Sometimes basketball doesn’t make sense. Sometimes a team that has no business even being in a game finds the magic sauce at every turn, and not only competes, but wins. Sometimes a team that should be sleepwalking to a W trips over an invisible wire.
And sometimes basketball makes perfect sense.
Tuesday was, unfortunately, one of the latter times. The Golden State Warriors, one of the worst road teams in the league, marched into their fifth consecutive road contest, missing Steph Curry, Andrew Wiggins, Donte DiVincenzo, and JaMychal Green, to face off against a New York Knicks team that was riding a seven-game win streak. The result made perfect sense. The Dubs got their ass kicked, losing 132-94.
Now let’s grade the sadness. As always, grades are weighted based on my expectation of each player, with a “B” grade representing the average performance for that individual.
Note: True-shooting percentage (TS) is a shooting efficiency metric that accounts for three-pointers and free throws. Entering Tuesday’s games, league-average TS was 57.5%.
26 minutes, 7 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists, 1 turnover, 3 fouls, 3-for-5 shooting, 1-for-3 threes, 70.0% TS, -14
This game was reminiscent of Dray’s performance during the 2019-20 season. There were a lot of blips of his brilliance — I thought he made a few highlight defensive plays — but also a lot of the low-effort play that he rolls out when he knows it’s a lost cause.
Post-game bonus: Led the team in assists.
21 minutes, 2 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 fouls, 1-for-1 shooting, 100.0% TS, -14
Looney’s playmaking excellence and care of the ball continues to shine. But he got outplayed by Mitchell Robinson in this game.
Post-game bonus: Led the team in rebounds.
26 minutes, 11 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 5 turnovers, 2 fouls, 5-for-12 shooting, 1-for-5 threes, 45.8% TS, -28
Klay did an excellent job on Sunday against the Toronto Raptors at contributing even when his shot wasn’t falling.
That was not the case in New York, as he didn’t do all that much on the glass, was a turnover machine, and got beat up on the defensive end of the court.
29 minutes, 26 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 4 turnovers, 1 foul, 8-for-18 shooting, 2-for-8 threes, 8-for-9 free throws, 59.2% TS, -27
The next evolution in Poole’s game will be improving his playmaking when he puts the team on his shoulders. He had the unenviable task of trying to lead the offense with Curry and Wiggins out, and Thompson slumping. That means the Warriors asked him to score a lot, and he responded impressively, with twice as many points as the next highest scorer on the Dubs.
Now he needs to work on finding ways to get his teammates going, because just carrying the whole scoring load is not particularly sustainable.
He also got destroyed on defense in this game, which is a big knock.
Post-game bonus: Led the team in points.
32 minutes, 11 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 4-for-9 shooting, 3-for-6 threes, 61.1% TS, -17
Kinda funny that Moody has been in Steve Kerr’s doghouse lately, but got the start in this game thanks to DiVincenzo’s injury, and ended up playing more minutes than anyone. Go figure.
I usually use this space to mention that Moody is often low-impact, for better and for worse. He doesn’t make a lot of mistakes, but also doesn’t provide all that much. That was on full display in this game. Playing 32 minutes (in a high-tempo game, no less) without a turnover or a foul is completely ridiculous. And playing 32 minutes with just three rebounds and a lone assist, as a wing, is a bummer.
27 minutes, 13 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 turnovers, 3 fouls, 5-for-7 shooting, 1-for-2 threes, 2-for-2 free throws, 82.5% TS, -23
As has been the case a lot lately, Kuminga was one of the lone bright spots for the Warriors in this game. It wasn’t a flawless game by any stretch of the imagination — he got sloppy on too many occasions, and certainly didn’t play defense as well as he is capable of.
But in a game where the Dubs looked mismatched athletically, Kuminga put on an athletic showing. His offense now compared to two months ago is night and day. He’s picking his spots, being smart, and unleashing on poor, unsuspecting defenders when the time is right.
I really liked this play, as it showed off both his aggression, and his blossoming patience and playmaking:
18 minutes, 6 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist, 3 fouls, 2-for-3 shooting, 2-for-3 threes, 100.0% TS, -12
It feels like all of my blurbs about Lamb are the same: good shooting from deep, pretty much nothing else.
Patrick Baldwin Jr.
8 minutes, 3 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist, 1-for-6 shooting, 1-for-4 threes, 25.0% TS, -13
The upside of the blowout loss was some extended run for Baldwin and the other youngsters. PBJ’s shot didn’t fall in this one, and he was a little lost at times on defense, but I also thought it was a pretty encouraging performance. He looked big and athletic against the Knicks, and was moving well on the court with and without the ball.
22 minutes, 4 points, 3 rebounds, 1 steal, 2 blocks, 2 turnovers, 5 fouls, 1-for-4 shooting, 0-for-1 threes, 2-for-2 free throws, 41.0% TS, -29
I don’t envy the position that Wiseman has been put in, and I do admire his attitude. Not playing one night, and playing a lot the next is not easy, nor is accepting a lengthy G League assignment when you’re the No. 2 pick. I certainly don’t envy any of that.
Unfortunately it doesn’t change the fact that he played very poorly.
Post-game bonus: Worst plus/minus on the team.
24 minutes, 11 points, 3 assists, 2 turnovers, 2 fouls, 5-for-7 shooting, 1-for-2 threes, 78.6% TS, 0 plus/minus
It’s not often that a plus/minus of 0 is considered ridiculous — that’s quite neutral, by definition — but in Jerome’s case it was utterly absurd.
Jerome played half of the game. In the 24 minutes when he was on the court, the Warriors played the Knicks to an even draw. In the 24 minutes when he was on the bench, they got outscored by 38 points.
Individual, single-game plus/minus requires a Titanic iceberg-sized grain of salt, but still. That’s ridiculous.
For a while people were discussing Lamb as the two-way contract that the Warriors would need to find a way to add to the roster, but it might be Jerome. He’s been playing really well lately, and given that Curry and DiVincenzo are far from the most healthy and durable players in the NBA, Jerome feels pretty important right now.
Post-game bonus: Led the team in plus/minus.
8 minutes, 0 points, 2 turnovers, 1 foul, 0-for-2 shooting, 0-for-1 threes, 0.0% TS, -13
Probably not the type of stat-keeping that Rollins was hoping for, but this was just the 26th time this season that an NBA player had played at least eight minutes in a game without registering a point, rebound, or assist (Moses Moody’s performance on Sunday was one of the other 25).
On the bright side, at least Rollins has only done it once this year, which is more than Anthony Gill and Isaac Okoro can say.
Tuesday’s inactives: Steph Curry, Donte DiVincenzo, JaMychal Green, Andre Iguodala, Andrew Wiggins