Tuesday, August 16 2022

The Golden State Warriors look like legitimate title contenders this season. They have the best record in the NBA following a 120-107 win over the Houston Rockets. They have scored the second-most points per game (113.9) and allowed the second-fewest (100.2). Head coach Steve Kerr’s squad has been feasting on the back of dizzying ball movement and throttling defense.

The Warriors left the Chase Center with another win Sunday despite running into some foul trouble in the first half. It was an offensive back-and-forth for much of the first half, but a 20-2 Warriors run in the third quarter sealed the victory. Guards Jordan Poole and Steph Curry led the way in scoring, with 45 combined points. Forward Otto Porter Jr. flashed his smooth shooting once again to chip in off the bench as well.

The Rockets were the first team to shoot better than 30% from three-point range in a game since Oct. 26 when the Oklahoma City Thunder hit 35% of their looks from deep. The Warriors have played five games since then, winning all but one – an overtime loss to the Memphis Grizzlies.

The Warriors put up a solid shooting night, hitting 51.8% from the floor and 32.6% from deep. It was the ball movement that stole the show, though, as they assisted 31 baskets as a team Sunday.

Here are some player grades from the win.

Steph Curry: B+

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Sporting a new haircut, star guard Steph Curry put up a respectable 20 points on 8-for-16 shooting with four threes. He found himself in foul trouble in the second quarter, but, like the rest of the team, he figured that out in the second half. His plus-16 was the highest among the starting unit as well. He didn’t play in the fourth quarter, likely due to the Warriors’ back-to-back.

Overall a solid night for Curry. He has not had to shoulder as much of the scoring load with the rest of the lineup picking up the slack. He was also visibly engaged with teammates when he was on the bench.

Draymond Green: B+

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Forward Draymond Green has been an active participant in the Warriors’ passing game this season, hitting back-door cutters and kicking the ball to open shooters. He led the team in assists Sunday with nine to go alongside eight rebounds and six points. He also chipped in a block and a steal as well.

This type of stat-line is fairly normal for Green, but he also had six turnovers and four fouls on the night too. That’s where his grade suffers.

He did, however, make some nice plays, including a full-court dash for a loose ball in the first quarter that got some of his teammates going.

Andrew Wiggins: B-

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Andrew Wiggins really is a “look-up at the scoreboard and he somehow has 14 points” type of player. Well, 16 points in Sunday’s case. He also contributed three rebounds and a pair of assists as well.

He didn’t shoot the ball incredibly well, going just 4-for-11 and 1-for-6 from three-point range, but sunk enough free throws to make up for it. Just another classic Wiggins night of a decent amount of scoring and a few other stats to keep you on your toes.

Jordan Poole: A

Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Poole has been the hot hand the past few games and Sunday was no different. The third-year guard scored another 25 points on 7-for-13 from the floor against the Rockets. He went 2-for-7 from deep but still managed to score bunches thanks to a bit more aggression in the lane.

He was attacking the basket more than usual and therefore picked up nine free throws on the day, hitting all of them. He wasn’t just a shooter either, he chipped in five assists and four rebounds.

Kevon Looney: C+

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Center Kevon Looney played under 20 minutes once again Sunday. Rockets big man Christian Wood wasn’t much of a factor, scoring just four points against the Warriors. Looney did not play specifically better, he’s just not featured in the offense much. Looney also grabbed a trio of rebounds in an overall quiet night.

The Bench (A’s)

Gary Payton II (A+): 10 points on 5-for-6 from the floor, four steals, three rebounds and three assists.

Otto Porter Jr. (A+): 15 points on 5-for-9 from the floor, 5-for-7 from three, nine rebounds, two steals and an assist.

The second unit played well overall, including a decent stretch of minutes in the fourth quarter despite some difficulty making shots.

Payton has quickly made an impact defensively and has been getting some really good looks on offense as well. His work rate is incredible and the team and fans have responded to it.

Porter had an insane stretch in the third quarter where he made three consecutive threes and got the Chase Center on its feet. He also cleaned the glass and made another three while the starters sat in the fourth.

The Bench (B’s)

Nemanja Bjelica (B+): Nine points on 3-for-4 on threes, two rebounds, two assists and a steal.

Juan Toscano-Anderson (B+): Eight points on 4-for-8 from the floor, four rebounds and an assist.

Damion Lee (B-): Four points, four assists and a rebound.

All three contributed to the win with some efficient shooting. Bjelica also had a plus-minus of plus-21 on the night, second only to Payton for the game-lead.

With the uptick in Payton and Poole’s usage, some of Lee’s scoring opportunities have gone away for now. It will be interesting to see how he responds in the coming weeks as the Warriors wait to get fully healthy.

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Source: Yahoo Sports

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