That was a fun to watch game dominated by the guards and their scoring on both teams. The Warriors unleashed Klay and Poole against Dame and Simons. There were a lot of runs from both sides and the score bounced back and forth. But in the end, when the dust has settled, the box score looks quite balanced. Both teams shot 42-91 from the floor. The Dubs won the FTs 17-16 and they made 5 more 3s: 17 (out of 43) versus 12 (out of 39) by Portland. This extra 5 points gained by making 3s when Portland had 2s instead and the extra free throw accounted for the 6 point lead in the final score.
The Dubs were lucky that both Klay and Poole were on from the very beginning. They took almost half of all the shots (45 out of 91), but contributed 61% of the points (72/118). If not for the 7 TOs by JP, he would have had a perfect game with 41 PTs on 23 shots, 6 ASTs, 5 RBs and the team best +18 in 36 min.
Klay was great by making the shots which often don’t go in for him. He was on fire from the first few minutes and hit 7 (of 15) threes in the game. He helped steadying the defense too though the Blazers’ quick guards blew by him a couple times.
Lillard and Simons scored 34 and 22 points respectively, but together they took 50 shots, 5 more than Klay and Poole, yet losing the shootout to our duo 56-71. However, they had help from a potent third scorer in Grant (19 PTs), whom the Warriors struggled defending in the paint. Grant was 7-9 on 2s, but only 1-7 on 3s. It was his length that the Warriors had no answer for, even in Draymond and Loon.
Our 3rd score was Dray, with just 10 points on 11 shots. Dray’s defense was OK, but not spectacular until the last few minutes when the Dubs pushed for the win by getting the stops on one end and scoring on the other. Yet, Dray was solid with 4 ASTs, 1 TO, 11 RBs and a couple made 3s.
With Wiggs out and Portland relying on the pair of quick guards to score, Donte was critical for our defense and he did deliver, particularly late in the game. The team had 9 STLs, 4 of them were DDV’s. His shot didn’t fall all game long (4-11 FGA, for 9 PTs), but he made a clutch 3 at the very end and just took the ball from Dame on the other end. Here is a prediction – we are going to miss him next year just like we are missing GPII now. I don’t see him getting 15 M but some non-tax payer will offer him a full MLE or close to it.
Loon didn’t have a good scoring game. He missed a couple reverses and a couple tap-ins, but in the second half he battled for offensive RBs fearlessly and got 7 of those in the game. The second chance points mattered a lot in the end.
Kuminga had a foul problem again but other than that, he had a solid game. Notice, that in the last few games we are not talking about his TOs. He had just 1 TO in this game and 6 in the last 4 games. Remarkably, he had 6 ASTs in this game and 14 in the last 4 games. I will take 14 ASTs and 6 TOs for any player, even a PG. Defending Lillard and Grant wasn’t easy for him, but in the end neither Blazer was particularly efficient and this is what mattered.
Ty Jerome and Lamb were not as impressive as in the last game and happened to be on the floor during the Portland run, but both tipped in some points for the win too. When the scoring was hard, Ty got himself to the line like a sizzled vet and knocked down all 4 FTs. He is our best FT shooter this season, having missed just 1 FT out of 24 (96%).
Moody played the fewest minutes on the team, just 8, during which he took 3 threes, missed them all and ended up with a box score full of zeros. With Wiggs back, he is the most likely returner back to the bench. Even Ty Jerome has a higher chance of keeping the playing time, particularly when Klay sits on BtoBs.
The team is half way through the home stand. 4 Ws are in the pocket and 4 to go. They have a breather for a couple days to incorporate Wiggs who will have a practice or two with the team. Then they are hosting Atlanta, Detroit, Orlando and Phoenix in a stretch of nicely spaced games with no BtoBs. These are all winnable, even the one against the Suns who are struggling without Booker and Cam Johnson. The Dubs are 19-18 and in the 9th place in the West right now, but they could get up to the 4-6 range by the end of the home stand.
Since this is the last game of the year, happy New Year to all the Dubs and their fans! 2022 was a great success for the Warriors. Let’s hope 2023 doesn’t disappoint either.