For the second game in a row, the Golden State Warriors faced an incredibly game up-and-coming team missing their franchise star, and emerged with a game-winning shot by a Splash Brother with 0.2 seconds remaining.
What in the world are the odds of that?
This time the opponent was the Oklahoma City Thunder, who seemingly couldn’t miss a shot, before watching the Warriors steal a 141-139 victory. It was just the ninth time in franchise history — and third time in the last 30 years — that Golden State had won a game in which their opponent shot 60% or better from the field.
Don’t make a habit of it, boys, but then again: a win is a win is a win.
Time to grade the players, though. As always, grades are based on my expectations for each player, with a “B” grade representing the average performance for that player.
Note: True-shooting percentage (TS) is a scoring efficiency metric that accounts for threes and free throws. League-average TS was 58.1% last year.
29 minutes, 15 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 block, 3 turnovers, 5 fouls, 5-for-11 shooting, 2-for-4 threes, 3-for-3 free throws, 60.9% TS, -1
Green has looked rejuvenated on offense in this young season. Despite missing training camp and the first two games of the season, Dray has been playing some of the best offense that he’s offered in recent years: his usual playmaking is there, but in his four games he’s averaging 9.5 points (despite not yet playing full minutes), while shooting 10-for-20 on twos, 4-for-10 on threes, and 6-for-8 on free throws.
Like every Warrior, Green got cooked a fair amount of times on the other side of the court, but I’m inclined to chalk that up more to OKC making some crazy shots than anything else.
11 minutes, 4 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, 2 turnovers, 4 fouls, 1-for-2 shooting, 2-for-2 free throws, 69.4% TS, -1
Looney only played 11 minutes as he struggled with fouls, but truthfully, it would have been a low minutes night even if he didn’t have any foul issues. He struggled with both the athleticism of Jalen Williams, and the size/wingspan/athleticism combo of Chet Holmgren, and it was clear from early on that small lineups and Dario Šarić were both better options.
27 minutes, 17 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 foul, 6-for-11 shooting, 0-for-1 threes, 5-for-8 free throws, 58.5% TS, -14
Easily Wiggins’ best game this season. He set a tone for the Warriors early with aggression on offense, and as they were attempting to overcome a fourth-quarter deficit, he set a tone with a few huge plays on the offensive glass, where four of his five rebounds came. It was his highest scoring total of the season, and tied for his season high in rebounds.
It wasn’t all pretty, which is why he was once again absent from the closing lineup, and it certainly wasn’t his best defensive day; then again, it wasn’t for anyone!
All in all, a very encouraging performance from Wiggs, who looked much more like himself.
Post-game bonus: Worst plus-minus on the team.
31 minutes, 30 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 steals, 3 turnovers, 1 foul, 9-for-15 shooting, 5-for-10 threes, 7-for-7 free throws, 83.0% TS, +5
Curry’s outrageous scoring to start the season continues. He added to his league-leading points total (185), though this game technically lowered his average to “just” 30.8 points per game.
He’s shooting 72.2% on two-pointers this year, and 46.5% on threes. Remember when his trainer said he’s never had a better offseason shooting than this summer? Yeah, so, about that...
Curry played the role of lifesaver in this one. Whenever the Thunder tried to run away with things, Curry came in and made a big shot. Or an unreal pass.
He had a huge layup down the stretch, with some strong defensive possessions, and he was a menace on the glass, tying the 7’1 Holmgren for the game high.
And of course, he had the most important shot of the night, somehow getting to the rim and masterfully contorting himself for what, after a few minutes of replay review, was ultimately deemed the game-winning shot.
STEPHEN CURRY FOR THE LEAD!!! pic.twitter.com/b5qBFd7jd0— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) November 4, 2023
You know the rule: there’s only one grade to get when you hit a game-winner.
Post-game bonus: Led the team in points and rebounds.
33 minutes, 18 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 turnover, 4 fouls, 6-for-10 shooting, 4-for-6 threes, 2-for-2 free throws, 82.7% TS, 0 plus/minus
After opening night, I heard a lot of grumbling from fans who were worried that Klay was firing with a quick trigger and taking ill-advised shots, not unlike last year ... which ultimately led to a mini intervention from Green.
Curry and Chris Paul were quick to defend Thompson after that loss — still the only loss of the season — and said they liked the shots Klay took. I agreed: I thought they were good shots that just didn’t go in.
Since then? He’s 14-for-25 on twos and 12-for-24 on threes. That will work.
He’s also been making huge plays down the stretch. Obviously his game-winner on Wednesday stands out, but Klay has also had superb late-game defense (he helped force a turnover in the final minute of this one), has made good decisions and passes, and has had ice in his veins (he made a game-tying and a go-ahead free throw with 38.1 seconds left).
And he leads the team in minutes per game! A wonderful season so far.
20 minutes, 20 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 1 turnover, 2 fouls, 6-for-9 shooting, 4-for-7 threes, 4-for-4 free throws, 92.9% TS, +3
With all due respect to Warriors legend and NBA champion Nemanja Bjelica, it is emphatically time to retire the “Šarić is this year’s Bjelica” talk.
Šarić is similar to Bjelica, if Bjelica were way better at almost every part of basketball.
Super Dario showed how he can be an instant difference-maker off the bench, splashing in a trio of triples in the first quarter, and putting in a team-high 11 points in the quarter ... points the Warriors desperately needed.
