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Warriors Observations: Jordan Poole, Klay Thompson Fuel Win Vs. Blazers

What we learned as Dubs pull out thrilling win over Blazers originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

SAN FRANCISCO — The first 90 seconds of Friday night looked like pure perfection from the Warriors. Two Klay Thompson jumpers, followed by a slick finish at the rim by Jordan Poole and a 3-pointer by Thompson gave Golden State the first nine points of the game, forcing a quick timeout from Portland Trail Blazers head coach Chauncey Billups.

If only it were that easy the rest of the way for the Warriors. 

The Warriors’ large lead vanished in the second quarter. They were up by only four points at halftime and lost their lead quickly in the third. Going into the fourth, the Warriors trailed by eight points. 

That’s when their championship mettle showed up for a huge 118-112 win at Chase Center.

After watching their lead disappear, the Warriors outscored the Blazers 30-16 in the fourth, including a 12-0 run that saw them go from being down by eight points to up by four. Donte DiVincenzo’s steal on Damian Lillard, followed by a dagger 3-pointer, sealed the deal.

Jordan Poole led the way with a game-high 41 points, followed by 31 from Klay Thompson. They combined to go 25-for-45 from the field and 12-for-25 on 3-pointers.

Here are three takeaways from the Warriors ending 2022 with a 19-18 record after completing their first four-game win streak this season.

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As Steph Curry remains sidelined while rehabbing his left shoulder injury, Poole has had no problem putting up points. But all season long, Poole has struggled to find consistency with his 3-point shot. Over his previous five games, Poole was shooting 19.6 percent from deep while going 9-for-46. 

For at least one night, Poole found his 3-point stroke for the Warriors. He made two of his three attempts in the first quarter and was 4-for-6 in the first half, helping him score 22 points through the first two quarters. That gave Poole his seventh 20-point half of the season.

Poole wound up scoring another 18 points in the second half. His 3-pointer with 2:49 remaining in the game cut the Warriors’ deficit to one point. Though that was his only 3-pointer of the second half, it was the biggest. 

This was Poole’s second 40-point performance this season, going 14-for-23 from the field and 5-for-10 on 3-pointers. Finding consistency from long range will be key for him in 2023.

Fresh Legs

Sitting the second night of a back-to-back and enjoying a day off on Thursday, Thompson looked fresh and ready to roll from the opening tip. The first quarter was an indication of a big night to come.

Playing nearly 11 minutes, Thompson scored 15 points in the first quarter alone, going 6-for-9 from the field and 3-for-5 on 3-pointers. The second quarter was quite as kind to Klay or the rest of the Warriors. He was held scoreless, missing all three of his shots. Then came the third quarter.

Coming out of halftime, Klay gave Golden State 13 points in the third. Returning with 6:42 to go in the game and the Warriors behind by five points, Thompson then scored three more in the fourth to give him 31 points on the night. He now has topped at least 30 points three times this season.

Thompson wants to play back-to-backs. The Warriors would love him to as well. There could be a time later in the season when that happens. However, this was another example why they’re being cautious with their Splash Brother.

Plenty To Correct

Leading by as many as 18 points in the first quarter and going into the second with a 16-point lead, the Warriors then watched the Blazers start the second quarter with a 10-0 run. Things didn’t get much better after that. The Warriors scored only 19 points in the second quarter and were outscored by 24 points between the second and third quarters. 

The problems in those two periods were the same as they have been all season: Turnovers and fouling. In the second and third quarter combined, the Warriors turned the ball over eight times and were whistled on 14 fouls. That allowed the Blazers to take advantage of turnovers and take 15 free throws in two quarters.

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Plenty of problems were cleaned up in the fourth quarter. The Warriors turned the ball over three times in the final 12 minutes, and were called for only two fouls. That’s how a team turns it on when it matters most with clean basketball. 

The first and fourth quarters were great. The second and third quarters will be studied to keep this win streak going.

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