It’s no secret that Steph Curry is valued for the Warriors’ offense. There’s no denying Draymond Green’s distributor, facilitator and defensive maven. When one is in a purple T-shirt and the other is in a tracksuit, it has never been more apparent.
Next to him, Klay Thompson sat watching and thought about playing with him the next time he played on the court. This will happen within weeks, maybe days. But on Thursday night in New Orleans, all three of them could sit and watch a 101-96 defeat.
Facing at least one more game before their title-winning trio reunited, the Warriors fell into a second straight night, losing their first consecutive game since the previous season. Without Curry (injured quad) and Green (hip pain), he reintroduced Jordan Poole into the starting lineup and relied on Andrew Wiggins’ continued resurgence.
As usual, aggressive Wiggins took the lead with 21 points. But 49 points off the bench, led by Jonathan Kuminga’s 13 and Damian Lee’s 12, could not miss two of the top three scoring threats for a team: Curry, who sat outside, and Poole, who fell silent. Were.
Later, coach Steve Kerr called it the “Great Fight”.
“Being shorthanded, the young guys had a good chance to play and experience a game full of pressure on the road. I thought our youth really gained valuable experience and struggled through it,” Kerr said. “Just wasn’t enough. Obviously the ball didn’t go deep enough. But I thought we defended and fought hard.
Cuminga and Moses Moody, Golden State’s lottery duo, both shorthanded, saw significant stretches of the evening. Moody, who finished with 10 points in 23 minutes, “knows how to play … attacked the rim (and) defended like crazy,” Kerr said.
“A lot of good things have happened in terms of the experience of Kuminga, Moses Moody and Jordan Poole,” Kerr said. “It’s great to feel like playing that kind of game with that kind of responsibility.”
A thrilling sequence from Cuminga at the end gave the Warriors a glimmer of hope, but they were unable to regain the lead they lost in the final moments of the third quarter.
Golden State led 70-67 and Moses Moody earned a pair of free throws by the end of the quarter with 1:20. But the Pelicans responded with three quick baskets, starting a 20-8 run that flipped the score by the 8:33 mark of the fourth quarter to 87-78 and decided the game.
New Orleans, the second-worst team in the Western Conference, needed two halves to erase the Warriors’ 11-point lead in the first half. New Orleans may have started the season 1-12, but it has now split its last 26 games.
Wiggins made the Warriors’ last three baskets of the first half. But the last two fell apart in more than 3 minutes, during a stretch that allowed the Warriors to slip an 11-point first-half lead. New Orleans scored 21–9 in the final 6:37 of the first half, including a 9–0 stretch between Wiggins’ buckets, taking a 47–46 lead at halftime.
Otto Porter Jr. started in Green’s place and gave the Warriors his first 3-pointer after missing his first five, igniting two more blasts from Wiggins and Nemanja Bezelica. The Warriors’ 0-for-5 start proved to be a better indication of what was to come than the brief barrage that followed.
Golden State missed 26 of its 33 attempts from a 3-point land (21.2%) and, after another night on Wednesday, is shooting 11-for-59 from a distance in its last two games. For the third time in five matches, the Warriors were below 100 points.
Porter, who has stepped into the role of playmaker several times this season, including 19 and 20 points in the last five games, only managed a bucketful of the rest.
Back in the starting lineup, with the return of Thompson possibly on the horizon for the final time, Poole was a prime candidate to step in in Curry’s place.
Prior to Wednesday, the Warriors had played five times with Poole scoring 15 or fewer points than Curry. Those five games are the pool’s five highest point totals of the season, including a season-best 32 in his second game from health and safety protocol on Monday against Miami.
But for the second straight night, the pool couldn’t hit. After taking a backseat with Curry in Wednesday night’s loss (six points; 3-for-8), he missed his first 10 attempts and finished 3-of-14 for 11 points in place of Curry in the starting lineup. terminated.
“I thought Jordan forced things a little bit,” Kerr said. “I thought there were times when he could make simple plays. He looked eager to make up for the scoring deficit on the backcourt with Steph out.
Kuminga delivered a highlight during the first half, collecting his rebound once, again, and again, and again, until his persistence paid off. Four of his six rebounds came on a right that ended on two of his 13 points.
Two more points from Kuminga came in less than a minute: Poole came up with a steal on the inbound pass and went to Kuminga, who converted the turnover to two points and the Warriors within two points, 94–91, 50. pulled with. The clock ticks on.
New Orleans’ Brandon Ingram, however, missed two free throws on the following possession and was as close as the Warriors would come.