Rejoice, Dub Nation. The Golden State Warriors have finally done it: they won a road game, defeating the Houston Rockets 127-120.
It’s time to break out the red pen, and I’m giving advance warning that I’ll probably be overly generous for these ones. Maybe it’s the high of that first long-awaited road victory, but it felt to me like the Warriors individual players performed better than the product the team produced. There were a lot of issues — like over-fouling and getting sloppy with the ball — that wouldn’t have been an issue with one or two players doing it, but nearly became a disaster when the whole team got in on the action.
So here are the grades. As always, I’m weighting for my expectation of each player, with a “B” representing the average performance for that player.
Note: League-average true-shooting percentage (TS) was 57.2% entering Sunday’s games.
32 minutes, 4 points, 6 rebounds, 8 assists, 4 turnovers, 5 fouls, 2-for-4 shooting, 0-for-1 threes, 50.0% TS, +18
I’m tempted to give Green an A+ simply because it sounds like he led the charge for the team meeting that got Klay Thompson back in a rhythm. That, mixed with Dray’s offensive quarterbacking in the first quarter to get Klay going, are enough to give Green an extension if you’re asking me.
But we’re just judging on this game. Green had some playmaking brilliance, but also some turnover blunders. His defense was good-not-great. He played really well but — thankfully — that’s the expectation for him right now.
37 minutes, 22 points, 5 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 turnovers, 3 fouls, 8-for-16 shooting, 6-for-11 threes, 68.8% TS, +8
Wiggins three-point shooting bailed out the Warriors on numerous occasions. He made six triples and it felt like at least four of them came when the Warriors absolutely needed them. The Warriors will take that efficiency eight days a week. I’ll take that efficiency eight days a week.
There were some concerns, though. Wiggins had two huge errors in the final moments that could have cost the Warriors. First, he bricked an uncontested dunk (one of two missed dunks he had), which gave Houston a fast break instead of giving the Dubs a seven-point lead. And then with the Warriors up nine and the final nail about to be pounded into the coffin, Wiggins fouled a three-point shooter, giving up a chance at a four-point play ... the only thing that had any chance of getting Houston back in the game.
The lack of assists have been odd lately. He started the season with a bit of playmaking, but has just six assists in his last six games.
Still ... that efficiency!
29 minutes, 3 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 block, 6 fouls, 1-for-2 shooting, 1-for-2 free throws, 52.1% TS, 0 +/-
On the other hand we have Looney, who dished out five dimes. I continue to be blown away by the steps he’s taken in the offensive system to become such a good playmaker, even without being much of a scoring threat.
He did tremendous work defending Alperen Şengün, though he played a lot of the game in foul trouble, which was not where the Warriors wanted him.
Post-game bonus: Led the team in rebounds.
37 minutes, 33 points, 6 rebounds, 15 assists, 3 steals, 2 blocks, 1 turnover, 3 fouls, 11-for-20 shooting, 7-for-14 threes, 4-for-5 free throws, 74.3% TS, +22
Klay Thompson justifiably got the bulk of the headlines for Sunday’s game, but uhh ... can we take a moment to admire Steph’s line?
I mean, let’s just look at it again. Everyone say it with me.
33 points. 6 rebounds. 15 assists. 3 steals. 2 blocks. 55/50/80 shooting splits.
Those aren’t just video game numbers, they’re video game on easy setting numbers. As was this play:
Look at the Rockets’ coach on the bench pic.twitter.com/oTqbMZVb9c— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) November 21, 2022
Ridiculous. I’ve pivoted from wanting the Warriors to be good so they can win, to wanting the Warriors to be good so Curry can become the ninth player in NBA history with three MVP trophies.
Post-game bonus: Led the team in assists and plus/minus.
36 minutes, 41 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, 2 turnovers, 1 foul, 14-for-23 shooting, 10-for-13 threes, 3-for-4 free throws, 82.8% TS, +14
Klay read the comments. He read the tweets. He read the articles. He listened to the radio call-ins.
