Wednesday, October 4 2023

Poole shows new signs of life in Warriors’ loss to Lakers originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

SAN FRANCISCO — Time to get straight to the point: Jordan Poole‘s final heave with the Warriors down by three Tuesday night against the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals wasn’t a bad shot.

The final result just didn’t meet the process in the Warriors‘ 117-112 loss.

There will be people who believe there still was too much time on the clock. There will be people who believe the shot attempt was too deep. The reality is, Steph Curry was being double-teamed by Austin Reaves and Jarred Vanderbilt and Klay Thompson was being face-guarded by Dennis Schroder. Andrew Wiggins was wide open under the basket, but a 3-pointer was needed and Poole’s 28-footer was a good look.

Steve Kerr will live with that shot every day.

“I thought Jordan did a really good job,” Kerr said. “I had the timeouts left, but I saw them double-teaming Steph at half-court so I knew somebody was going to be wide open if we could just get the ball out. Steph did a great job. He got the ball out of the trap and Jordan was wide open.

“Pretty good look. That’s a shot he can hit, so really happy with that possession. Jordan hit six threes already. It’s a great shot for us.”

Curry was more than fine with it, too.

“For sure,” Curry said. “He made six tonight. We talked a little bit about certain adjustments we had to make throughout the course of the game to keep creating good looks, but it was decisive. It was a shot he was open and flowing. Considering how they guarded us on that possession, trapping me at half-court, Draymond swinging it over to him — it’s kind of an in-rhythm shot.

“I’m sure he felt pretty good about it. That’s why he shot it. There’s no kind of regrets on that. It’s just a make-or-miss type situation, and a lot of trust in him and his ability to put the ball in the basket.”

What matters more than Poole’s game-tying attempt clanking out is the fact that the Warriors needed him on the court. He earned his minutes when it mattered most, and the Warriors will continue needing him if this is the version of Poole they’re going to get.

After a first-round series against the Kings where Poole battled an ankle injury and averaged 12.0 points on a lowly 33.8 percent from the field and 25.7 percent from 3-point range, the electric Warriors guard was under control and efficient to begin the second round.

He was held scoreless in the first quarter on two shot attempts but also had two assists and a steal with the Warriors leading by two points going into the second quarter. That’s when Poole began to catch fire.

In a seven-minute stretch, Poole scored 13 points in the second quarter. Curling off Kevon Looney screens, Poole cashed in four 3-pointers in the period. For good measure, he added another two assists as well.

The mojo was back. Poole was feeling himself, and the Warriors are better for it.

“I thought he was really good,” Green said. “I thought early on he passed up a couple, and we need him to take those, and he started taking them and he was great. I think this will be a series that will go his way, and that’s great for us.”

Poole played 30 minutes off the bench, one game after averaging 22.8 minutes in the first round. He scored 21 points on 7-of-15 shooting, went 6 of 11 from deep and led the Warriors with a plus-7 plus/minus. For just the sixth time this season, regular season plus playoffs, he didn’t commit a single turnover and also dished six assists.

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Kerr went small down the stretch with Poole sharing the floor alongside Curry, Thompson, Wiggins and Green. They were a plus-7 in 6:34, outscoring the Lakers 14-7. That’s an adjustment to keep your eyes on. Poole was a perfect 4-of-4 shooting threes when guarded by D’Angelo Russell. That’s a matchup to exploit.

Last year in the playoffs, Poole’s efficiency outweighed volume in all the right ways. He averaged 17.0 points on 11.5 shot attempts, shooting 50.8 percent from the field and 39.1 percent on 3-pointers. Playoff Poole showed up to begin the conference semifinals.

Golden State will need to get more and more of that player going forward. The blueprint was laid out right in front of him, and despite the tough loss, Poole’s bright spot is a win within for the Warriors.

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Source: Yahoo Sports


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