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Warriors end 2022 with a bang, stun Blazers as Poole scores 41 points
Golden State ran the league in '22, and DNHQ was front row for all of it, baby!
Stop me if you’ve heard this before; the Portland Trail Blazers had a late lead but were stunned in the final quarter by a devastating Golden State Warriors run.
No I’m not talking about the three times the Golden Empire has wiped Portland out of the playoffs during the Splash Bros dynasty. I’m talking about the last game of the 2022 calendar, where the Dubs outscored Portland 30-16 in the final frame to win 118-112 in Chase Center.
Oakland native Damian Lillard was his usual dangerous self, balling out with 34 points and 5 assists. But the combined powers of “311”, the Jordan Poole-Klay Thompson connection, were too strong for Portland to overcome. Poole scored 41 points on 14-of-23 shooting from the field, adding 5 rebounds and dishing 6 assists in his best Stephen Curry impression. That includes the 7 turnovers Poole coughed up as well lmao.
Thompson wouldn’t let the home team down, adding 31 points of his own, nailing 7-of-15 of his attempts from 3PT range. They got major support from their front court anchors Draymond Green and Kevon Looney, who both snatched 11 rebounds a piece for the game.
A gold ring for Young Glove
So besides the Warriors shocking Portland (again) and getting an entertaining win, the big story on the night was the return of Gary Payton II to Chase Center to get his championship ring! The Dubs’ fan-favorite signed with the Blazers in the offseason much to the dismay of Dub Nation, but we’re happy that he got a hefty raise for all the work he put in helping the Golden Empire reclaim the throne.
Gary has a tight connectivity to the Bay, the fanbase, and the team. That’s probably why he turned away in agony as this Klay Thompson dagger flew through the air to close out the game. Check out this clip:
Young Glove knows that when Klay wants to put the game away, it’s OVER.
Strength in Numbers brings the D
Ya gotta love what the champs are getting out of a guy like Donte DiVincenzo, an intelligent guard whose versatility and grit is gaining a whole new wave of supporters in Dub Nation.
His 9 points, 9 rebounds(!), 4 assists, and 4 steals(!) from last night’s win over the Blazers remind me of a classic Warriors Andre Iguodala stat line. He affected multiple parts of the game in subtle ways that punished the Blazers for any lapses. Even Lillard, who is so known for taking over in the clutch that his exploits are known as “Dame Time”, was victimized by DDV’s great hooping.
Did that man just rip off the Dame Time watch and sell it at Eastmont Mall?!?!
The defensive strip in particular resonated with me after watching his teammate Jonathan Kuminga pull off the same feat down the stretch in the Hornets game recently. Those two steals symbolize how bought in DDV and JK are to the team’s lofty defensive standards, and bring an attack dog element to swarming ball handlers that must make both Gary Payton Sr. and Jr. proud.
Per NBA.com matchup data, last night Blazer players shot 5-of-16 from the field when Kuminga was their primary defender. That’s Alcatraz level lockdown. But don’t take my word for it!
Another fresh batch of role players for Strength In Numbers
Remember the superfamous My Worst Take article DNHQ made about Andrew Wiggins back in February of 2020 about whether or not signing Wiggs was the death of the GSW dynasty? One of the subtle takeaways from that timeless piece was Duby Dub Dubs rightfully wondering how the Warriors were going to add quality role players around the core pieces with most of the available salary money being locked into the big money vets.
The next season when the Warriors didn’t retain players like Kelly Oubre Jr., Kent Bazemore, and Eric Paschall to make room for the likes of Otto Porter Jr., Nemanja Bjelica and Payton II, that didn’t exactly overwhelm Duby (and many others in Dub Nation) with enthusiasm.
We documented this all in a piece entitled “Group Chat Fury: Grading the Warriors offseason”, feel free to check it out and refresh yourself on how shoulder-shrugging those acquisitions were at the time. I believe it was Evan Zamir who thought the Dubs did basically nothing that offseason?
Funny enough, after the Warriors roared to a championship that season, suddenly OPJ and GP2 were untouchable pieces that had to be retained to protect the dynasty. Remember last July when Dub Nation was feeling the pain of losing those players and the vets like Juan-Toscano Anderson and Damion Lee?
