Well that was a game and a half. It was a contest the Golden State Warriors desperately needed to win, and they did … albeit with a rather circuitous route. They seemed more interested in picking fights than playing basketball in the first half, and fell behind by 20 points. And then they dominated and won a blowout, beating the New Orleans Pelicans 120-109.
Grading is very easy tonight. The first half gets an F. The second half gets an A. Quick and easy. Have a good night everyone.
Fine, I’ll do actual grades. As always, they’re weighted based on expectations, 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%.
33 minutes, 8 points, 6 rebounds, 13 assists, 2 steals, 4 turnovers, 5 fouls, 4-for-5 shooting, 80.0% TS, +26
No player epitomized the Warriors Jekyll and Hyde act more than Dray. He was a turnover and foul machine in the first half, and then the theatrics began. He picked up a flagrant foul and a technical foul, putting him precariously close to getting ejected — and more importantly, earning the one-game suspension that he’ll incur if he grabs another T. And then he spent a good chunk of time walking as close as is humanly possible to a second technical.
I had no idea if it was a sign of the team fully falling apart, or a rallying cry that would pull them together. It felt like the former. For a few minutes it looked like the former. And then it quickly turned into the latter.
Dray was thoroughly dominant in the second half. His defense was beyond exceptional, he hunted Steph Curry, Jordan Poole, and Jonathan Kuminga for open looks, and his brashness directly led to the Pelicans wilting.
It could have gone either way with him. But it went the right way.p
Post-game bonus: Led the team in assists and plus/minus.
31 minutes, 13 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block, 3 fouls, 5-for-5 shooting, 1-for-1 threes, 2-for-3 free throws, 102.9% TS, +17
It’s amazing how far Kuminga has come. Can you imagine him at the start of the season playing 31 minutes in a game without a turnover or an ill-advised three? Let alone a high-stakes close game?
He was a weapon on both ends of the court in this one, and his aggression and athleticism were difference makers in the fourth quarter.
37 minutes, 39 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists, 3 steals, 4 turnovers, 14-for-25 shooting, 8-for-15 threes, 3-for-4 free throws, 72.9% TS, +12
When the Warriors started to figure things out in the second half, Curry was there. Taking shots, making shots, setting up opponents, and igniting the crowd. 39, 8, and 8, and he made it look easy.
Don’t take this guy for granted, folks. He’s still playing like one of the greatest players in NBA history.
Post-game bonus: Led the team in points, tied for the team lead in rebounds.
34 minutes, 17 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals, 1 block, 1 turnover, 3 fouls, 6-for-16 shooting, 5-for-11 threes, 53.1% TS, +9
Klay’s been slumping a bit on offense, but he’s still playing strong, team-oriented basketball. He’s not forcing shots, and his gravity is still playing a big role in the offense’s success.
Not his best game by any stretch of the imagination, but he’s still quite an asset.
23 minutes, 13 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 3 turnovers, 1 foul, 4-for-8 shooting, 1-for-4 threes, 4-for-5 free throws, 63.7% TS, -5
DiVincenzo’s been struggling a bit lately, but this was quite a strong game for him. His energy was massive, and was a big reason why the Warriors had as many rebounds as the much larger Pelicans.
Even with Andrew Wiggins still sidelined, DiVincenzo’s minutes will likely fluctuate on a night-by-night basis since Jordan Poole is heating up and Gary Payton II is being integrated back into the fold. He remains a tremendous asset.
22 minutes, 3 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block, 2 turnovers, 2 fouls, 0-for-4 shooting, 3-for-4 free throws, 26.0% TS, -3
Sorry for mentioning this every time Looney comes off the bench, but you can’t say enough about his willingness to get moved out of the starting lineup. Not every player would be so selfless and gracious.
Even with the Warriors playing small — Looney came off the bench and JaMychal Green didn’t play — his contributions were needed in stretches.
Post-game bonus: Tied for the team lead in rebounds.
17 minutes, 4 points, 2 assists, 1 steal, 2 turnovers, 2 fouls, 1-for-2 shooting, 1-for-2 threes, 1-for-2 free throws, 69.4% TS, +8
Lamb’s aggression was important in this game, and I thought his defense was much better than usual. That said, I thought 17 minutes was a good bit more than he needed.
Patrick Baldwin Jr.
1 minute, 0 points, 1 assist, 0-for-1 shooting, 0-for-1 threes, 0.0% TS, -4
Just a little touch of garbage time for PBJ. Good to see him back on the court after a little stint in the G League.
Gary Payton II
9 minutes, 0 points, 1 rebound, 1 steal, 1 turnover, 1 foul, -14
GPII looked pretty rusty in this game. But he also flashed plenty of moments where you remembered why he was one of the most critical players on last year’s championship team.
Post-game bonus: Worst plus/minus on the team.
29 minutes, 21 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, 1 turnover, 1 foul, 8-for-15 shooting, 2-for-6 threes, 3-for-4 free throws, 62.7% TS, +16
There was a long stretch in the second half where it was Jordan Poole’s world and we were all just living in it. The way he’s getting back to playing in control is massive.
All I’ll say is this: if Poole is unleashing his 2021-22 self, and Wiggins returns … watch out, world.
3 minutes, 2 points, 1-for-1 shooting, 100.0% TS, -7
Just garbage time for Moody, who stays ready.
Tuesday’s DNPs: JaMychal Green
Tuesday’s inactives: Andre Iguodala, Ty Jerome, Lester Quiñones, Ryan Rollins, Andrew Wiggins