The Golden State Warriors climbed above .500 on Sunday, using a late rally — and narrowly avoiding an even later collapse — to beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 109-104. It was a big win in the standings, since the Warriors and Wolves were holding nearly identical records. And it was a big win for the team’s momentum, as the Dubs managed their second straight win despite playing without all three of their 2022 All-Stars, as Steph Curry, Draymond Green, and Andrew Wiggins remain sidelined.
So let’s grade the players who got the job done. As always, grades are weighted based on my expectations for each player. A “B” grade represents 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 this year is 58.0%.
27 minutes, 13 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 3 turnovers, 1 foul, 5-for-10 shooting, 1-for-1 threes, 2-for-2 free throws, 59.7% TS, +4
One of JK’s better games in a while. He’s been struggling to score efficiently lately, but did a good job in this one. His athleticism was on full display in this game, and I thought he played with better control than the trio of turnovers might suggest. Also, just one foul is nice to see, given that Kuminga is averaging 4.2 fouls per 36 minutes.
32 minutes, 12 points, 17 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block, 5 fouls, 4-for-6 shooting, 4-for-7 free throws, 66.1% TS, +7
Looney had just one career double-double entering last season. Then he had five a year ago. And now he already has 10 this season. Rounded to a tenth of a percentage, Looney is now tied with Rudy Gobert for fourth in the league in rebounding percentage ... a remarkable feat for a 6’9” center. Almost as remarkable as his iron man streak ... counting the playoffs, he’s now played in 187 straight games, including the playoffs.
The only stain on his Sunday performance was that his counterpart, Naz Reid, had a career-high 30 points. But I don’t put too much of that blame on Looney.
Post-game bonus: Led the team in rebounds.
33 minutes, 32 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 turnovers, 3 fouls, 12-for-23 shooting, 6-for-14 threes, 2-for-2 free throws, 67.0% TS, +4
For the second straight game, Klay carried the offense even without the 46.5 points per game that Curry and Wiggins provide, and the 13.2 assists per game that Curry and Green provide.
He’s playing his best basketball since returning last January, and it’s not even close. Since the start of the calendar year he’s averaging 26.4 points per game and shooting 44.4% from three-point range on a whopping 12 attempts per game.
Klay's best moments from tonight's dub ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/sPoEoPGEa7— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) February 27, 2023
If you need confidence that the Warriors can figure things out for another title run, Klay’s performance should be near the top of the list.
He had a few poor decisions in the final minute or two, but other than that it was a sensational game.
Post-game bonus: Led the team in points.
38 minutes, 21 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 steals, 3 turnovers, 7-for-13 shooting, 4-for-9 threes, 3-for-4 free throws, 71.1% TS, +9
What an incredible luxury DiVincenzo is. He fits perfectly in the high-energy bench role that the Warriors ask of him. But when they’re injured and he slides into the starting lineup, he can quickly become their second-best offensive player and point of attack defender.
I mean ... what more can you ask for than a sixth man jumping into the starting lineup and having a hyper-efficient 21, 8, and 5 with 4 steals? He also seems to get better in clutch situations.
What a game. What a player.
Post-game bonus: Led the team in plus/minus.
35 minutes, 15 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, 1 block, 4 turnovers, 4 fouls, 5-for-20 shooting, 1-for-8 threes, 4-for-5 free throws, 33.8% TS, +8
This was the type of game that I’m guessing the Warriors will use for film study with Poole. He struggled to get his offense going and as he did, he primarily moved further and further away from the hoop. The results were bad. Occasionally he attacked more, and good things happened.
I think you could make a strong argument that Poole is the third-best shooter on the Warriors, behind only the Splash Brothers ... yet he’s tied for 13th on the team in three-point percentage, sporting the exact same mark as Draymond Green. Only Kuminga has made threes at a lower clip than Poole this year (Looney has yet to attempt one).
A cold streak is partially to blame for that, but poor shot selection is a bigger issue. Poole has spent the year compounding cold streaks by forcing the issue, and when he forces the issue he tends to move away from the hoop and increase his shot difficulty.
Hopefully something he can address before the season ends, but it may end up being an offseason adjustment.
12 minutes, 4 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block, 2 turnovers, 1-for-4 shooting, 1-for-3 threes, 1-for-2 free throws, 41.0% TS, -7
Not a very good game from Green, and with the other Green injured, the Warriors are kind of forced to play him. Feels like he’s a difference maker half of the time, and a non-factor the other half.
Post-game bonus: Worst plus/minus on the team.
25 minutes, 7 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks, 1 turnover, 3 fouls, 3-for-5 shooting, 1-for-2 threes, 70.0% TS, +6
This is exactly why the Warriors decided to use two-way contracts on players like Lamb rather than young prospects like most teams do. So that when the team is down six players, including three starters, they can plug in a reliable player for 25 minutes a night.
Do the Warriors have any chance of winning this game if they have two undrafted rookies playing instead of Lamb and Ty Jerome? Absolutely not.
Great game for Lamb.
Patrick Baldwin Jr.
13 minutes, 3 points, 3 rebounds, 1-for-4 shooting, 1-for-3 threes, 37.5% TS, -2
One of the more interesting things in this game was that Baldwin was ahead of Moses Moody on the depth chart. Will that still be the case when the Warriors are fully healthy? Probably not, but it’s worth monitoring.
Baldwin’s shot didn’t fall in this one, but I thought he looked pretty comfortable, and pretty athletic, too. Decent defense!
21 minutes, 2 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals, 3 fouls, 1-for-5 shooting, 0-for-1 threes, 20.0% TS, -4
Jerome didn’t play as well as Lamb, but the sentiment still applies. Replace him with an undrafted rookie on a two-way contract and the Warriors lose. His activity on both ends of the floor was pretty crucial in this one, even if his patented push shot didn’t fall.
4 minutes, 0 points, 1 rebound, 1 steal, 0-for-1 shooting, 0-for-1 threes, 0.0% TS, 0 plus/minus
Not sure why Moody played so little when he’s had a few good games lately.
Sunday’s inactives: Steph Curry, Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala, Gary Payton II, Ryan Rollins, Andrew Wiggns