The Golden State Warriors got back in the win column on Friday, beating the Houston Rockets 116-101 to crawl back to .500. It was an important game in the standings, and important game for the team’s momentum. They were down all three of their All-Stars from last year — Steph Curry, Draymond Green, and Andrew Wiggins — but still found a way to pull out a double-digit win.
So let’s rank the players who made it happen. As always, grades are based on my expectations for each player, with a “B” grade representing that person’s average performance.
Note: True-shooting percentage (TS) is a scoring efficiency metric that accounts for threes and free throws. Entering Friday’s game, league average TS was 58.0%.
24 minutes, 7 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 block, 4 turnovers, 3 fouls, 2-for-7 shooting, 0-for-2 threes, 3-for-4 free throws, 40.0% TS, +3
Kuminga’s scoring efficiency has really taken a hit over the last month or so, but I’ve been really impressed with the other ways that he’s influenced the game. His playmaking in particular was good in this game. It didn’t always lead to getting an assist, but he played a pretty sizable role in simply making things happen on offense. He also had some tremendous defensive possessions — his athleticism can be a difference-maker in helping an older Warriors team hang tight with a young and athletic squad like Houston.
You’d like to see better scoring, and the turnovers were suspect, but ultimately I thought he made a positive impact.
26 minutes, 2 points, 13 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks, 1 turnover, 4 fouls, 1-for-1 shooting, 100.0% TS, +3
Looney was an absolute beast in this game, especially in the first quarter. It felt like he grabbed every single rebound, while single-handedly neutralizing Alperen Şengün. The Dubs won the rebounding battle, and Looney was the biggest reason why.
He doesn’t get enough love for his rebounding because he doesn’t play enough minutes to have gaudy per-game totals. But entering this game, Looney was fifth in the entire NBA in rebounding rate, trailing only Clint Capela, Steven Adams, Jonas Valančiūnas, and Rudy Gobert.
Post-game bonus: Led the team in rebounds.
36 minutes, 42 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 turnovers, 12-for-19 shooting, 12-for-17 threes, 6-for-6 free throws, 97.0% TS, +32
A few notes.
First, the Warriors need someone to step up if they want to score well when Curry is out. That’s doubly true when they’re missing Wiggins’ 17.1 points and Green’s 6.8 assists per game. Klay was that person on Friday. And then some.
Second, it’s hard to believe, given his absurd shooting stats, that my notes about Klay for this article started with, “good aggression after his jumper is not falling.” He sure turned that one around in an instant.
Third, this was just the 24th time in NBA history that a player has scored at least 40 points on 97% or better true-shooting. Klay accounts for two of those 24 times. Curry accounts for three. Kyrie Irving is the only other player to do it multiple times.
Fourth, Klay’s plus/minus was +32. The next highest player was +14. No one else was in double figures.
And fifth, Klay Thompson is the freaking greatest, and these performances of his are gems that should be appreciated.
Mama there goes that man— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) February 25, 2023
Post-game bonus: Led the team in scoring and plus/minus.
35 minutes, 15 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 turnovers, 5-for-9 shooting, 5-for-9 threes, 83.3% TS, +14
After a cold night in LA on Thursday, DDV found his shooting stroke again on Friday, and the Warriors were a lot better for it. I know I’m beating a dead horse here, but it’s just amazing how well DiVincenzo fits the system now that he’s gotten comfortable. He just understands how to play Warriors basketball, and his contributions range from quietly solid to downright electric.
Clutch from 0 ➡️ 10— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) February 25, 2023
State Farm || Assist of the Game pic.twitter.com/P8asUWiZRD
Excellent, excellent game.
31 minutes, 15 points, 2 rebounds, 8 assists, 1 turnover, 2 fouls, 5-for-13 shooting, 2-for-8 threes, 3-for-3 free throws, 52.4% TS, -3
Another game with mediocre efficiency and some questionable decision making from Poole. He’s still a good player, with stretches of being a great player, but he’s just not as in control or dynamic as he was a year ago.
Still one of the best buzzer-beaters in the NBA, though.
JP BUZZER BEATER & it COUNTED— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) February 25, 2023
But while Poole made some careless decisions shooting the ball, he was excellent as a playmaker. We’ll take eight dimes to just one turnover any day of the week.
Post-game bonus: Led the team in assists, worst plus/minus on the team.
16 minutes, 3 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 3 turnovers, 5 fouls, 1-for-5 shooting, 1-for-3 threes, 30.0% TS, +4
Some good and some bad for JMG. Great energy, a menage on the boards, and strong defense. But also poor shooting again, with an absurd amount of turnovers and fouls.
He looked dynamic, but rusty.
20 minutes, 8 points, 7 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 turnover, 4 fouls, 2-for-5 shooting, 1-for-4 threes, 3-for-4 free throws, 59.2% TS, +9
With Wiggins and Draymond Green out, Lamb did an excellent job playing larger than he is. He gobbled up boards, and played surprisingly strong interior defense, even if it came at the expense of a bit of fouls.
Really strong game.
Patrick Baldwin Jr.
16 minutes, 11 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 turnover, 1 foul, 4-for-8 shooting, 3-for-5 threes, 68.8% TS, +1
Down to just 10 healthy players, the Warriors were forced to give Baldwin some of his more meaningful minutes of the year. And it only reinforced my belief that I’ve been shouting to everyone who will listen for the last month or two: he’ll be a part of next year’s rotation.
JP PBJ 3️⃣— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) February 25, 2023
Baldwin probably needs another offseason of hitting the weight room with professional trainers, and another training camp before he’s ready to contribute enough on defense that he can stay on the court. But damn if he isn’t an intriguing player with a gorgeous jump shot and a strong feel for the game.
Also, those who follow me on Twitter may be aware of the fact that Baldwin has been a recurring name on the “no-stats” list as the NBA’s leader in minutes played without recording an offensive rebound (entering this game he’d played 139 minutes and had yet to collect an offensive board). That changed tonight! Congrats on your first offensive rebound, PBJ. It doesn’t matter that you just came down with your own blocked dunk attempt. It all counts the same.
24 minutes, 9 points, 1 rebound, 3 assists, 2 turnovers, 1 foul, 4-for-7 shooting, 1-for-2 threes, 64.3% TS, +6
Jerome continues to impress, and the Warriors continue to show that they know what they’re doing with two-way contracts. My bad for stumping so hard for Quinndary Weatherspoon, y’all. Turns out Bob Myers knew what he was doing.
Ty just knows how to keep the offense flowing.
13 minutes, 4 points, 1 assist, 1 turnover, 1-for-4 shooting, 1-for-4 threes, 1-for-1 free throws, 45.1% TS, +6
Even though all of Moody’s shots came from beyond the arc, I continue to be impressed by his increased aggression on offense. He’s driving and cutting more, and not just being a stagnant player hanging out at the three-point line. Also thought his defense was good in this one.
He’s been looking better, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Steve Kerr starts giving him more opportunities again.
Friday’s inactives: Steph Curry, Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala, Gary Payton II, Ryan Rollins, Andrew Wiggins