Well, that was a game we won’t soon be forgetting. The Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Lakers kicked off their Western Conference Semifinals series in dramatic fashion. The Dubs were largely outplayed all night, before using a last-minute 14-0 run to tie the game.
But it wasn’t enough, as they lost 117-112 to not only drop a game, but also home court advantage. They’ve got their work cut out for them from here.
Now, let’s grade the players. As always, grades are weighted based on my expectations for each player, with a “B” grade representing that player’s average performance.
Note: True-shooting percentage (TS) is a scoring efficiency metric that accounts for threes and free throws. League-average TS this year was 58.2%.
34 minutes, 6 points, 4 rebounds, 7 assists, 1 steal, 3 blocks, 4 fouls, 3-for-9 shooting, 0-for-1 threes, 33.3% TS, -8
I’ll admit that we’d be looking at Green’s game differently had Anthony Davis not had the game of his life, usually while not guarded by Dray. Under normal circumstances, the Dubs probably would have had a much better defensive performance, and we’d be viewing Green accordingly.
But instead, it’s easier to look at this as not his best game. He wasn’t as aggressive as he needed to be, on either end of the court — something he quickly admitted after the game. He played with good energy and athleticism, but didn’t look like a star. He didn’t turn the ball over, which was awesome, but he didn’t score efficiently, either.
Not his best work.
Post-game bonus: Led the team in assists, worst plus/minus on the team.
29 minutes, 10 points, 23 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 turnover, 3 fouls, 5-for-11 shooting, 45.4% TS, -2
Not fully sure what to make of Looney’s game, or what the Dubs will do going forward. On paper, a phenomenal game. 23 rebounds in 29 minutes? Five assists to one turnover? Sign me up!
A career-high 23 rebounds for No. 5@verizon || Reliable Moments pic.twitter.com/wsYcCa0qed— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) May 3, 2023
In reality, Looney struggled mightily against Davis, and the Warriors big run came with their center on the bench. Will Steve Kerr move to get Looney more minutes against Wenyen Gabriel, where he can dominate, and play a different matchup with Green on AD? Only time will tell.
At the end of the day, I can’t give him too much blame for what AD did. Great offense beats great defense.
Post-game bonus: Led the team in rebounds.
34 minutes, 15 points, 6 rebounds, 2 turnovers, 3 fouls, 6-for-14 shooting, 1-for-5 threes, 2-for-2 free throws, 50.4% TS, -2
If the Warriors are going to win this series, they’ll probably need Wiggins to have a few good offensive games. He really hasn’t been having many of those lately at all.
I did think his defense was pretty darn good, though.
38 minutes, 27 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 5 turnovers, 3 fouls, 10-for-24 shooting, 6-for-13 threes, 1-for-1 free throws, 55.2% TS, -1
Two things can be true. First, Curry was really good. And second, the Warriors need more from him. He wasn’t super aggressive early, and he had some awful turnovers throughout the game. He also controlled the offense and turned on the afterburners during the 14-0 run that almost won the Warriors the game.
Stand up for 3️⃣0️⃣— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) May 3, 2023
He was brilliant, but the Warriors need more. Such is the life of a star.
Post-game bonus: Led the team in points.
37 minutes, 25 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 fouls, 9-for-25 shooting, 6-for-15 threes, 1-for-2 free throws, 48.3% TS, +1
Klay was the hottest scorer when the game began, but he quickly tapered off. If he kept playing like he did in the first quarter, the Dubs would have won the game.
The ball never touched the floor— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) May 3, 2023
He knows this. And he’s confident we’ll see a better version of him on Thursday.
Decent defense and playmaking, though.
8 minutes, 6 points, 1 foul, 2-for-4 shooting, 2-for-4 threes, 75.0% TS, -5
I was a little surprised to see JMG in this game. I thought the Warriors would either go with the aforementioned look of having Looney staggered with AD so he could feast on the backups, or go small with Jonathan Kuminga.
Instead they opted for Green, and his floor-spacing did good things for the team, even if he didn’t do much else.
Gary Payton II
12 minutes, 2 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 foul, 1-for-3 shooting, 0-for-2 threes, 33.3% TS, -6
Not Payton’s best game. He had some disruptive plays on defense, to be sure, but not as many as we often see from him. And he was uncharacteristically stagnant, both as a cutter and a rebounder. The Dubs will hope to get a little more out of him for the rest of the series.
12 minutes, 0 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 1 foul, 0-for-1 shooting, 0-for-1 threes, 0.0% TS, -7
The Warriors need one of Payton and DiVincenzo to be an x-factor this series. It can be with their scoring, defending, passing, or rebounding. But one of them needs to slide into a trusted role of excellence off the bench.
30 minutes, 21 points, 6 assists, 1 steal, 5 fouls, 7-for-15 shooting, 6-for-11 threes, 1-for-1 free throws, 68.0% TS, +7
It’s a bummer that all people will remember from Poole’s performance on Tuesday is his missed three at the end of the game. I’ll be honest: I have zero problems with Poole taking that shot. The Lakers were selling out on Curry and Thompson. The Warriors were down three with about 10 seconds left. The entire Lakers defense was on the perimeter.
You can hope for a perfect look, but you can’t ask for one. An open three — even a deep one — from a shooter who was 6-for-10 from distance to that point is the absolute most that you could possibly hope for.
The possession before? Bad. Some decisions down the stretch? Bad.
But all in all, this was Poole’s best game of the playoffs by far, and it was great to see.
BIG SHOT— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) May 3, 2023
Jordan Poole ☔️ pic.twitter.com/JILRj0GB47
Post-game bonus: Best plus/minus on the team.
6 minutes, 0 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist, -2
Truthfully, I expected Moody to get more minutes in this game after his strong end to the first-round series. That’s not even a complaint or a criticism, just an observation.
I’m not sure it’s a great matchup for him, but I still think there will be a game this series where the Warriors end up counting on him big.
Tuesday’s DNPs: Jonathan Kuminga, Anthony Lamb
Tuesday’s inactives: Patrick Baldwin Jr., Andre Iguodala, Ryan Rollins