DARIO CAN'T BE STOPPED pic.twitter.com/ChZNzZnJGs— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) November 4, 2023
He showed off the scoring later in the game, too, but it was his rebounding, passing, and hustling that really impacted the game. His rapport with Paul is on full display, and the two crafty, careful, and ultra-talented veterans give the bench unit so much calmness.
It took his shot a few games to get going, but in the last two games, Šarić has 35 points in 40 minutes, while shooting 12-for-18 from the field and 7-for-12 from beyond the arc.
I have to give Liah the assist after her phenomenal article.
22 minutes, 19 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 turnovers, 2 fouls, 9-for-15 shooting, 0-for-2 threes, 1-for-2 free throws, 59.8% TS, +3
This was kind of a tale of two Kumingas, for better and for worse.
The positive was that Kuminga gave us the largest glimpse yet of his potential as a unit-changing isolation scorer. We’ve seen better offensive games from him, but this was — in my eyes — the best we’ve ever see him fit the role of a go-to scorer. He wasn’t forcing the action, he wasn’t taking bad shots, but he was showing the ability to take the ball with 10 seconds left in the shot clock, go to work, cook his defender, and get a good look. The Warriors have had Wiggins and Jordan Poole in that role in prior years, and it was very exciting looking like Kuminga could fill it. Having a player on the bench unit who you can give the ball to, clear out, and trust that you’ll get a good shot is huge.
The negative was that Kuminga didn’t do much else. He’s been all over the place this season (in the good sense of the term, not the out-of-control sense), but this game didn’t feature as much from him in terms of defense or rebounding.
But it sure excited me!
28 minutes, 1 point, 2 rebounds, 13 assists, 2 steals, 1 foul, 0-for-6 shooting, 0-for-2 threes, 1-for-2 free throws, 7.3% TS, +6
Ready for some wild stats? Here they come!
Chris Paul's 13 assists tonight are the most for a Warriors player off the bench since Keith Jennings in 1994— Golden State of Mind (@unstoppablebaby) November 4, 2023
Tonight, Chris Paul became just the second player in NBA history to have exactly 1 point, 13 assists, and 0 turnovers.— Brady Klopfer (@BradyKlopferNBA) November 4, 2023
John Lucas in 1988 was the other.
Tonight, in his 6th game with the team, Chris Paul had just the 10th game with 13 or more assists and 0 turnovers in Warriors franchise history.— Golden State of Mind (@unstoppablebaby) November 4, 2023
The others: Tim Hardaway (x3), Baron Davis (x2), Steph Curry, Draymond Green, Vonteego Cummings, and John Lucas
The scoring and shooting have been putrid, but that’s quite literally the only stain on the resume in his first week-and-a-half as a Warrior. And with how he’s playing, Paul scoring wouldn’t turn a bad season into a good season; it would turn a good season into an All-Star campaign.
I get the feeling that I am not going to have nearly enough words this season to explain how critical he is to this team. I don’t think they come close to winning this game if he doesn’t slow down and control the second unit in both halves.
Post-game bonus: Led the team in assists.
Gary Payton II
22 minutes, 9 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals, 1 turnover, 2 fouls, 4-for-6 shooting, 1-for-3 threes, 75.0% TS, +9
One of the things I was most looking forward to this season was seeing Payton healthy. Things never worked in Portland, and he was returned to the Dubs with a clear ailment. Even after his month-long absence, it was apparent that he was not as healthy and athletic as we had grown accustomed to.
I was excited to see him return to his 2021-22 form. Instead, we’re getting something way better.
GPII has worked his way into a lot of late-game lineups this year thanks to his defensive excellence, his defensive versatility, his activity on the glass (where the rebound total never accurately reflects his impact), and his cutting.
This time around it resulted in a huge basket.
DRAY ➡ GP2 FOR THE LEAD pic.twitter.com/zz0knIzYqy— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) November 4, 2023
It used to feel like Payton should only play sparingly, even though he was excellent in his minutes. Now it feels like he needs to just have a large rotation role: and it seems he does.
Post-game bonus: Led the team in plus/minus.
18 minutes, 8 points, 1 rebound, 2 assists, 1 steal, 1 turnover, 3 fouls, 3-for-7 shooting, 2-for-5 threes, 57.1% TS, +4
Two things. First, after having his worst game of the season on Wednesday, Moody was highly mediocre in this one. Second, part of the evolution of his game is that he’s still doing really good things when not at his best.
He’s going to get a not-good grade from me. But in past years, a not-good grade would mean that he actively hurt the team’s chances of winning. This year, it just means that he didn’t make a huge positive impact on their chances.
I really love that the NBA is having teams use special courts for the in-season tournament games. If they’re going to commit to this tournament experiment, they should go all out and do things that make it clear that a game is an in-season tournament game. Make the experience different, make people take note, etc. etc.
It’s a great idea. I love it.
But what in the bubblegum Crash Bandicoot Lego childhood coloring book Vegas light display WWE photoshop VW Beetle is this???
Draymond knew the Thunder were going to hunt Steph, so he preswitches to move Steph off ball. Then Klay/Steph switch off the ball again to put Klay on Chet. Classic Warriors triple switch. pic.twitter.com/8Ekg7DqZOf— Coach Gibson Pyper (@HalfCourtHoops) November 4, 2023
Friday’s DNPs: Usman Garuba, Cory Joseph, Jerome Robinson
Friday’s inactives: Trayce Jackson-Davis, Brandin Podziemski, Lester Quiñones