Well that was a lot of fun. The Golden State Warriors, despite traveling foibles on the back end of a road back-to-back, grit their teeth and managed a 105-96 win over the New York Knicks.
The biggest story was Steph Curry setting the all-time record for threes made, which was a touching and emotional moment. But the importance in any game is the outcome, and the Warriors got what they were looking for on that front.
So let’s grade the players, weighting for our expectations.
32 minutes, 8 points, 11 rebounds, 7 assists, 1 steal, 3 blocks, 3 turnovers, 3 fouls, 3-for-6 shooting, 1-for-1 threes, 1-for-2 free throws, +8
A pretty typical night at the office for Dray who, as he tends to do, did a little bit of everything. The aggression attacking the rim is really paying off lately, as he’s capitalizing on the opportunities created by teams selling out for Curry.
Post-game bonus: Led the team in rebounds and assists.
34 minutes, 18 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 turnovers, 1 foul, 6-for-13 shooting, 3-for-6 threes, 3-for-6 free throws, +4
There are areas to nitpick, as there often are with Wiggins, but this is exactly the type of game that the Warriors have him for. He was a great secondary and/or tertiary scoring option, knocking in 18 points on strong efficiency with his usual solid defense.
Plus, he assisted Curry on the record-breaking three, so he has a part in Warriors history now.
24 minutes, 4 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block, 3 fouls, 2-for-4 shooting, +12
Looney has been getting more and more minutes lately, and can you blame Steve Kerr? Things are starting to work really well when he’s on the court. He’s taking advantage of Curry’s gravity, playing well within the system, and, as always, defending well.
He even had a eurostep layup!
35 minutes, 22 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, 4 turnovers, 4 fouls, 8-for-20 shooting, 5-for-14 threes, 1-for-2 free throws, +13
Curry’s string of inefficient (by his historically-great standards) scoring nights continued. It will be interesting to see if finally having the record in the rearview mirror allows him to settle into a rhythm a little bit more.
Still, you can’t complain about a player setting a record on a historic night. Well done, Steph.
A league of his own.— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) December 15, 2021
2,974 career threes for Stephen Curry, making NBA history as the all-time leader in threes made pic.twitter.com/aHyfbXHO5o
Grade: A+ for the achievement
Post-game bonus: Led the team in points and plus/minus.
34 minutes, 19 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 turnovers, 4 fouls, 3-for-11 shooting, 0-for-6 threes, 13-for-13 free throws, +6
If you had told me before the season that Poole would have an 0-for-6 game from distance where I still gave him an “A” grade I would not have believed you. But JP continued to show his improvement in attacking the rim. He attempted nearly half of the team’s 27 free throws, and his aggression often set up other players.
17 minutes, 14 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 fouls, 5-for-5 shooting, 4-for-4 threes, 0-for-2 free throws, -2
There’s something really funny to me about a player going a perfect 5-for-5 from the field and a perfect 4-for-4 from the three point line, and then having an 0-for-2 night from the free throw line.
Basketball is weird, but other than the charity stripe foibles, this was Bjelica at his very best.
10 minutes, 4 points, 2 rebounds, 2-for-2 shooting, +7
Kuminga is getting some steady rotation minutes right now, and all I can say is that he is absolutely earning them. His offensive aggression is now being met with some smart decision-making and restraint, and his defense continues to impress.
14 minutes, 2 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists, 0-for-4 shooting, 0-for-4 threes, 2-for-2 free throws, +3
It’s never a good time to shoot 0-for-4 from distance, but if you’re going to do it, might as well dole out more than an assist every three minutes.
Mostly it’s just nice to see Iguodala back on the court.
13 minutes, 2 points, 1 rebound, 2 assists, 1-for-4 shooting, -7
A rather ho-hum night for JTA, who didn’t really contribute much in this game.
Post-game bonus: Worst plus/minus on the team.
17 minutes, 7 points, 3 rebounds, 4 fouls, 3-for-7 shooting, 1-for-4 threes, -4
Lee had a really ugly first half of basketball, but bounced back with a pivotal second half in which he had some incredibly important plays.
Gary Payton II
10 minutes, 5 points, 1 rebound, 1 steal, 1 block, 1 foul, 2-for-2 shooting, 1-for-1 threes, +5
Yesterday I mentioned that GP2 became the second player this year to have a steal and a block without a rebound or an assist, and then he came so close to doing it on back-to-back nights!
Tuesday’s DNPs: Moses Moody
Tuesday’s inactives: Chris Chiozza, Jeff Dowtin, Otto Porter Jr., Klay Thompson, James Wiseman