Undefeated Warriors knock off the Lakers; also Jordan Poole is hella good
There were some disturbing trends in terms of big man defense however...
And still, the reigning, undisputed, undefeated preseason ballers are your Golden State Warriors! They knocked off their winless rivals from SoCal last night in an entertaining 121-114 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers in Chase Center.
Lebron James scored 9 points on 4-of-12 shooting in 18 minutes. He was moving with the dispassionate authority of a Radioshack manager coming out of his back office 20 minutes before the end of his Friday evening shift to quietly oversee his subordinates hucking battery deals. His eyes are on the bigger picture of getting a title parade in L.A. and after 18 seasons of domination, preseason games are just a formality.
Besides, he’s lost plenty of games to the Warriors, what’s another exhibition defeat?
On the other hand, his biggest rival Stephen Curry broke a pretty good sweat in 26 minutes, scoring 30 points with 5 steals on 50% shooting. His treyball was wonky (he shot 3-of-14 from deep), but his offball screen setting was causing havoc on a Lakers defense that was trained to be on high alert for him. His tricky picks paralyzed L.A. for brief moments where Jordan Poole got loose, and the young Splash Nephew has matured into a true terror in those situations.
HOW DEEP IS THIS POOLE?!
Poole continued his preseason tear, dropping 28 points on 10-of-19 shooting (6-of-13 from beyond the arc). I can clearly remember watching Poole in summer league with Dr. Tom in 2019, the rookie’s hair streaked with blonde like the Golden Lords, flying around the court fearlessly. It looked like he couldn’t wait to get his piece of the pie, and was going to herky-jerky crossover his way into the bakery at 100 MPH.
Then his rookie year happened during the lost season with Curry and Klay Thompson hurt, and he took his lumps against a league that was seeking vengeance for how the Golden Empire had ravaged their cities and assimilated their fanbases.
Last season Poole emerged as a nifty sixth man option who was figuring out how defenses were guarding him and where his spots would come in the offense. The shot he missed against the Lakers in the final seconds of the 7th-seed play-in tourney showed his team’s growing confidence in his ability despite the unsatisfactory result. This was probably the first time in Poole’s career that all of Dub Nation expected him to drill a shot with monstrous implications; he’d proven he was capable.
Fast forward to last night against the Lakers, where Poole was flowing like water. He was attacking defenders with homegrown cage-free artisanal dribble packages that seemed to freeze everyone on the court in awe.
After that disgusting display of controlled chaos, I immediately paused my DVR and stumbled over to my computer to google “Jordan Poole Contract Length”. Google, being a sentient bot designed to learn and anticipate all human brain potential, autofilled the rest as soon as I got to “Jordan Poole C-”. For the first time in Poole’s career, anxiety gripped me as I realized this guy is probably going to be worth a max extension and the Warriors are already eleventy billion dollars over the salary cap.
But that’s a problem for the tech geniuses in San Francisco to figure out. Here at DNHQ let’s try to figure out another hypothetical: who does Poole remind you of?
In DNHQ’s season review of Poole, Dr. Tom broached the idea of JP being an off-the-bench gunner in the mold of Leandro Barbosa. I remember quite fondly how Barbosa would step into a game and use his mix of cagy handles and legit shooting to shift the momentum of ballgames Golden State’s way.
I see some C.J. McCollum in his game (a guilty pleasure of mine), but ultimately Poole is his own man with his own swag. I think the flurry to compare him to others is just a natural sign of our excitement in the possibilities. SO WHAT ARE THE POSSIBILITIES?
The Warriors big man-depth gets tested
Anthony Davis sat out this game for rest, so the Warriors were spared dealing with one of the scariest talents in NBA history. But the Lakers keep hella big men on deck, so the Dubs still had their hands full with former All-Stars Dwight Howard and DeAndre Jordan.
Perhaps the premier “jump-and-dunk” big men of the previous era before the Warriors washed it all way with the Splash Bros and Draymond Green, Howard and Jordan still have enough boosters to terrorize unsuspecting foes around the rim. The Lakers took special focus in dissecting GSW’s rim protection with non-stop devastating alley-oops.
Howard muscled his way to 23 points and 12 rebounds in 24 minutes, getting louder and more demonstrative with every powerful jam or gritty offensive rebound. The Warriors survived by scrambling and staying tethered defensively (they had a ridiculous 22 steals), and even deployed some zone to keep the Lakers’ bigs from living at the rim.
Still, it’s clear that athletic big men will give the Dubs problems down low. Nemanja Bjelica and Jordan Bell aren’t appearing to be the answer there. The Lakers may have stolen this game behind Howard’s physicality if not for a special 4th quarter from a Golden State lottery pick.
Moses Moody belongs
MR. MOODY WELCOME TO THE PROS. The 14th pick in the 2021 draft scored 10 points in 10 minutes, nailing all three of his attempts from beyond the arc, two of those coming with the game in balance.
I feel very confident with him soaking up some minutes this season because his shot is legit and he works hard on defense. The rest will come in time, but it’s clear the guy fits in smoothly with the identity of this franchise. PLAY THE ROOK!