The Golden State Warriors struggled against a shorthanded Charlotte Hornets team on Saturday, losing 120-113 in overtime. The Hornets were coming off an ugly 113-93 blowout loss to the Magic on Friday, and played like they had something to prove.
Despite missing LaMelo Ball, the Hornets offense got off to a scorching start on Saturday, building a double-digit lead in the first quarter. Gordon Hayward, P.J. Washington, and former Warriors wing Kelly Oubre were leading the way for Charlotte, scoring double-digits in the first half to put them ahead 62-50 lead.
James Wiseman’s first half minutes were easily his worst of the season, and he ultimately played less than five minutes before he was pulled for the game. Jordan Poole and two-way player Ty Jerome had their best performances of the season off the bench, bringing the Warriors to within three at one point in the second quarter, but the Dubs starters faltered to close the half.
Golden State’s offensive struggles continued early in the third quarter, but they began tightening things up defensively. Poole eventually sparked the offense and helped lead a 31-13 run that briefly gave the Warriors their first lead of the game heading into the fourth quarter.
Both teams went back and fourth in the fourth quarter, but Draymond Green seemed to seal the game with just over a minute left in regulation. Green picked Washington’s pocket before finding Andrew Wiggins for a dunk that gave the Warriors a 107-103 lead with less than a minute left in regulation.
Draymond Freakin' Green pic.twitter.com/EDNuhQqHI3— Joe Viray (@JoeVirayNBA) October 30, 2022
Hornets head coach Steve Clifford answered with an excellent play out of a timeout to score a quick two points and bring Charlotte back within a pair. The Warriors chose to iso Steph Curry, but he missed a contested three, and Dennis Smith tied the game up at 107 with a layup on the next possession.
With the shot clock off, the Warriors' offense once again decided to isolate Curry as the final seconds of regulation ticked away. He missed another heavily contested three at the buzzer, sending the game to overtime. Those two wasted possessions proved costly.
Green and Curry already had five fouls before overtime started, putting added pressure on the Warriors defense. Charlotte incrementally pulled away and secured the victory.
Klay Thompson struggled once again offensively, scoring just 11 points in more than 30 minutes of action. However, Klay is returning to form defensively. Given how poorly the Warriors fared defensively in the first four games of the season, it’s not surprising that the team’s defensive numbers have stabilized since Thompson and Draymond were cleared to play more than 30 minutes in a game. Thompson is far from the elite defender he was before his injuries, but he looks to be trending in the right direction.
Think Klay has been really solid defensively so far this season. Sees Steph get caught up in the screen so what he does is to "next" (switch onto the ball handler) onto DSJ to contest the shot and force the miss. pic.twitter.com/FfilD65rhX— Joe Viray (@JoeVirayNBA) October 29, 2022
Not to be outdone, Poole showed off an unexpected defensive prowess in the second half, stepping up to help the Dubs make several key stops. While his 24 points off the bench were his most important contributions on Saturday, improved defensive effort is what helped him finish with a better plus/minus than any of the Warriors starters. Poole did land awkwardly late in overtime and limped to the locker room, which will obviously be something to watch going forward.
Jordan Poole defense? Jordan Poole defense! pic.twitter.com/P0XUrPe6s0— Joe Viray (@JoeVirayNBA) October 30, 2022
Curry had some unusual mental lapses defensively, but still continued putting up MVP numbers. He finished with 31 points, 11 rebounds, and 6 assists with only 2 turnovers. While he shot just 3-for-13 from three, Curry made up for it inside the arc, shooting 7-for-9 from two-point range. Wiggins, Green, and Kevon Looney all finished in double figures.
Washington led the Hornets in scoring with 31 points. Hayward finished with 23 points, and Oubre added 18. Smith filled the box score with 13 points, 9 rebounds, and 8 assists while Jalen McDaniels had a double-double off the bench (12 points and 10 rebounds).
The Warriors will travel to Detroit tonight to finish off the team’s first back-to-back of the season on Sunday against the Pistons. Golden State will likely rest several veterans and hope some youngsters can lead the team to victory against one of the worst teams in the NBA.
No postgame Twitch stream tonight, but Marc will be back with a postgame show tomorrow after the Dubs take on the Pistons.