The Warriors became the second San Francisco team on the block to beat LA Friday night, with a 121-114 preseason victory over the Lakers.
Golden State pushed their lead up to 22 at one point, but again, it’s only preseason, so the score really doesn’t matter.
Although objectively this preseason win is much less significant than the Giants Game 1 playoff victory a handful of minutes earlier, if you look at the lineups and shots created you can see all the important aspects.
All they did was run the Lakers, generate a ton of open 3’s, and closed the half on an 8-0 run. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen the core Curry and Green surrounded by three legit shooters, and shocker, it’s super effective.
Bjelica proved he can hold his own as a small-ball 5, even against teams with a 7-footer patrolling the paint. DeAndre Jordan and Dwight Howard are exactly the type of bigs who are going to theoretically beat up the Warriors, especially with James Wiseman still sidelined.
But even when the youngster returns, those strong, physical centers gave him problems last season.
While Bjelica can’t keep them off the boards by himself he was able to really get into their legs with box outs and was aided by Green as almost a double box out, they effectively kept the Lakers at bay on the boards.
He also continues to give them the best outside shooting big man since Mo Speights, as he has shot over 50 percent in all three preseason games.
What’s just as important is Bjelica’s passing vision and ability to create for others. Multiple times Friday, he pumpfaked a semi-open 3, which would normally give Warriors fans PTSD-style flashbacks to Omri Casspi refusing to shoot an open jumper, only Bjelica would follow it up with a controlled drive and a dime to an open cutter or shooter.
He plays similarly to former Warrior David West, and if you’ll remember, that was the last time the Warriors bench was a legitimate weapon.
What also helps is that this team isn’t short on shooters, and they aren’t shy about letting it fly.
They’re averaging 57 3’s attempted through the first three preseason games, which would have easily led the league last year. The Jazz were the leaders in that category with 43 3’s per game just for comparison.
For a team that’s branded a 3-point shooting team, the Warriors actually haven’t led the league in 3’s attempted since 2015-16, and haven’t even sniffed 40 attempts a game before.
Friday the Warriors got up another 56 3’s, with most of those coming from Poole and Curry, who combined for 27 of them. Poole laced six himself and continues to blow away expectations to start the year. He poured in another 28 points after entering the day third in the league in points per game for the preseason.
Poole was two points shy of matching Curry’s 30-piece, and the two formed a backcourt reminiscent of the Splash Brothers with how they were raining down 3’s.
They were the only players to reach double figures until Moses Moody scored 10 in the fourth, but when they’re going for a combined 58, that’s a number the Warriors can live with. Especially when they get another 49 points from their bench.
And just judging by the way the Warriors have come out gunning from deep this preseason those numbers probably won’t be an aberration.
It’s a new way to play that the greatest 3-point shooter in NBA history hasn’t ever been apart of before.
And when you add Klay Thompson to this new extremely heavy 3-point style, this has the makings of a very entertaining team to watch — and a dangerous one to every other team in the NBA.
The Warriors get another look at the Lakers Tuesday when they trek down to LA for their penultimate preseason game. They’ll be back at Chase Friday to close out the preseason against Portland.
Otto Porter got the start for Andrew Wiggins who was out with a listed knee injury, but in reality, it was just for rest. Jonathan Kuminga also missed the game with a strained patella tendon, an injury he suffered last game against the Nuggets.