For the second time in three nights, the Golden State Warriors overcame a double-digit halftime deficit to win a blowout. This time they were down 11 at the half to the Los Angeles Clippers, before a staggering 42-16 third quarter completely flipped the script. You never would have guessed when LA went to the locker room in full control that Ty Lue would be waving the white flag with a whopping eight minutes remaining in the game.
Unreal. One of the best performance of the year, and the Dubs are playing perhaps their best basketball of the year, despite missing two starters, including the face of their franchise. Permission to be optimistic granted.
Now, let’s grade the fine folks who got it done. As always, grades are weighted based my expectations for each player. A “B” grade represents the average performance from a player.
Note: True-shooting percentage (TS) is a scoring efficiency metric that accounts for threes and free throws. League average TS is 58.0%.
29 minutes, 11 points, 9 rebounds, 9 assists, 4 turnovers, 4 fouls, 5-for-7 shooting, 0-for-1 threes, 1-for-2 free throws, 69.8% TS, +19
Had this game not had so much garbage time, Green would have had his first triple-double of the season. But that’s not what I want to talk about.
We need to talk about the defense. This was perhaps the best defensive effort of the season for the Warriors, though it’s worth noting that they were aided by an unsustainably-poor shooting night from beyond the arc by LAC — Paul George, Eric Gordon, and Norman Powell won’t be combining to shoot 3-for-25 from distance again anytime soon, even if they’re blindfolded. But even such, the defense was tremendous.
Green is at the heart of what the Warriors do defensively, always. He was immaculate in this one, sagging 15 feet off of Russell Westbrook (who had more turnovers than made shots) and playing a rover role on defense that would make an All-Pro safety proud.
Post-game bonus: Led the team in assists.
25 minutes, 11 points, 8 rebounds, 1 assist, 4 fouls, 4-for-7 shooting, 0-for-1 threes, 3-for-4 free throws, 62.8% TS, +17
Looney has been dominant on the glass lately, but Mason Plumlee got the better of him in this one, winning the center rebounding battle 20-8. His defense was still fantastic, and he had some offensive highlights, but it was still shocking seeing someone do such work against him.
30 minutes, 19 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, 1 block, 1 turnover, 2 fouls, 7-for-16 shooting, 3-for-8 threes, 2-for-2 free throws, 56.3% TS, +16
Klay has been keeping the Warriors afloat lately with his shooting. But in this game it was his all-around play that got the job done. Despite Looney losing the center rebounding battle by double-digits, the Dubs still outrebounded the Clippers 60-47, in part because Klay had a career-high with 11 boards. He had some of his better passes of the season, and his defense looked fantastic.
It’s not often that Klay has a really good game that doesn’t involve burning through the nets, but this was one.
Post-game bonus: Tied for the team lead in rebounds.
31 minutes, 5 points, 11 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 blocks, 1 turnover, 1 foul, 2-for-10 shooting, 1-for-6 threes, 25.0% TS, +22
It was an uncharacteristically poor offensive night for DiVincenzo, who couldn’t buy a bucket and finished without an assist. And yet he still made a huge impact in this game.
Like Klay, DiVincenzo was everywhere. He rebounded like his job depended on it. His defense was absolutely phenomenal ... he was asked to guard a much larger All-Star in Paul George, and held him to 3-for-15 shooting and just four free throws.
Sometimes people give me flak for putting too much stock into how the offense or defense looks with a player on the court, rather than their tangible contributions. But if you watched this game, you understand what I mean when I talk about that. DiVincenzo’s stats look highly mediocre, but damn ... the Warriors just worked when he played.
Post-game bonus: Tied for the team lead in rebounds, best plus/minus on the team.
32 minutes, 34 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, 3 turnovers, 1 foul, 9-for-20 shooting, 5-for-12 threes, 11-for-12 free throws, 67.3% TS, +19
Poole had a pretty rough first half, but he was nothing short of a superstar in the second half. In a game featuring five future Hall of Famers, Poole spent the second half being the best player on the court, and racking up 25 points on 6-for-10 shooting.
POOOLE PARTY— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) March 3, 2023
Roll the tape ️ pic.twitter.com/xbXfy0zYRx
Maybe I shouldn’t excuse the poor first half or the sheer number of heat checks he fired off, but for tonight I’m going to. It was a reminder as to just how dynamic Poole can be, how creative his scoring and playmaking can be, how well he can balance attacking the rim, getting to the free throw line, and bombing in threes, and also how much defensive potential he has.
Post-game bonus: Led the team in points.
29 minutes, 19 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 2 blocks, 2 turnovers, 3 fouls, 7-for-12 shooting, 3-for-4 threes, 2-for-3 free throws, 71.3% TS, +19
This game was the total package for Kuminga. Perhaps his most well-rounded game to date. He shot. He drove. He cut. He passed. He got out in transition. He set screens. He rebounded. And he defended as though his sole goal was to make Draymond proud.
He’s really coming into his own. Not only is that huge for the Warriors, but it’s an absolute joy to see.
5 minutes, 0 points, 1 foul, -2
The second straight game where JMG got a brief stint in the second quarter, and then never returned. After a good stretch of games, he’s mostly out of the rotation right now. Hard to be upset about that given how well Looney, Kuminga, and Draymond are playing.
27 minutes, 5 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block, 2 fouls, 1-for-7 shooting, 1-for-5 threes, 2-for-2 free throws, 31.7% TS, +9
I’m standing by my point from Tuesday’s game, which is that Lamb has really gotten a lot better at finding ways to help the team, even when his stats are ugly ... as they were on Thursday.
It wasn’t a good game for him, but he was significantly better than the stat sheet would indicate. His shot is really struggling right now though: in his last 10 games, Lamb is shooting 5-for-27 from three-point range.
Patrick Baldwin Jr.
9 minutes, 4 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block, 2 fouls, 2-for-6 shooting, 0-for-3 threes, 33.3% TS, -5
For the third straight game, Baldwin got some honest-to-goodness rotation run. Not a lot of it, but some of it. It’s fun to see, and he does seem firmly ahead of Moses Moody on the depth chart right now.
His three-point shot didn’t fall in this one, but we saw more of his all-around game than we’d seen before. He moved the ball well, cut well, and played probably the best defense of his young career. Plus, the broadcast revealed that he’s grown two inches since the draft, and is now 6’11”!
Post-game bonus: Worst plus/minus on the team.
20 minutes, 4 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 1-for-6 shooting, 0-for-4 threes, 2-for-2 free throws, 29.1% TS, +6
A rough shooting night for Jerome, but a strong game running the offense mistake-free.
5 minutes, 3 points, 1 rebound, 1-for-2 shooting, 1-for-2 threes, 75.0% TS, 0 +/-
Just garbage time for Moody again.
Thursday’s inactives: Steph Curry, Andre Iguodala, Gary Payton II, Lester Quiñones, Ryan Rollins, Andrew Wiggins