Win or lose, the Golden State Warriors game against the Houston Rockets looked destined to disappoint you. For 47 minutes and 54.9 seconds, the Warriors played the type of uninspired, uninteresting, and downright unfun basketball that cost them a game against a starterless Indiana Pacers squad on Thursday, and had their backs against the wall (often by double digits) against a bottom-dwelling Rockets team on Friday.
But the last 5.1 seconds were fun as hell and, I suspect, will allow many to forget about how bad the team played.
And for that we thank Steph Curry.
But grades must still be handed out, and while all wins look the same in the standings, they look very different on the report card. So here we go, weighting for expectation.
Otto Porter Jr.
27 minutes, 13 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block, 2 turnovers, 5-for-8 shooting, 1-for-4 threes, 2-for-2 free throws, +16
I don’t have too much to say about Porter, who just had a super solid game. When the Warriors started making their run, Porter was right in the thick of it, making the extra pass, flying to the rim to grab rebounds, and knocking down shots. Sensing a stagnant offense, Porter seemed to up the energy level and the movement, and sought out some easy looks for himself and others at the rim.
It paid off, as he had attacked the basket with 1:22 left and the Warriors trailing by a pair, earning him a trip to the charity stripe where he tied the game and set up the game-winner.
Just a really nice game.
35 minutes, 17 points, 2 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 foul, 7-for-16 shooting, 2-for-6 threes, 1-for-4 free throws, +5
Having four assists without a turnover represented one of the best playmaking games of the year for Wiggins. It was the seventh time this season he’s had four assists, and the second time he’s done so sans a turnover.
Unfortunately, the rest of the game was a bit of a struggle for him. He had more shooting possessions than points, and only one of the Warriors 10 players — Juan Toscano-Anderson, who logged just three minutes — had fewer rebounds. The defense continues to look quite a bit worse when Draymond Green is absent, and unfortunately the three-point numbers are starting to come back to earth — he’s hit 34% of his triples in the last nine games.
32 minutes, 8 points, 12 rebounds, 1 steal, 4 blocks, 3 turnovers, 2 fouls, 3-for-3 shooting, 2-for-2 free throws, +6
I think it’s pretty safe to say that the Warriors will take a stat line of 8 points, 12 rebounds, and 4 blocks on 100% shooting from Looney every day of the week (particularly game days).
Looney now has five straight games with double-digit rebounds, after having just eight all of last year. That’s partially because he’s playing so many minutes now ... but he’s playing those minutes for a reason.
Post-game bonus: Led the team in rebounds.
39 minutes, 22 points, 4 rebounds, 12 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, 2 turnovers, 3 fouls, 6-for-21 shooting, 4-for-13 threes, 6-for-8 free throws, +2
Had Curry not made the game-winner — technically the first buzzer-beating winner of his career — his grade would look a lot different. He had an awful start to the game, and struggled with his shot throughout, though the 12 assists and on-display leadership are strong points in his favor.
But I have a rule: you make the game-winner, you get an A+.
Post-game bonus: Led the team in points and assists.
32 minutes, 20 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 block, 4 turnovers, 2 fouls, 7-for-15 shooting, 2-for-4 threes, 4-for-4 free throws, +18
Poole had a very rough first half of the game, and a very strong second half of the game. He looked like he was bound for a second-straight dud, but was one of the stars in the strong second half comeback.
Post-game bonus: Led the team in plus/minus.
16 minutes, 2 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, 1 block, 2 turnovers, 3 fouls, 1-for-2 shooting, -6
Bjelica’s stats have been rising lately, and that’s the good and the bad ones. There have been more rebounds, assists, blocks, and steals, but more turnovers and fouls as well. It’s hard to argue too much with the mini Draymond stat line, but the Dubs need him to cut back on some of those mistakes.
15 minutes, 7 points, 2 rebounds, 1 turnover, 1 foul, 2-for-6 shooting, 1-for-3 threes, 2-for-2 free throws, -7
Kuminga’s time in the starting lineup didn’t last long, as he ceded his spot to Porter against Houston. Given their respective performances, I’m guessing Porter will stay in the role for a little while.
It wasn’t a bad performance, per se, but it wasn’t a notable one for the rookie. He provided his usual energy, but it was a bit out of control on both ends of the court.
3 minutes, 0 points, -3
No stats in three minutes for JTA, so it’s hard to judge him too harshly, but he certainly didn’t make an impact in those minutes. I thought he had a DNP.
21 minutes, 8 points, 2 rebounds, 2 turnovers, 3 fouls, 4-for-5 shooting, -12
A nice shooting night for Lee, but not much else to speak of. A tough defensive night for him, and he simply didn’t provide much when not scoring.
Still and all, look at this move:
Post-game bonus: Worst plus/minus on the team.
Gary Payton II
21 minutes, 8 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block, 1 turnover, 3 fouls, 4-for-5 shooting, -9
A decent game for GP2, though his dependable elite defense had a few miscues in it, including a fouled shooter on a three. But he had a hand in Jalen Green having an 0-for-11 night.
Friday’s DNPs: Chris Chiozza, Moses Moody
Friday’s inactives: Andre Iguodala, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, Quinndary Weatherspoon, James Wiseman