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sport / alt.sports.basketball.nba.gs-warriors / NBCSBA (Poole): Warriors' venerable championship core knows what time it is

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o NBCSBA (Poole): Warriors' venerable championship core knows what time it isRobin Miller

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NBCSBA (Poole): Warriors' venerable championship core knows what time it is

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Subject: NBCSBA (Poole): Warriors' venerable championship core knows what time
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 by: Robin Miller - Sun, 17 Mar 2024 19:51 UTC

https://www.nbcsportsbayarea.com/nba/golden-state-warriors/steph-curry-klay-thompson-draymond-green/1714026/

Warriors' venerable championship core knows what time it is

By Monte Poole

• Published March 16, 2024

After winning a game they absolutely needed, the Warriors can continue
to chase that coveted No. 6 seed in the Western Conference and,
moreover, rationally believe they have enough to get there.

But any real chance of making that move over the remaining 16 games will
require much more of what they got Saturday night in a 128-121 victory
over the Los Angeles Lakers at Crypto.com Arena.

This much-needed win was built on the backs of their venerable
championship core: Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson. They
knew the grand implications of the game, and they responded wonderfully.

With nudge from coach Steve Kerr, who during practice on Friday reminded
the Warriors of the stakes, the vets engineered one of their cleanest
games this season against an opponent linked with them in the standings.

“We know what it takes,” Green told reporters in Los Angeles. “We
understand. We have a good balance on our team with guys who need to
bring energy, and they’re bringing that energy. Sometimes you kind of go
in these situations and, ‘Do you talk about it? Does it add more pressure?’

“I thought it was amazing for Steve to come in like, 'Listen, this is a
big game. It's a playoff game, and we need to go out here with that type
of focus and win.' Guys were locked in and got the job done.”

Green, listed on the injury report as “questionable” with back soreness,
felt good enough to start and produce 13 assists, 12 rebounds, six
points and high-velocity defense to finish plus-12 in 34 minutes.

Curry, returning after a three-game absence due to a sprained right
ankle, warmed up during a scoreless first quarter before pouring in
team-high 31 points in 26 minutes over the final three quarters.

“He had a slow start, but he never worries – and we never worry,” Kerr
said. “You know he's going to get going. And what he does just opens up
the floor for everybody else, too. It's not just his shot-making, but
it's the threat of him that generates so many easy looks for us.”

Which brings us to Thompson, the third member of the core, the first one
to loudly announce his presence to the Lakers – and the one whose
production likely will dictate Golden State’s direction over the final
month.

Bouncing back from a subpar game in a loss to the Mavericks on Wednesday
night in Dallas, Thompson came off the bench to score 21 points in 14
first-half minutes, setting the Warriors on the course toward victory.
He totaled 26 points, on 9-of-15 shooting from the field, including 5 of
10 beyond the arc.

“I just take what the defense gives me,” Thompson said. “And if they're
going to let me get open off pin-downs or shoot some transition threes,
then I'm going to shoot it. I don't try and overthink things. Just keep
it simple, and that's usually when my game tends to flourish.”

Thompson played at a comfortable pace, took smart shots, added four
rebounds and three assists, all while making it look effortless.

Golden State’s recent history reveals Thompson is the scorer who most
dictates the outcome of a game. We’ve seen Curry come up big and it’s
not enough. When Thompson comes up big, it usually results in a W. Which
positions him as the team’s X-factor.

When Curry scores 25 or more points, the Warriors win 70.4 percent of
the time (336-140). But when Thompson scores at least 25 points, they
prevail 80.2 percent of the time (163-40). (Stats courtesy of the good
folks at statmuse.com.)

For the Warriors to have a reasonable chance to manufacture the kind of
finish that pushes them above the NBA play-in box and into the
guaranteed playoff berth that the top six finishers earn, they’ll need
Thompson in his new Sixth Man role lighting up opposing defenses.

“I can really feel his power coming off the bench, and we're going to
him right away,” Kerr said. “We're calling plays for him. It is a
different vibe with him coming off the bench. He's out there with Steph,
but then Steph goes to the bench. To always have one of them on the
floor for the most part, it's really important for us.”

Though Jonathan Kuminga’s 23 points were necessary, this was a night
when the team’s accomplished vets did what they should do. They knew a
win would put them ahead of the Lakers and one step closer to their goal
of avoiding the play-in tournament.

They knew this even without Kerr’s reminder.

“He didn’t have to tell me anything,” Curry said. “I just missed the
last three [games], so I was excited just to be back.

"But you obviously understand the ramifications of every game we play
down the stretch . . . Every game, especially against teams that are,
you know, right in the standings, you know, where it's all jumbled up,
matters.”

This game needed playoff intensity. The championship core brought it.
For their next trick, they’ll try to sustain it for the next 16 games.


sport / alt.sports.basketball.nba.gs-warriors / NBCSBA (Poole): Warriors' venerable championship core knows what time it is

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