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Warriors dominate Blazers in battle of the backups

Golden State rested all of their starters, but still cruised to a big win.

Jonathan Kuminga dribbling while posting up Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images

The Golden State Warriors dominated the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday, winning their penultimate preseason game 131-98. This was made doubly impressive by the fact that the Warriors rested Steph Curry, Jordan Poole, Andrew Wiggins, and Kevon Looney, in addition to the continued absences of Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, and Andre Iguodala (though it is worth noting that Portland didn’t play Damian Lillard or Gary Payton II).

I’m going to eschew the standard recap here because, frankly, I don’t think anyone wants a recap. Does anyone care about the narrative arc of a preseason backups game?

Doubtful. There’s not really tension there, and wins and losses mean next to nothing.

Instead, let’s go over some observations from the game.

Donte DiVincenzo is a seamless fit

There are always questions when new players join the Warriors. Will they fit in like Kelly Oubre Jr. and Omri Casspi did? Or like Gary Payton II and Otto Porter Jr. did?

DiVincenzo seems to firmly fit the latter. Tasked with running the offense in Curry and Poole’s absences, DD looked incredibly comfortable. He may have missed all four of his shots, but he whipped out 10 assists in just 23 minutes.

He was utterly relentless on the glass, where he grabbed seven boards, and his defense was sensational. He looked in control and dangerous running the pick and roll with James Wiseman, which is a great sign for the second unit, and when he wasn’t handling the rock he was moving well without the ball.

JaMychal Green!!!

That’s it, that’s the whole sentiment. He dove at the hoop anytime a shot went up, and finished with eight rebounds in just 20 minutes. He drifted to the arc to knock in jumpers and attacked the rim as a cutter, shooting 4-for-5 on both threes and twos. He was a staunch defender.

There’s only so much we can learn from playing against the backups of a mediocre team during preseason, but Green certainly showed enough to excite.

James Wiseman is figuring it out

All expectations with Wiseman should be tempered until we see it during real games.

But my goodness, you couldn’t ask for a better preseason from the young center. His numbers are excellent, but the eye test is even better. On offense he’s going straight up or going forward, instead of moving away from the hoop, and his hands look sharp. On defense he’s been agile and strong, and moving vertically. And he’s been a beast on the glass.

His final line tonight was 18 points and seven rebounds in just 18 minutes, while shooting 6-for-8 from the field and 6-for-7 on free throws.

Again: temper expectations, but I think it’s safe to assume that he’ll play an intriguing rim-rolling role off the bench to start the season, especially with the chemistry that he’s developed with DiVincenzo and Jordan Poole.

Moses Moody is ready for a role

I don’t think it’s jumping the gun to say that Moody will play a sizable role this year. He’s been showing glimpses since getting drafted, and Tuesday might have been the brightest glimpse yet.

He drifted to the right parts of the court for open jumpers. He attacked the rim with both aggression and poise. He put the clamps down on defense.

I don’t really know what to say other than he looked so in control, so comfortable, and so fluid in the system on both ends of the court.


Cue the highlight reels, with Steph in the booth no less!

Ryan Rollins is stating his case

Patrick Baldwin Jr. has gotten far more headlines than fellow rookie Rollins so far in camp, but on Tuesday it was the second-round pick’s time to shine. He shot 5-for-7 from the field, finishing with 12 points and five assists in just 16 minutes of action.

He’ll need to do that a lot in practice and garbage time before he’s getting meaningful minutes, but it’s always fun to see a glimpse of why the Dubs are so excited about this guy.

Dray’s back

And finally for the big news: after the game, Steve Kerr announced that Draymond Green would return to the team on Thursday, and is expected to play in their preseason finale. He’ll be fined but not suspended. The decision was made by the entire team, particularly Poole.

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