The Golden State Warriors entered the All-Star break on the wrong foot, but they certainly exited it on the right foot. After a back-and-forth first quarter (which they lost), the Dubs outscored the Portland Trail Blazers 101-63 over the final three quarters on Thursday night, winning 132-95 in the process.
Pretty darn solid for a road game, even if Portland’s list of unavailable players could have handily beat their list of available ones.
So let’s figure out how to divvy up the credit for the blowout victory by grading all the players, and weighting for our expectations of each. I’ve also decided to start adding true-shooting percentage (TS) to the stat line.
League average TS prior to Thursday’s games was 56.0%.
26 minutes, 10 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals, 1 block, 3 fouls, 4-for-13 shooting, 2-for-8 threes, 0-for-2 free throws, 36.0% TS, +3
Wiggins had a really nice third quarter, in which he scored all 10 of his points and had a few nice defensive plays. Other than that, it was a very rough game for the newly-minted All-Star. He didn’t take advantage of Golden State’s ball movement, which was excellent all night, and missed easy and hard shots alike.
Post-game bonus: Worst plus/minus on the team.
15 minutes, 10 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block, 1 foul, 5-for-6 shooting, 83.3% TS, +3
Looney’s contributions weren’t noticed too much in this game, in large part because with Jusuf Nurkić sidelined, the Blazers had a much less intimidating player, Drew Eubanks, manning the middle.
But Looney got the better of the matchup, and capitalized on that golden Steph Curry gravity to fly down the paints for some good looks.
Post-game bonus: Worst plus/minus on the team.
27 minutes, 18 points, 5 rebounds, 14 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, 3 turnovers, 3 fouls, 5-for-11 shooting, 2-for-7 threes, 6-for-6 free throws, 66.0% TS, +19
About as dominant of an offensive performance that you’ll see from a player who finished with “just” 18 points. Curry was in absolute control all game long, quarterbacking the offense, drawing the defense out with his gravity, and putting his teammates in positions to excel. He had a double-double at the half, and it really felt like he was partially responsible for every basket that the team scored when he was on the court.
season-high 14 dimes for SC pic.twitter.com/GaCK5Twrwq— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) February 25, 2022
Just another strong reminder that he’s so much more than just a shooter.
Post-game bonus: Led the team in points and assists.
25 minutes, 18 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 6-for-11 shooting, 4-for-7 threes, 2-for-2 free throws, 75.8% TS, +11
There has been a little concern about Klay’s efficiency which, since his return, has been a little below league average. This game was a strong reminder that the old Klay is not gone, he’s just still getting acclimated.
Klay was a weapon every time he touched the ball, but also had some nice restraint. He helped out on the boards, and honestly, any player going 25 minutes with neither a foul nor a turnover deserves to be celebrated.
Post-game bonus: Led the team in points.
Gary Payton II
19 minutes, 10 points, 1 assist, 2 steals, 5 fouls, 4-for-7 shooting, 2-for-2 threes, 71.4% TS, +5
It felt very fitting that, despite talk before the game from Steve Kerr about being unsure if GPII would be able to play, Payton recorded a steal on the very first possession.
He did some really nice things in offense this game, which is to say he really took advantage of the space created by Curry and Thompson, both by cutting to the hoop when no one was home, and by making his wide-open threes.
However, he took himself out of the game with foul trouble, which was a bit of a bummer.
9 minutes, 6 points, 3 assists, 1 block, 1 turnover, 1 foul, 3-for-3 shooting, 100.0% TS, +7
Steve Kerr is apparently not keeping with the rotation that he tweaked right before the break, as Bjeli was removed from the rotation against Portland. He still got nine minutes of action thanks to a fourth quarter that was all garbage time, and he was awesome in those minutes, attacking the rim and dishing the rock.
Had he been given a chance to do that in meaningful minutes and had the same results, he’d get a higher grade, but it has to get knocked a little for the context.
27 minutes, 17 points, 8 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 2 blocks, 3 turnovers, 3 fouls, 3-for-7 shooting, 1-for-2 threes, 10-for-12 free throws, 69.2% TS, +24
The Dubs primarily won the game in the second quarter, when they turned a deficit into a 20-point lead before settling for a 70-57 score at halftime. And if you had to hand out hardware for that fateful quarter, Curry and Kuminga just might be co-MVPs.
It’s amazing how quickly he’s become an integral part of the daily rotation. And if he’s able to draw fouls this easily as a 19-year old rookie, just imagine what he’ll look like when he becomes a savvy veteran who has earned the ref’s whistle.
Post-game bonus: Led the team in rebounds.
Otto Porter Jr.
16 minutes, 10 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, 2 turnovers, 4-for-6 shooting, 0-for-1 threes, 2-for-2 free throws, 72.7% TS, +12
Had the Warriors not been on a skid prior to this game, we’d probably be spending more time talking about Porter’s rebounding. He’s been gobbling up boards lately, and it’s made a huge difference in how the team performs when he’s on the court.
Of course, putting some tallies in the assist, steal, and block columns, all while scoring with elite efficiency is also a pretty nice thing...
17 minutes, 5 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 1 turnover, 4 fouls, 2-for-4 shooting, 1-for-3 threes, 62.5% TS, +22
JTA got the bulk of his minutes in garbage time, but it was still a wonderfully well-rounded performance in his first game since getting to experience All-Star weekend as a dunk contest participant.
This is exactly what the Warriors need from JTA: do the nitty-gritty on defense and the glass, and make some open shots. The assists are a nice added bonus, though the fouls are obviously a bit of a bummer.
22 minutes, 7 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 3-for-6 shooting, 0-for-1 threes, 1-for-1 free throws, 54.4% TS, +36
I often caution against reading too much into single-game plus/minus, but for a player it sure must be fun to see that your team outscored the opponent by more than a point and a half per minute when you were on the court.
Also, as was the case with Thompson, Lee deserves praise for not putting a number in the negative stat columns.
Post-game bonus: Led the team in plus/minus.
25 minutes, 15 points, 2 rebounds, 6 assists, 1 steal, 2 turnovers, 3 fouls, 5-for-10 shooting, 2-for-6 threes, 3-for-3 free throws, 66.3% TS, +33
This is exactly what the Warriors want out of Poole when he’s coming off the bench. An electric and efficient scoring performance coupled with great playmaking and an ability to run the offense.
15 and 6 with great efficiency in just 25 minutes is best bench weapon in the league territory. It’s unrealistic to expect Poole to be able to do that every night, but what a luxury that he can pull it out regularly.
12 minutes, 6 points, 2 rebounds, 1-for-4 shooting, 1-for-4 threes, 3-for-4 free throws, 52.1% TS, +10
With the game well out of hand, Moody got to play the entire fourth quarter, which was great to see. His three-point shot wasn’t falling (though small sample size shenanigans apply here ... when you take four shots, you’re bound for either a ridiculously good or ridiculously bad percentage), but Moody did a good job of playing in control. He continues to hold his own on defense.
Thursday’s inactives: Chris Chiozza, Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala, Quinndary Weatherspoon, James Wiseman