“He’s started to figure out where his spots are and how to impact the game. He just immediately changed the momentum immediately upon entering. I think he scored eight points in about two minutes.”But, with all Poole games, there were some negatives as well. While he did total a career-high 21 points, he also took 19 shots to get there, and aside from the stretch in the first quarter, most of those were wild heat checks. That’s something the Warriors are prepared to live with, though, especially this season. And it’s a welcome change from their bench the last few years, where guys were scared to shoot. It is much easier to rein someone in than it is to force them to shoot, and they’ll never have to worry about forcing Poole to shoot. Kerr said the most important thing he’s seen from Poole is the consistency:
“I think the biggest thing is, you’re seeing him stack up some good games now. Sometimes a guy might have a good game once in a while and anybody can kind of get hot. But I think he’s put together four or five really good games in a row where he’s made a significant impact.”Poole and his fellow rookie Eric Paschall shouldered much of the scoring load with the Warriors shorthanded. Paschall got the start in place of Draymond Green and continued to work his way back to his early season form. After his struggles the last month, Paschall has now scored in double figures in five straight games, and his 20 points are his first time breaking 20 since December 2. Kerr said Paschall shifting to the four really helps his game:
“I think there’s just more floor spacing. He’s so quick off the dribble and he’s got that burst at the rim, so when he’s at the four even with a really good athlete, great athlete, like Aaron Gordon out there, he still has the space to go to the rim and create a play. At the three it’s a little tougher to do that just because you’ve got more big guys in the paint.”Paschall has been in and out of the lineup with various injuries. When he has taken the court, foul trouble has ruined a lot of the momentum he built up from the beginning of the season. Those variables have made him press at times when he gets on the court. But Saturday was different. He was aggressive, but not overly so, and was able to pick his spots more efficiently. Instead of bulldozing to the rim every time he touched the ball, he read the defense and took what they gave him. And he made an effort on the glass, too, with nine rebounds, which is also the most he’s grabbed since December 2. Poole and Paschall did their work early, but it was D’Angelo Russell who took over at the end. He led the way with 26 points and 12 assists, and hit two timely 3’s to ice his veins and the game. The trio actually assumed control of the game in the third quarter when they scored 23 of the Warriors 29 points and titled the game in Golden State’s favor. It all equaled a much-needed win for the downtrodden Warriors, at the same time developing their rookies. It’s the best of both worlds, and something that’s been few and far between this season. But Willie Cauley-Stein said that while they have been playing better, they can’t afford to take a step back:
“We just have to keep on going into these games and learning from them. And not reverting back to stuff that caused us to lose games, so just like building on the intensity, building on taking care of the ball building, on like walling up in transition and not giving up easy buckets.”
Up NextThe Warriors hike up to the Pacific Northwest for just a one-game road cameo when they take on the Portland Trailblazers Monday.
NotesKlay Thompson had his jersey retired at Washington State earlier Saturday, with Stephen Curry and Zaza Pachulia making the trip to support him. … With Draymond Green and Glenn Robinson III out with injuries, the Warriors recalled Ky Bowman from the G-League. Bowman has now used 42 of his 45 days available with the big club, but with D’Angelo Russell healthy, he’s expected to stay in Santa Cruz until March.
Curtis Uemura is SFBay’s Golden State Warriors beat writer. Follow @SFBay and @CUemura on Twitter and at SFBay.ca for full coverage of Warriors basketball.