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Player grades: Warriors vs. Spurs

Assessing every Golden State player’s performance from the team’s 124-120 win over San Antonio.

Golden State Warriors v San Antonio Spurs Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

I totally understand it if you’re still buzzing after that one. The Golden State Warriors, on the back end of a road back-to-back, down four starters plus three key bench players, overcame a 16-point fourth quarter deficit to steal a 124-120 win from the San Antonio Spurs.

It’s the type of loss that the Spurs players, coaching staff, and fans will still be feeling next week, and those are some of the most fun games to win.

I want to give the nine healthy Warriors all an A+ for their efforts, as they overcame an uphill talent battle, brought 120% in the energy department, and never gave up.

But while I can collectively give the team an A+ for their efforts, I still have to grade the players individually, weighting for our expectations of each. So let’s dig into it.

Juan Toscano-Anderson

21 minutes, 6 points, 3 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 turnovers, 3-for-9 shooting, 0-for-1 threes, -11

With the Warriors missing four starters, I don’t think we can really say that any one player started in place of any other one player. But it’s clear that JTA took the Draymond Green assignment, as he dished out seven assists, his second-highest total of the season. And he did it while taking decent care of the ball, which has been a little bit of a weak area for him lately.

The defense was strong, too, and he worked hard at getting his offense near the rim, though he didn’t convert too many of his opportunities, and some of his first-half misses were a little tough.

Grade: B

Post-game bonus: Led the team in assists.

Kevon Looney

23 minutes, 12 points, 12 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 2 turnovers, 2 fouls, 5-for-8 shooting, 2-for-2 free throws, -12

The one starter who remained in the lineup showed off his veteran chops, gobbling up six offensive rebounds en route to a double-double. Looney also showed that his offense is not just a result of being the beneficiary of Steph Curry and Klay Thompson’s gravity, as he finished only two points away from his season high, getting most of his buckets off the aforementioned offensive boards.

San Antonio leaned on their perimeter players in this game, partially because Looney didn’t let any of their big men get anything going.

Grade: A

Post-game bonus: Led the team in rebounds, worst plus/minus on the team.

Damion Lee

37 minutes, 21 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 1 turnover, 7-for-15 shooting, 5-for-10 threes, 2-for-2 free throws, +6

What a game for Lee. What a freaking game. Hopefully this quiets the angry people on Twitter who somehow think he’s not good anymore.

Lee kept the Dubs in the game in the first quarter when he tallied seven smooth points. And he was right in the middle of the epic fourth quarter, in which Golden State outscored San Antonio 35-16. Lee had eight points in the final frame, including a tie-breaking three with 2:03 left, and a pair of free throws that made it a two-possession game with 4.9 seconds remaining.

He also kept the ball alive prior to Jordan Poole’s go-ahead three, and dished out the assist on the bucket.

Hope someone buys this man’s drinks tonight.

Grade: A+

Jordan Poole

34 minutes, 31 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, 1 turnover, 9-for-24 shooting, 4-for-13 threes, 9-for-9 free throws, -6

The Warriors have four go-to scorers: Curry, Thompson, Andrew Wiggins, and Poole. With the first three all on the bench, Poole took it upon himself to be the Dubs primary offensive option.

The results weren’t always flawless, as it wasn’t the most efficient night you’ve ever seen. But when you consider the load he was asked to carry, with no gravity from the Splash Bros, I think it’s safe to say that JP did everything we could have asked for, and more.

He was aggressive, earning trips to the line and breaking down the defense. He was creative, developing interesting plays on the fly and setting up his teammates with a wide variety of passes. He was careful even with the heavy burden, with just a lone turnover, and no fouls on either end of the court.

And most importantly, he was clutch, making a go-ahead layup with 53.2 seconds remaining, before draining the game-winning triple with 17.9 seconds left.

Grade: A+

Post-game bonus: Led the team in points.

Moses Moody

37 minutes, 20 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 turnover, 3 fouls, 6-for-12 shooting, 6-for-10 threes, 2-for-2 free throws, +1

Moody got a surprise start on Monday, and got to build off of it on Tuesday. He entered the game against the Houston Rockets having shot just 5-for-34 from distance on the season ... then he went 3-for-6 from deep in Houston, and 6-for-10 from beyond the arc in San Antonio.

Just like that, he’s finding his stroke and his rhythm at the NBA level. The No. 14 pick looked very comfortable in this game on both ends of the floor, playing solid defense without fouling, not trying to do too much on offense, making his open shots, and crashing the glass.

He also played a pivotal role on Poole’s game-winning shot, keeping alive a loose ball, diving on the floor amongst numerous Spurs players, and saving the ball to Lee who found Poole for the win.

Far and away his best game as a pro.

Grade: A+

Jonathan Kuminga

29 minutes, 19 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 block, 3 turnovers, 5 fouls, 8-for-15 shooting, 2-for-6 threes, 1-for-1 free throws, +15

Kuminga would get a pretty low grade if I had written this article after three quarters, and he’d get a flawless grade if I hadn’t watched those three quarters. He struggled to make an impact early, and played pretty out of control, with a bunch of turnovers and fouls, as well as an overly-eager shooting hand.

But that fourth quarter. My goodness that fourth quarter. After entering the quarter with just five points on 2-for-7 shooting, the No. 7 pick had 14 points on 6-for-8 shooting in the final frame, providing spark, energy, and a rim-rattling dunk to help lead the comeback charge.

Grade: A-

Gary Payton II

17 minutes, 0 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 5 steals, 1 block, 1 turnover, 3 fouls, 0-for-1 shooting, 0 plus/minus

I’m still in just total awe of Payton’s defense, which now looks like a Pro Bowl safety playing in a Pop Warner game ... he just sees a player with the ball, makes a decision to steal it, and then takes the ball from that player like it’s nothing.

I mean, look at this stat:

GP2 now has 68 steals and 15 blocks against just 25 turnovers and 85 fouls. What a weapon.

He also got injured in this game, so let’s hope he’s OK.

Grade: A

Quinndary Weatherspoon

15 minutes, 6 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 turnovers, 2 fouls, 2-for-5 shooting, 0-for-1 threes, 2-for-2 free throws, +10

It was fun seeing Weatherspoon — who had to hustle to get to San Antonio to join the Dubs — finally get some serious run, especially against the team that drafted him in 2019. He was on the court for a good chunk of the fourth quarter comeback, and his offensive aggression did really nice things for the Warriors.

Grade: A-

Chris Chiozza

27 minutes, 9 points, 3 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal, 1 turnover, 2 fouls, 3-for-7 shooting, 3-for-5 threes, +17

Like Kuminga, Chiozza’s grade would have been a lot worse if I’d turned off my TV after the first 36 minutes of action. But the two-way contract was a massive part of the comeback — hence the gaudy plus/minus figure — and easily had his best game as a Warrior.

Chiozza knocked in a pair of triples in the final frame, while also having a trio of rebounds and assists, scoring or assisting on 14 of the team’s points in the quarter. And it all was absolutely critical to the Dubs stealing the win.

Grade: A

Post-game bonus: Led the team in plus/minus.

Tuesday’s inactives: Nemanja Bjelica, Steph Curry, Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala, Otto Porter Jr., Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins, James Wiseman