Before Steph Curry was injured during the Boston Celtics on March 16, the Golden State Warriors seemed to stumble into an optimal lineup.
Curry, Klay Thompson, and Jordan Poole were used back on March 10 against the Denver Nuggets, and it seems to be impossible to stop.
In 129 minutes to finish the season, the trio have posted an absurd 121.7 offensive rating and outscored their opponents by 96 points in these minutes.
With Curry coming off the bench in his return from his foot injury in Game 1, the Nuggets were very much in the game throughout much of the first half. It was not until about 4 minutes and 30 seconds left in the second quarter, when Poole came into the game along with Thompson and Curry on the floor. The Nuggets were up one point at that point.
“I go back to last season our first round against Portland. Dame, CJ, Norman Powell,” Nuggets coach Mike Malone talks about the trio before the game. “No disrespect to those guys, but this (Warriors trio) is on steroids. You have three guys that can average 30 points a series, they just have that ability.”
The Warriors finished the quarter on a 18-6 run, and took the lead for good for the rest of the game. Just like they’ve had in previous years, the team seems to have a new variant of their dominant death lineups, with this season consisting of Curry, Thompson, Poole, Andrew Wiggins, and Draymond Green.
“I think we’re going to see those three on the floor with Wiggins and Draymond a ton,” Malone continues.
“I think they’re second in the league in passes per game, first in assists percentage. They’re not just coming down and jacking up bad shots. They’re going to work and work and work and move you until they get the best shot.”
After a long layoff, Curry came off the bench and played 22 minutes. He shook off his rust, as he missed his first six shots, but expect him to pick up his production as he gets his rhythm back. Malone knows the Warriors will probably implement this death lineup more as Curry gets more minutes on the court.
“As far as being out there with Steph and him and Wiggs and Draymond, it’s a scary sight when we really get going,” Thompson acknowledges after the game. “This is really only our first time really playing together.”
Jordan Poole’s Emergence Presents Good Problem to Have
With how spectacular, Poole’s play has been as of late, it will be difficult to take him out of the starting lineup. After leading the team in scoring with 30 points in Game 1, the underlying question percolates in terms of if Poole would continue to start.
Both Steve Kerr and Poole avoided the question when asked if Poole would consider to start.
“Yeah, we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it,” Kerr says when asked if Poole would remain starting.
Poole had a funny two word reply when asked if he was going to continue to start.
The Warriors like to start Kevon Looney as their traditional center, usually to combat the opposing centers to start the game. Poole’s splits are drastically different when he starts and comes off the bench, so it will definitely be interesting to watch if the coaching staff decides to leave the scorching hot Poole in the starting lineup.
Poole Becomes Youngest Player to Score 30 Points in Playoff Debut
Pool finished Game 1 with 30 points on 9-of-13 shooting, including 5 threes and 7-for-8 from the charity stripe.
According to Elias Sports Bureau, Poole became the youngest Warrior to score 30 points in his first playoff game, passing the previous youngest record held by the great Wilt Chamberlain when he scored 35 points at 23 years old.
Poole’s five three pointers also set a record for the most treys made by a Warrior in their first career playoff game, according to Warriors PR. The previous record of four three pointers were shared by Curry and Latrell Sprewell.