Good Morning Dub Nation,
The Golden State Warriors finished off the 2022 calendar year on a high note after beating the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night, 118-112. It was yet another gritty performance from a shorthanded Warriors team who won their fourth consecutive game of this homestand. The win gives them a record of 19-18 and brings them back above .500 for the first time since Dec. 10.
After their early season struggles, Golden State is finally starting to resemble last season’s championship team. This is mostly due to the positive contributions from their role players – something they weren’t getting from their struggling bench unit at the beginning of the season. Guard Donte DiVincenzo has elevated his play in the absence of Stephen Curry and Andrew Wiggins and has been a stabilizing veteran presence for a young second unit that desperately needs it.
A steal and a monster three.— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) December 31, 2022
Donte DiVincenzo had a night. pic.twitter.com/isrOqFPppY
The Athletic’s Anthony Slater went into further detail on DiVincenzo’s impact in his latest article.
This continues an extended emergence in recent weeks by DiVincenzo, who has been elevated into the starting lineup with Curry and Andrew Wiggins out to help stabilize the Warriors in this tenuous moment and also cement his place as a must-play cog in the nightly rotation, even once everyone is back healthy.
The shooting has been a factor. DiVincenzo is above 38 percent from 3 this season, a tick above the clip he shot during that breakout third season with the Bucks, where he was a starting guard on the league’s best five-man lineup. But it’s the defense, more than anything. Kerr has spent the past five months searching for reliable options to rebuild what was a stingy defensive unit a season ago. DiVincenzo has stepped up as a perimeter hawk. He had four steals against the Blazers.
Aside from DiVincenzo, other players on the team also seem to be settling into their roles. Jordan Poole has regained confidence in his offense averaging 30.8 points per game on 45.6% shooting from the field in the past four games, while Jonathan Kuminga has become a consistent force on the defensive end.
Although things are looking good now, the Warriors’ true test will be if they can continue to play like this on the road where they are an abysmal 3-16 this season. Until then, they will continue to take advantage of this remaining homestand starting with tonight’s matchup against the Atlanta Hawks.
Here are the rest of today’s stories:
In case you missed it from Golden State of Mind:
- Preview: Warriors take on Trae Young’s Hawks in Chase Center
- Warriors facing Hawks with banged-up frontcourt
- How a classic Warriors play sparked their rally against the Blazers
- Jordan Poole scores 41 in Warriors win over Blazers to cap off 2022
- Warriors flash the collective might — and promise — of their frontcourt depth
Other Warriors News:
- Five observations: Warriors close on a 16-2 run, stun Blazers for late win (The Athletic)
- Draymond Green roasts Evan Turner for ‘unfair’ Warriors dynasty complaints (NBC Sports Bay Area)
- How Ty Jerome’s defense keyed Warriors’ comeback win vs. Trail Blazers (NBC Sports Bay Area)
- Warriors draftee Gui Santos erupts for career-high 31 points in G League (Yahoo Sports)
- Explain: Kuminga’s Cyclone and the Poole-DiVincenzo Pick and Pop drive Warriors comeback win vs POR (Youtube)
- Lowe’s 10 things: Kevin Durant’s mythic surge, a stalling All-Star and the Lakers ... sad trombone (ESPN)
- Luka Doncic scores 51 points as Mavs pull out win vs. Spurs (ESPN)
- Hawks coach Nate McMillan considers resigning amid turbulent season: Sources (The Athletic)
- Timberwolves hit rock bottom with demoralizing loss to Detroit Pistons (The Athletic)
- Rockets lose 108-88 to Knicks as Eric Gordon openly questions improvement (SB Nation)