Fascinating. And yet if we were to look at the stats for Otto and Gary this season, there’s a stark contrast between what GSW got out of them and what their current teams are. OPJ has played in eight games this season, and here’s the quote from his player profile on ESPN: “Porter, who hasn't appeared in a game since Nov. 14 due to a hip injury, is out for at least another month, Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca reports.”
Awful news for a guy who was a strong contributor for Golden State’s championship run last season, whom I’ll remember fondly for humiliating the fraudulent Phoenix Suns on Christmas Day.
And then Mr. Payton II. A man so elite defensively that he got All-Defensive team votes despite being a reserve player averaging less than 20 minutes per game! The man who posterized so many teams the Grizzlies had to send a hit squad out on him in the playoffs. The man who put up 15 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 steals in a major Game 5 home win over the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals!
Can you believe that not only has he not played in an NBA game since helping GSW lift up the trophy, but now even the Blazer fanbase is starting to get iffy on him? Check out this excerpt from the Blazers Edge about Payton’s hopefully soon return:
He’s expected back soon after recovering from abdominal surgery, but whispers, rumors, and a couple outright statements about his approach have started to surface. Who is Gary Payton II and what does he bring to the table that Portland doesn’t get otherwise? Why did the Blazers sign him? How badly do they need him? And most of all, is it time to shuffle Payton’s return to a back-burner priority, in effect giving up on him and going with what the Blazers have already?
Wow! How did these two stalwart hoopers go from journeymen signing with the Dubs, to champions and fanbase favorites, to afterthoughts on their new teams? Strange, isn’t it? #trustBobMyers
Goodbye 2022, Hello 2023!
I guess the last word of the year here falls on me, the Gold Blooded King. This has been a pretty successful year not only for the team but also this community here at DNHQ. Our friend Asher B. penned a comment recently wondering if it’s tough to do this blog thing when the Warriors play like trash:
Real question: I'm curious if this site, dear to many of us, suffers in readership and associated benefits for the writers/creators when the team falls on harder times. Speaking only for myself, I find it harder to get motivated to read an article, read comments, post comments when the team is losing, losing badly, unentertaining, or when star players are injured. I imagine that others may feel the same, and my guess is that the writers have to not only watch the team get beat down, but rally optimism with a less responsive audience. I'm also curious if other readers/commenters tend to lose heart as I do. Kinda sucks all around.
I loved that comment because this site, much like the fandom of all those who helped created it, was born from trash Warriors basketball. Ask Eric Apricot, or Duby Dub Dubs, or Dr. Tom, or Nate P. The Godfather, or Ivan our graphics guru, or Joe Viray, or Patrick Murray, about how many horrible GSW games they watched year after year previous to the dynasty.
All that losing didn’t take away their passion for their team. Rather all the tribulations molded and hardened their fervor for Golden State hoops. And if you recall this blog started (formerly with Lets Go Warriors) during the lost season of 2019-2020 when the team didn’t have the Splash Bros and THEN the world was shut down by Covid-19 protocols.
We went from writing about trash basketball to having no basketball at all to dicuss and STILL made content. Apricot led us through those dark times, his brilliant mind creating an endless wave of fascinating Warriors-related thought exercises that willed all of us through.
Hell, Duby Dub Dubs, Dr. Tom and I even created a fantasy draft of all Warriors players to fill up the dead time! And our community joined in to make it happen!
C’mon man, this squad is the definition of dedicated and thorough. And when I say squad, it’s not just the content creators behind the scenes; it’s YOU too. We’re in this together. We are making DNHQ the premier place to soak up Golden State Warriors’ vibes and create the conversation.
Y’all were supporting us when I was making graphics like this:
Lmao whew that’s trash. But by the grace of God and your patient encouragement, a G-league photoshopper like myself can now do all kinds of fun header images and videos. Thank you for giving us the sandbox to play in, and thank you even more for rolling up your sleeves and jumping in here with us.
It’s amazing what happens when Dub Nation gets together; that’s probably why Golden State has the best home record in the NBA at 16-2.
And hey, whaddya know, the Dubs are over .500 overall with a record of 19-18 as we turn the page over to 2023. Got to admit, it’s getting better…it’s getting better all the time. HAPPY NEW YEARS FOLKS!