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sport / / NBCSBA (Poole): Wiggins calmly rescues Warriors after Draymond's ejection

o NBCSBA (Poole): Wiggins calmly rescues Warriors after Draymond's ejectionRobin Miller

NBCSBA (Poole): Wiggins calmly rescues Warriors after Draymond's ejection


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From: robin.mi...@invalid.invalid (Robin Miller)
Subject: NBCSBA (Poole): Wiggins calmly rescues Warriors after Draymond's
Date: Thu, 28 Mar 2024 00:56:17 -0400
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 by: Robin Miller - Thu, 28 Mar 2024 04:56 UTC

Wiggins calmly rescues Warriors after Draymond's ejection

By Monte Poole

• Published 30 seconds ago

The look on Stephen Curry’s face in the opening minutes Wednesday in
Orlando was that of a man who had seen too much of something he did not
care to see.

Not this again.

Yes. This. Again. Draymond Green getting ejected, darkening hope for the
Warriors, who would be forced the play the remaining 44 minutes and
change without him.

Yet they responded beautifully – nobody more than Andrew Wiggins.

Though the Warriors were tied with the Magic when Green was bounced out,
it was Wiggins’ late show that pushed them in front long enough to close
out a 101-93 victory that surely ranks among their grittiest of this
uneven 2023-24 NBA season.

The rousing win allowed Golden State to complete a road sweep of the
Florida teams for the first time since 2016.

“It was a gutsy effort in tough circumstances, back-to-back, losing
Draymond early” coach Steve Kerr told reporters at Kia Arena. “And the
guys just competed for 48 (minutes). Obviously, we need every game we
could get right now so that's why everybody was pretty emotional.”

Everyone, that is, except Wiggins. With Orlando attempting the kind of
late comeback the Warriors are painfully accustomed to experiencing, the
perpetually enigmatic forward coolly staged a fourth-quarter takeover.

“He won us the game tonight – plain and simple,” Curry said. “I’m just
proud of the way he took that challenge on, that he was assertive and
aggressive. Whether he makes or misses shots, I could (not) care less.
It's just the ability for him to just be aggressive and take the shots
that he knows he can take, put the pressure on the room, he's knocking
down 3s. Like everything. He had the whole bag working tonight.”

Wiggins scored Golden State’s first eight points of the fourth quarter
and stayed on the floor for all 12 minutes, producing 13 points and
three rebounds before punctuating the evening with a block inside the
final minute. He finished with a team-high 23 points, adding six
rebounds and two blocks while posting a plus-12 over 35 minutes.

“Just trying to stay aggressive, trying to do whatever I can to get over
the hump and get this win,” Wiggins said on NBC Sports Bay Area’s
“Warriors Postgame Live” shortly after the win. “We’re desperate. We
need every win we can get.”

Fact, particularly with their 10th-place status in the Western
Conference – which would yield the final play-in tournament berth –
being threatened by Houston. The Warriors maintain their one-game lead
over Rockets, who won their 10th consecutive game Wednesday night at
Oklahoma City.

The most encouraging element for the Warriors, aside from Wiggins’
emergence in an emergency, was their response to losing Green,
particularly considering Jonathan Kuminga was ruled out before the game
with tendinitis in his right knee.

The Warriors followed Draymond’s exit with a 17-1 run, taking a 23-9
lead with 3:14 left in the opening quarter. And each time Orlando went
on a run, they answered with one of their own.

Irate over a non-call a few seconds earlier, Draymond confronted referee
Ray Acosta with enough zest to earn the first T. When he persisted,
shouting foul language toward Acosta as Chris Paul and Curry tried to
nudge him away, the ref whistled the second T and the automatic ejection
that comes with it.

“Too bad. It was unfortunate. He deserved it,” Kerr said of Green’s
ejection. “He’ll bounce back. I’m just proud of the guys for stepping up.”

Green walked past the bench and into the locker room, having played
three minutes, 36 seconds before disappearing.

Said crew chief Mitchell Ervin, through pool reporter Jason Beede of the
Orlando Sentinel: “After a prolonged diatribe, Green directed egregious
profane language towards a game official.”

All of which left Curry shaking his head and, at one point, pulling his
jersey over his face. He’d lost his primary playmaking partner. He knows
Draymond’s absence reduces chances of victory. Because . . . Draymond.

“All I’ll say is we need him,” said Curry, who was emotional enough
after the win to keep over a sideline chair. “He knows that. We all know
that. So, whatever it takes for him to keep him on the floor and be
available, that’s what’s got to happen. Especially at this point in the

Though Kerr expressed little concern about another blowup resulting in
an ejection, there is some unspoken concern.

After 31 games during which Green played very good basketball and stayed
within his emotional guardrails – not one ejection – with the Warriors
reaping the benefit, they can only hope that this regression was
momentary or temporary.

Or, in case it resurfaces, someone will step in and deliver a
high-impact performance. Someone will have Draymond’s back.

On this night, it was Wiggins. And that was enough.

sport / / NBCSBA (Poole): Wiggins calmly rescues Warriors after Draymond's ejection


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