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sport / / NBCSBA: Warriors' consistent bench critical in keeping game close vs. Mavs

o NBCSBA: Warriors' consistent bench critical in keeping game close vs. MavsRobin Miller

NBCSBA: Warriors' consistent bench critical in keeping game close vs. Mavs


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From: robin.mi...@invalid.invalid (Robin Miller)
Subject: NBCSBA: Warriors' consistent bench critical in keeping game close vs.
Date: Sun, 7 Apr 2024 10:21:31 -0400
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 by: Robin Miller - Sun, 7 Apr 2024 14:21 UTC

Warriors' consistent bench critical in keeping game close vs. Mavs

By Michael Wagaman

• Published April 5, 2024

The Warriors have been fiddling with their starting rotations for most
of the 2023-24 NBA season, whether because of injuries or a lack of
production. Their coach Steve Kerr still isn’t certain that he has found
the right combination.

One thing that has been consistent, however, is the production that
Golden State has gotten from its bench regardless of who is with the
second unit.

In the Warriors' 108-106 loss to the Mavericks on Friday in Dallas, the
Dubs' reserves came in and sparked an immediate turnaround when it
appeared that the Mavs were on the verge of turning the game into a
blowout. Then, the second team continued to provide big minutes and
timely plays throughout the game on a night when the starters as a whole
didn’t appear very cohesive and in rhythm.

For Dub Nation, it certainly wasn’t a revelation. All season long, the
Warriors have received sound and solid production from their bench.

“We’ve been pretty much the same all year,” Gary Payton II told
reporters in Dallas. “Just coming in, stay afloat, pick it up or
continue where the first group left off and just continue to be solid.”

The reserves did much more than that in Dallas.

For the second time in four days, the Mavericks did a solid job of
preventing Golden State stars Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson from
really going off. After both were held under 15 points against Dallas on
Tuesday, the duo teamed up for 44 points on Friday but shot a combined
16 of 40 and went 7 of 22 behind the arc.

Yet the Warriors stayed close and had a chance to win in the end,
primarily because the bench helped keep the game close.

Much like they have for most of the year, Chris Paul and rookie Brandin
Podziemski led the bench brigade. Paul had a terrific game with nine
points, eight assists, five rebounds, four steals and a block to finish
a team-best plus-22. Podziemski tallied 14 points, four rebounds and
five assists.

Payton added 14 points on a crisp 6-for-7 shooting night, and Kevon
Looney helped out with seven rebounds in 10 minutes.

“We got off to such a terrible start, and then that group came off the
bench and got us right back in it, and even got us the lead at the end
of the first quarter,” Kerr said. “Chris, Brandin, Gary, Loon, they were
all really good. Got the game organized and sorted out, then it was just
back and forth from there.”

Even with the star-studded starting lineups that he trots out each game,
Kerr has leaned heavily on the bench, using his reserves more than any
other team in the NBA besides the Utah Jazz.

Through 77 games, Golden State has the league’s third-most productive
bench, averaging 42.8 points a game. Only the Indiana Pacers (46.4) and
Jazz (42.9) get more out of their bench.

The Warriors also lead the league in bench rebounding average (20.7) and
are second in assists (11.4) and shooting percentage (48.6).

As a team overall, Golden State is eighth in the league in scoring
(117.8), 15th in shooting percentage (47.5) and leads the NBA in
rebounding (46.8).

Were it not for the play of the second unit, the Warriors likely would
have gotten mopped up by the Mavs.

Instead, they were in it until the end. The bench was a big reason why
and deserves a lot of credit for it.

“We play desperate,” Podziemski said when asked about the Warriors’
second unit. “Sometimes we’re there to clean up the first group,
sometimes we’re there to extend the lead. Just kind of gauging whatever
that game calls for when we get in there.

“For the most part – the second part of the first quarter [and] second
part of the third quarter – we did our best to keep it within range.
Obviously there’s things you can clean up, you can do better at. But for
the most part that second unit did a really good job.”

sport / / NBCSBA: Warriors' consistent bench critical in keeping game close vs. Mavs


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