The Golden State Warriors gritted out perhaps their biggest win of the year on Wednesday, beating the Dallas Mavericks 127-125 to secure a two-game road winning streak for just the second time all year.
Dallas intends to protest the result after a bizarre miscommunication led to the Warriors having an uncontested inbounds in the third quarter, but that protest is likely to fail. In all likelihood, you can put this win in the books. It’s huge because it pushes the Warriors to 38-36 and the Mavs to 36-37, while giving Golden State the tiebreaker should the teams end the year with identical records. Had the Dubs lost, Dallas would slide ahead of them in the standings, 37-36 to 37-37, while holding the tiebreaker.
Let’s grade the players responsible for the mammoth W. As always, grades are based on my expectations of players, 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 is 58.1%.
25 minutes, 14 points, 4 rebounds, 8 assists, 3 steals, 4 blocks, 3 turnovers, 5 fouls, 6-for-10 shooting, 1-for-4 threes, 1-for-1 free throws, 67.1% TS, +3
A little bit of a tough first half for Green, who picked up two fouls about halfway through the first quarter, and grabbed his third early into the second frame.
But he was nothing short of a superstar in the second half. His defense was otherworldly, be it guarding Luka Dončić, patrolling the paint, or roving around as a help defender. He had a few massive individual stops in the waning moments, despite playing with five fouls, and his offensive contributions down the stretch were just as big: he had a monumental and-one, while sealing out a defender to allow Steph Curry to make the biggest shot of the game, a free throw to push the lead to three with 8.5 seconds remaining.
Just star stuff all around.
28 minutes, 12 points, 12 rebounds, 2 assists, 4-for-5 shooting, 4-for-6 free throws, 78.5% TS, 0 plus/minus
Somewhere along the way, Looney became one of the best rebounders in the NBA, and it’s pretty freaking awesome. I’m here for it. I’m guessing you’re here for it. The Dubs were not as athletic as Dallas, but still won the rebounding battle by a whopping 13 boards.
You can thank Looney for that.
He also scored the bucket on the protested play!
Post-game bonus: Led the team in rebounds.
35 minutes, 20 points, 5 rebounds, 13 assists, 3 turnovers, 2 fouls, 9-for-18 shooting, 2-for-8 threes, 55.6% TS, +10
Curry was playing the role of a facilitator in this one. How much of that was a conscious choice, and how much of it was due to not getting the whistle to go in his favor? Who knows. But he dished out 13 assists like it was nothing, and helped the offense fire on all cylinders most of the game.
And then he scored when it mattered most.
He can beat you in so many ways.
Post-game bonus: Led the team in assists and plus/minus.
35 minutes, 9 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block, 3 fouls, 4-for-9 shooting, 1-for-4 threes, 50.0% TS, -3
A very mild-mannered offensive day for Klay, but he didn’t force the issue, which was good. He didn’t shoot a ton of shots, and didn’t turn the ball over even once. He just worked as a decoy moving off the ball, played decent defense, and put some effort into cleaning the glass.
There will be games where the Dubs need more from him on offense, but this wasn’t one of them.
24 minutes, 14 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals, 4 turnovers, 1 foul, 4-for-10 shooting, 4-for-10 threes, 2-for-2 free throws, 64.3% TS, +7
DiVincenzo has been mired in a shooting slump lately, so this game was a big step in the right direction. And his point of attack defense was critical, as it has been during Andrew Wiggins’ absence.
He had a few reckless turnovers, especially early on, so he needs to get that in control — he has 10 in his last three games, after having had just 10 in the prior nine games — but otherwise a solid performance.
31 minutes, 22 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals, 1 turnover, 3 fouls, 9-for-11 shooting, 2-for-3 threes, 2-for-2 free throws, 92.6% TS, +2
That’s it, that’s the entire blurb.
What’s there to say? The second year forward is fully coming into his own. He’s not only playing the best ball of his life, but he’s playing some of the best ball on the Warriors ... despite being more than half a year away from being able to legally drink.
He did a little bit of everything this game. He beat the Mavs with his athleticism in transition, and also with his smooth play in the half court. He played strong defense and limited the mistakes. Some more rebounds would be great, but he’s doing a good job boxing out and keeping offensive rebounds alive.
Here he comes, folks.
Post-game bonus: Led the team in points.
9 minutes, 9 points, 2 rebounds, 1 foul, 4-for-5 shooting, 1-for-1 free throws, 82.7% TS, -3
Green didn’t get to play many minutes, but he had a strong impact in the minutes that he did play. He was instant energy and offense, and helped the bench unit tread water until the starters could come back in.
21 minutes, 9 points, 8 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 turnover, 2 fouls, 3-for-7 shooting, 2-for-5 threes, 1-for-1 free throws, 60.5% TS, -9
Lamb mostly faded into the background for the first half, but he had a few huge plays down the stretch in the fourth quarter, and he rebounded his butt off. Strong game.
Post-game bonus: Worst plus/minus on the team.
26 minutes, 16 points, 1 rebound, 6 assists, 2 fouls, 6-for-13 shooting, 0-for-4 threes, 4-for-5 free throws, 52.6% TS, -1
Poole’s poor decision making and recklessness have been one of the unfortunate storylines of the season. But in the last two games, he has 14 assists to just two turnovers. And even though his shot isn’t falling, he’s avoiding a lot of the infuriating poor shots that defined much of his year, and attacking the basket instead.
Some of his passes on Wednesday were downright brilliant, and it was a big part of the second unit’s success.
8 minutes, 2 points, 1 rebound, 1 turnover, 1 foul, 1-for-2 shooting, 0-for-1 threes, 50.0% TS, +4
Moody showed some good aggression in his limited minutes in this one. It’s easy to see why the Warriors remain intrigued with him, and also easy to see why they don’t play him much.
Wednesday’s inactives: Patrick Baldwin Jr., Andre Iguodala, Ty Jerome, Gary Payton II, Lester Quiñones, Ryan Rollins, Andrew Wiggins