Well Dub Nation, I’m guessing you feel pretty dejected right about now. In a twist that no one saw coming, the Golden State Warriors couldn’t overcome the dominance and late game heroics of ... uhh ... Lonnie Walker IV. The second nailbiter of the series went the same way as the first one, with the Los Angeles Lakers winning 104-101 to take a 3-1 series lead.
Don’t get me wrong: the Warriors are still in this series, in a big way. There are reasons for optimism, and I’ll write about them. Just not right now. Now is a time to dwell on a loss that is very hard to swallow.
So let’s grade the players. As always, we’re weighting for our expectations of each player, with a “B” grade representing the 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%.
37 minutes, 8 points, 10 rebounds, 7 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, 5 turnovers, 3 fouls, 3-for-5 shooting, 0-for-1 threes, 2-for-2 free throws, 68.0% TS, -10
Not sure what to make of Green’s game. I thought he was fairly comfortably Golden State’s second-best player, and his defense in the first half was absolutely outstanding. So too was his aggressive offense. But the offense went away down the stretch, and after having just two turnovers in the first three games of the series, Dray had five in this one, including one on Golden State’s final possession when they were trying to tie the game.
Post-game bonus: Tied for the team lead in rebounds, worst plus/minus on the team.
39 minutes, 17 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals, 3 turnovers, 4 fouls, 6-for-14 shooting, 2-for-6 threes, 3-for-4 free throws, 53.9% TS, -7
Wiggins got off to an awful start. After just a few minutes, he had two turnovers and two fouls.
He settled down a bit after that, but it still wasn’t a very good game for him. His offense was forced, with very few shots coming in any sort of natural rhythm. He had a lot of good defensive possessions, but didn’t do nearly enough rebounding considering that the Warriors went small.
42 minutes, 31 points, 10 rebounds, 14 assists, 3 steals, 2 turnovers, 5 fouls, 12-for-30 shooting, 3-for-14 threes, 4-for-4 free throws, 48.8% TS, +1
Curry almost won the game for the Warriors. He did what he could to will them to victory, and it just wasn’t quite good enough.
He had a triple double, and a staggering line at that, and I thought he played good defense. But despite playing so well in some areas, there’s no denying that he had a rather inefficient day. Some of that was because no one was helping him and he was forced to put up tougher shots, but some of it was just missing, or settling for bad looks.
It was still a very good game for Curry, but he’ll probably be dwelling on the two missed buckets in the waning moments, and the decision to throw the ball out of bounds in the final seconds instead of calling timeout.
Post-game bonus: Led the team in points and assists, tied for the team lead in rebounds.
41 minutes, 9 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 1 turnover, 2 fouls, 3-for-11 shooting, 3-for-9 threes, 40.9% TS, +2
This was a pretty tough Klay game to watch. With the isolation-heavy offense the Warriors ran in the first half, Thompson never really got into a groove. By the time the second half rolled around, he was just throwing everything up, whether or not it was a good shot.
You know it’s not a great night when even Klay himself says he took bad shots.
Klay Thompson on his shot selection late: "That one with five seconds on the shot clock, wish I could have that back, gotten a better look. That one on the left wing I feel like I rushed it...I shoulda taken my time. Even with that, we fought back with a chance to win."— Shayna Rubin (@ShaynaRubin) May 9, 2023
His defense was decent, but it’s hard to see the Warriors climbing out of this hole if he doesn’t show up in a big way.
Gary Payton II
23 minutes, 15 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 turnover, 1 foul, 7-for-9 shooting, 1-for-2 threes, 83.3% TS, +3
Kerr put GPII in the starting lineup, which was a very surprising move, but turned out to be a pretty good one. Save for a very bizarre instance of on-court vomiting, Payton played really well. His ability to hustle up and down the court on both ends was nearly a game-changer, and he was the recipient of numerous Curry no-look passes for easy layups.
I’d lean towards Payton starting in Game 5, but who knows at this point.
2 minutes, 0 points, 0-for-2 shooting, 0-for-2 threes, 0.0% TS, -6
Green was removed from the starting lineup for this game, and then barely even played at all.
11 minutes, 4 points, 3 rebounds, 2 fouls, 2-for-2 shooting, 0-for-2 free throws, 69.4% TS, +7
Looney is reportedly still feeling quite a bit under the weather, which is at least part of why he played so few minutes for the third straight game. He played decently enough in this one, though also spent a fair amount of time playing against backups.
Post-game bonus: Led the team in plus/minus.
15 minutes, 10 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist, 1 turnover, 4-for-6 shooting, 2-for-4 threes, 72.7% TS, -1
Finally, DiVincenzo’s shot fell! That was great to see, and he had some clutch buckets to go with his usual positive chaos on the offensive glass. He also had some very poor decisions, and didn’t provide too much other than the scoring.
10 minutes, 0 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 turnovers, 1 foul, 0-for-4 shooting, 0-for-2 threes, 0.0% TS, -6
I don’t really have anything to say about this game. It was tough to watch. I’m curious if Poole plays on Wednesday. On the one hand, it’s hard to imagine the Warriors winning without Poole. On the other hand, I’m not sure they can afford to play him.
19 minutes, 7 points, 1 rebound, 2 steals, 1 block, 1 turnover, 4 fouls, 3-for-3 shooting, 1-for-1 threes, 116.7% TS, +2
Who knew after the regular season and the first round that Moody would be on the court with the closing lineup in a huge semifinals game?
Certainly not I, but it’s a treat watching Moody blossom.
He provided some very good minutes in this game, and I’m guessing he’ll play another sizable role on Wednesday.
Monday’s DNPs: Jonathan Kuminga, Anthony Lamb
Monday’s inactives: Patrick Baldwin Jr., Andre Iguodala, Ryan Rollins