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When Less is More: Warriors deep freeze Raptors, 126-110, without Wiggins, Curry


PhilBoxing.com




Jordan Poole rose to the occasion and announced his presence to our neighbors up north, scoring a career-high 43 points (1 board, 6 dishes), and going 5-for-11 from 3-point range in Toronto, Sunday night.

Against the hungry Raptors, who were on a 5-game slide, the Warriors were just as eager to break out of their own 3-game slump on the road, losing to the Bucks, Pacers and Sixers just prior.

Facing a heavier workload now that Steph Curry is out with an injured left shoulder (partial separation), Poole tried a little easier, achieved a lot more, and made a name for himself in the process.

Poole has started in 11 games this season and is averaging 25.4 points per game as one of coach Steve Kerr's starting five.

As the Warriors Sixth Man, Poole has averaged 14.1 points, off the bench and has breached 30 points for the fifth time this season totaling 16 in his career. His previous career high was 38.

With Curry expected to miss about 3-4 weeks after a partial shoulder separation injury last Wednesday's loss to Indiana, Golden State will surely need Poole’s input and output in their quest for back-to-back titles. Compounding the Warriors’ predicament is the absent Andrew Wiggins who missed his seventh straight game because of a strained right adductor.

"He's played a lot of great games for us. So, if it's not the best, it's definitely one of the few best, because he was great at both ends. I thought his defense was excellent, he was patient offensively. He got us into our offense well, set the tone and just carried us,” coach Steve Kerr said of Poole.

Draymond Green added, "He was incredible on both sides of the ball. When you connect the game like that, things go your way. We all know what a special talent he is. He's been going through some growing pains and to see him come out tonight and have the game that he had, especially with Steph [Curry] being down and us needing to get a win, it was really huge. So it's great to see him play that way. I thought his effort on the defensive end carried over to the offensive end, which is great."

Green returned tonight after sitting out Friday’s loss at Philadelphia due to a sore right quadriceps.

Kevin Looney was more circumspect about Poole and the team missing Curry, ”It shows how good we can be. It’s always going to be hard to win when you’re missing one of the best players in the league. He’s going to be gone for a while so we’ve got to get used to trying to win without him. Hopefully we’re in a good spot when he comes back.”



The Warriors were shaking and baking against the win-starved Raptors, Sunday night— Draymond Green dropped 17 points (7 boards, 5 dishes), Klay Thompson cooked 17 points (7 rebounds, 4 assists), and Kevon Looney spiced it up with 11 points (11 rebounds, 2 assists), JaMychal Green matched his season-high with 15 points, and Donte DiVincenzo had 5.

The Warriors improved to 15-16, while the Raptors slipped to 13-17.

As a team, Golden State sank 43-of-81 baskets (53.1% FG) and 18-of-39 treys (46.2% 3-PT), including 3-of-6 treys from Draymond Green. The assist league-leaguing Warriors out-dished the Raptors 31-21, had more points-after-turnovers, 23-21 despite having more turnovers, 17-14, and had more fast break points, 18-5.

Golden State led 68-54 at halftime, took a 102-80 lead to the fourth, and led by as much as 23 points, as opposed to the Raptors who briefly led by 3.

By contrast, as a team, the Raptors were unable to get in sync but still managed a respectable game shooting 40-of-95 baskets (42.1% FG) and 13-33 beyond the arc (39.4% 3-PT). It was not enough to overcome the surging Warriors. The Raptors have now lost six straight times.

In basketball, as in life, it helps to have great mentors who nurture and guide you.

Call Jordan Poole lucky, if we must, for having great mentors like Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, coach Steve Kerr, and the great Stephen Curry. He carries quite a heavy load on his way up to stardom, if anybody asks me.

Poole had this to say about his performance and role as a leader in training, “Everybody needs to step up when one of our leaders goes down. We did that tonight from the top to the bottom of the roster.”



Upcoming:

Golden State Warriors (15-16): @ New York Knicks on Tuesday night. They will come back home on Christmas day to face the Memphis Grizzlies.

Toronto Raptors (13-17): @ Philadelphia Sixers on Monday night

Note of Appreciation:

Photos, stats and video are courtesy of the NBA and Golden State Warriors organization and brought to you by PhilBoxing.com.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Emmanuel Rivera, RRT.


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