With Warriors forward Draymond Green returning to the starting lineup, Chris Paul came off the bench for the first time in his NBA career. Green was particularly rusty in his first official game action since last season, and seemed to slow down a starting-five that had found a consistent rhythm with CP3 in his place. The Warriors will need Green integrated into the starting linuep,
Despite the Warriors uneven start, the Rockets were only able to build a six-point lead. Moreover, Paul was no match for the Rockets’ incredibly young rotation coming off the bench. Golden State’s second unit of Paul, Jonathan Kuminga, Moses Moody, Dario Šarić, and Gary Payton II led a 27-8 run between the end of the first quarter and start of the second, giving Golden State a 16-point lead, their largest of the game.
Payton’s offensive performance was particularly noteworthy, scoring the bulk of his 15 points in the first half. He finished the game 6-for-8 from the field (3-for-4 from three). Unsurprisingly, Payton’s efficient scoring alongside his impactful defense propelled him to a game-best +13 plus/minus.
Golden State’s starters were unable to capitalize on the lead built by the bench, and instead immediately began ceding territory to Houston. The Rockets were not led by any exceptional single effort. Instead, four of Houston’s five starters finish in double figures and led the way. The lone Rockets starter unable to break into double figures was point guard Fred Van Vleet. Had Van Vleet gotten going from deep, the game could have shaken out very differently.
The Rockets steadily chopped away at the Warriors lead over the course of the third quarter, tying things up early in the fourth, and even briefly taking the lead halfway through the final quarter. However, after a relatively uneventful game up to that point, Steph Curry took over. Curry knocked down a three on four consecutive Dubs’ possessions, putting the game out of reach. He finished the evening with 22 points (6-for-15 from the field), 5 rebounds, and 6 assists.
STEPH HAS LOST HIS MIND pic.twitter.com/1Y6XCxEGpD— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) October 30, 2023
Klay Thompson quietly had his second straight efficient game, scoring 19 points on just 12 shots from the field (5-for-10 from three).
The Dubs early-season road trip continues tomorrow night in New Orleans against the Pelicans at 5:00 PM Pacific.