As far as losses go, the Golden State Warriors 121-110 defeat to the Atlanta Hawks was a pretty decent one. Their defense was entirely awful, but that’s a little more justifiable when it’s a third road game in four days. Their offense, however, was pretty decent, which is not something we’re used to seeing when Steph Curry is sidelined.
But any sentiment that begins with “as far as losses go,” is searching for the tiniest of silver linings. Losses are not good and, save for a few players, the Warriors individual performances were pretty lackluster.
There’s only one way to find out for sure though: by grading all of the players, weighting for our expectations of each.
Note: League average true-shooting percentage (TS) wis 56.4% entering Friday’s games.
24 minutes, 4 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 5 turnovers, 3 fouls, 1-for-3 shooting, 0-for-1 threes, 2-for-3 free throws, 46.3% TS, -24
It’s great seeing Dray back on the court, but this was not the Dray we’ve come to know and love. It was so far from the Dray that we know and love that Steve Kerr didn’t even put him on the court in the final stretches of the fourth quarter when the Dubs were trying to mount a comeback. Green only returned with about a minute left, and the game a possession or two away from becoming academic.
He was not able to sop the bleeding defensively, and his playmaking was not up to par in this one. Just a forgettable game from one of the team’s best players.
Post-game bonus: Worst plus/minus on the team
14 minutes, 4 points, 4 rebounds, 1 turnover, 1 foul, 2-for-6 shooting, 0-for-2 threes, 0-for-2 free throws, 29.1% TS, -13
Kuminga got a surprise start in place of Kevon Looney and it didn’t go so well. His defense was exposed pretty intensely in this game, and Atlanta’s defense, while not good, was athletic enough to keep the rookie from getting many good looks.
22 minutes, 9 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 fouls, 4-for-9 shooting, 1-for-4 threes, 50.0% TS, -14
Like Green, Wiggins was nowhere to be seen during the crucial minutes of the fourth quarter. And it certainly seems like Steve Kerr was using it as an opportunity to send a message to some players.
Kerr said his 4Q group of Poole, Klay, DLee, GP2, and Looney was the only group that got stops, so they played. Add for everyone, "it's not enough to play one quarter of defense in a game."— Kerith Burke (@KerithBurke) March 26, 2022
Steve Kerr: "We have to explore some lineups but we also have to get settled on some lineups before the playoffs. It's a challenge."— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) March 26, 2022
Wiggins was bad in this game. His defense was low energy, and he settled on offense rather than attacking the rim. After a nice game against the Miami Heat, it was a bummer to see Wiggins regress back into the struggles he’s been having for the last two months.
40 minutes, 37 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 block, 2 turnovers, 1 foul, 14-for-26 shooting, 9-for-16 threes, 71.2% TS, -11
After slogging through the Green, Kuminga, and Wiggins grades, we finally got to the star of the show: the backcourt. We start with Klay, who played a season high in minutes and seems very pleased with that.
Klay on playing 40 minutes: "That is a huge milestone for myself and something I will build on" pic.twitter.com/1gxarSMiZj— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) March 26, 2022
Klay was dynamic in this game. He looked like his old self in terms of moving off the ball, and was constantly able to spring free for really good looks, both inside and outside of the arc. He took a lot of shots, but I don’t remember very many bad looks ... he’s forced the issue a bit since returning from injury, which is understandable, but that didn’t happen on this occasion.
And he splashed in his triples, making nine in a game for the 10th time in his career, and the first time since March 8, 2019.
SCARY HOURS— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) March 26, 2022
Klay Thompson has NINE threes ☔️ pic.twitter.com/5TFrSnQO1g
This version of Klay can win the Warriors a playoff series ... or a title.
Post-game bonus: Led the team in points.
39 minutes, 24 points, 4 rebounds, 10 assists, 5 turnovers, 5 fouls, 8-for-22 shooting, 4-for-13 threes, 4-for-4 free throws, 50.5% TS, -8
This wasn’t the best game that Poole’s had during his remarkable string of 12 straight games with 20 or more points, but you can’t get too upset at the performance. He was one of only two players who showed an ability to score the ball, and pretty much the only player with an interest in playmaking.
Career-high 10 dimes for Jordan Poole pic.twitter.com/Ek7jSFNZEF— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) March 26, 2022
He forced the issue a bit at times, and as a result had middling efficiency and a lot of turnovers. But he was still arguably the team’s second-best player.
Count 'em up— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) March 25, 2022
1⃣, 2⃣, 3⃣, 4⃣ pic.twitter.com/dOcvz4SOa5
Post-game bonus: Led the team in assists.
Otto Porter Jr.
19 minutes, 4 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, 2 fouls, 2-for-4 shooting, 0-for-1 threes, 50.0% TS, -1
Porter didn’t make too much of an impact in this one, but he did add a bit to most of the columns in the box score. His defense could have been better, certainly, but he was far from the biggest problem.
23 seconds, 0 points, -3
Only 23 seconds for JTA. His role continues to fluctuate game by game.
24 minutes, 8 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 turnover, 2 fouls, 4-for-5 shooting, 80.0% TS, +11
Looney came off the bench for the first time all year, and I’ll be honest: I don’t really understand why. The goal seemed to be to stagger Looney and Green so that one could be playing center at all times, but both players should be playing enough minutes that they can start together and still be staggered.
Instead, Looney came off the bench where he played better than both Green and Kuminga, and was one of the only Warriors who played defense.
Post-game bonus: Led the team in rebounds and plus/minus.
27 minutes, 6 points, 6 rebounds, 1 steal, 3 fouls, 2-for-8 shooting, 0-for-3 threes, 2-for-2 free throws, 33.8% TS, +5
Lee’s numbers weren’t very good, but he played well, and he earned the right to be on the court in the fourth quarter when Green, Wiggins, and Kuminga were sitting on the bench.
Sometimes what the Warriors need is someone who will bring energy and willingly move the ball, and Lee reliably does that.
Gary Payton II
30 minutes, 14 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 2 turnovers, 3 fouls, 6-for-7 shooting, 0-for-1 threes, 2-for-2 free throws, 88.8% TS, +3
Remember when I said that Poole was arguably the Warriors second-best player in this game? Well GPII is the one presenting the other side of that argument.
Payton did everything for the Warriors. You already know his defense was superb, and he had one of those games that reminded you as to how good he can be offensively, because he’s relentless at attacking the basket without the ball, has nearly unmatched speed when in transition after a steal, and swoops in like a hawk to grab offensive rebounds and convert them into second-chance opportunities.
Great game. Great player.
Imagine where the Dubs would be with Avery Bradley instead.
Friday’s DNPs: Nemanja Bjelica, Chris Chiozza, Moses Moody
Friday’s inactives: Steph Curry, Andre Iguodala, Quinndary Weatherspoon, James Wiseman