It’s no secret that Thompson has struggled mightily out of the gates this year. I’ve maintained that we need to give him a big grace period — judging a future Hall of Famer based on 12 games when he didn’t have a real training camp doesn’t seem like the most statistically logical thing to do — but I’ll admit that it hasn’t been fun watching Klay force shots and clank jumpers.
KLAY IS ON FIRE pic.twitter.com/6k5twGXH2r— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) November 21, 2022
This game might have been a blip. He might go right back to struggling, and he might have a bad season. But regardless, this game was a reminder that the calls to bench him, send him to the G League, trade him, etc., were silly. He obviously still has this in him, and the Warriors should be giving him every chance to bring it out. They need this version of Klay if they want to win another title.
Post-game bonus: Led the team in points.
6 minutes, 2 points, 2 rebounds, 1 turnover, 2 fouls, 1-for-3 shooting, 0-for-2 threes, 33.3% TS, -12
Kuminga had one of the best plays of the game.
OMG Steph's reaction to JK's slam pic.twitter.com/ZU2tZlxdFU— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) November 21, 2022
But beyond that, he really struggled. His other two shot attempts were ill-advised chucks from deep when the Warriors offense was really struggling. It was just undisciplined and uncommitted, and Steve Kerr certainly took note of it since Kuminga didn’t play in the second half.
Post-game bonus: Worst plus/minus on the team.
15 minutes, 8 points, 3 rebounds, 3 turnovers, 1 foul, 4-for-5 shooting, 0-for-1 threes, 80% TS, -3
This is the Green that the Warriors signed. High energy. Solid defense. Running in an athletic, straight line to the rim in transition, as a cutter, and as a rebounder.
Throw it down, JaMychal pic.twitter.com/xmSDtC7eoG— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) November 21, 2022
He’s an asset when the team is playing well. The turnover mark is not good, but they weren’t all his fault, either. Good game.
4 minutes, 0 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist, 2 turnovers, -7
I’m curious to see if Lamb stays in the rotation after this game. It was his second straight clunker, and this time he didn’t have a leash. He got pulled four minutes into his first stint on the court, and never returned.
Based on the minutes in this game, I think Kerr might just bounce between Lamb, Kuminga, and Moses Moody each game to see who sticks. But with JaMychal Green and Donte DiVincenzo starting to show why they were offseason signings, it’s also becoming clear again why Lamb was a mid-camp two-way signing.
16 minutes, 4 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 block, 1 turnover, 1 foul, 2-for-5 shooting, 0-for-3 threes, 0-for-1 free throws, 36.8% TS, -7
DiVincenzo’s stats are a little misleading. His shooting was better than the line would indicate, as one of his missed shots was a heave to end the quarter. And his turnovers were worse than the line would indicate, as he had a few bad passes where the receiver was credited with the turnover.
But his energy was huge in this game. He stated while out with an injury that his goal was to bring energy to the second unit, and he’s doing exactly that. He needs to channel it in a more productive way at times — he was a touch out of control in this one — but the influx of energy was sorely needed.
25 minutes, 10 points, 2 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 block, 3-for-8 shooting, 1-for-2 threes, 3-for-3 free throws, 53.7% TS, -6
Some really good improvements for JP in this game. Loved seeing him so in control, and not turning the ball over. He manipulated the defense quite a bit, and had defenders on a string for much of the game.
It’s hard to give him a great grade when his defense is as poor as it’s been lately and his efficiency isn’t up to his standards, but it still felt like a solid game from him.
5 minutes, 0 points, 1 turnover, +8
Moody didn’t play in the first half, but got Kuminga and Lamb’s second-half minutes. As always, I’m impressed by his ability to play competently. For someone so young, he makes shockingly few mistakes.
But I’m getting the sense that the Warriors want more out of him. Right now his minutes are more the absence of badness than the presence of goodness.
Sunday’s DNPs: Ty Jerome
Sunday’s inactives: Patrick Baldwin Jr., Andre Iguodala, Ryan Rollins, James Wiseman