clamps on all game, and doubly so when the game was on the line. The Dubs held the Pacers to just four points in the final 4:26, and Wiggins was one of the main reasons for that.
27 minutes, 14 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 fouls, 7-for-10 shooting, +10
This was Looney at his absolute best. He played good defense on Myles Turner, and more than held his own when switched onto smaller players. He took full advantage of the attention the Pacers gave Steph Curry, attacking the rim when left alone and finishing with authority.
It was already a good night for Looney before the final offensive possession, when he corralled an offense rebound and acrobatically made the game-winning shot with 13.4 seconds remaining.
Big time board— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) December 14, 2021
Big time bucket pic.twitter.com/FAuq3N3HHj
“Kevon Looney game winner” was not on many people’s bingo cards this year.
35 minutes, 26 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, 7 turnovers, 1 foul, 8-for-20 shooting, 5-for-15 threes, 5-for-5 free throws, +17
Curry’s (relative) shooting woes continued in this game, though he didn’t look like he was forcing threes as he chased the record. He’s done that a bit in the past few games.
The five free throws and 3-for-5 shooting inside the arc continue to paint a picture of a player you’d love to see attack the rim more, but it’s easier to say that from my couch than it is when six arms and three torsos are draped all over you 35 feet from the hoop. Indy’s sell-out philosophy worked in the sense that Curry had an inefficient game (by his standards) and turned the ball over 7 times, but it wasn’t just reputation gravity that led to the Dubs outscoring the Pacers by 17 points in Curry’s 35 minutes and getting outscored by 15 in the 13 minutes he sat.
It was that gravity plus his ability to make things out of it.
Post-game bonus: Led the team in points, assists, and plus/minus.
29 minutes, 8 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 turnovers, 4 fouls, 3-for-9 shooting, 1-for-4 threes, 1-for-3 free throws, -5
Poole faded into the background a little bit in this game, but that’s OK. He contributed to some of the sloppy play, but also had some nice moments.
9 minutes, 3 points, 2 rebounds, 1 turnover, 3 fouls, 1-for-1 shooting, 1-for-1 threes, -1
This wasn’t a great matchup for Bjelica, and Steve Kerr seemed to acknowledge that pretty early on.
6 minutes, 3 points, 1 rebound, 1 turnover, 1-for-3 shooting, 0-for-1 threes, 1-for-2 free throws, +11
Kuminga replaced Bjelica in the second quarter when Kerr realized that his veteran shouldn’t be on the court. Shortly after Kuminga took the court, the Dubs rattled off a 12-0 run. His offense continues to look raw, but his defense continues to look very promising, while his athleticism stands out on almost every play.
And even that raw offense showed off a little.
Otto Porter Jr.
25 minutes, 10 points, 6 rebounds, 1 foul, 5-for-9 shooting, 0-for-2 threes, -7
Porter suddenly seems to be Kerr’s most trusted bench piece, and for good reason. Things really seem to flow well when he’s on the court right now, and his positional versatility on defense gives the Warriors all sorts of options with lineups and matchups.
14 minutes, 2 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 1 turnover, 3 fouls, 1-for-2 shooting, +9
JTA definitely contributed some huge moments on defense, and had some nice offensive plays as well, including a brilliant pass to Porter on the baseline for a layup.
19 minutes, 3 points, 3 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 block, 1 foul, 1-for-3 shooting, 0-for-2 threes, 1-for-1 free throws, -5
A totally fine, if not particularly notable performance from Lee, whose defense has looked really good the last few games.
2 minutes, 0 points, 0-for-1 shooting, +3
Moody got off the bench, but just for a few spot minutes. Hopefully the Dubs can get themselves a blowout win soon so the rookie can get some playing time.
Gary Payton II
9 minutes, 3 points, 1 steal, 1 block, 1 foul, 1-for-1 shooting, 1-for-1 threes, -12
Here’s a silly stat I just uncovered: Payton became the second player this year (Patty Mills being the other) to record a steal and a block without a rebound or an assist.
That means nothing, but hey, it’s Monday.
Post-game bonus: Worst plus/minus on the team
Monday’s inactives: Chris Chiozza, Jeff Dowtin, Andre Iguodala, Klay Thompson, James Wiseman