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Notes after Warriors recover with much-needed win, but may have lost James Wiseman


After a truly brutal ending to Friday night, the Warriors sought some immediate reprieve for their self-imposed implosion. And they got it, for the most part, but will wait with bated breath after a scary James Wiseman fall. That injury looms large over a 125-109 win over the Houston Rockets.

Wiseman departs

The last couple games have been the best version we’ve seen of James Wiseman this season. He’s been simplifying his approach over the last few games; screening and rolling, catching lobs, and playing less reckless defense. As that’s begun to work for him, Wiseman’s opened up other parts of his game.

His mid-range shot is falling more effectively, and his confidence, discernibly a result of that early-game success, has been evident.

That’s what makes Wiseman’s injury so frustrating. He’s been playing his best basketball as of late, and you could see pretty clearly how much his confidence was building. Over his previous two games, he was averaging 15.5 points and 8 rebounds on 62.5 percent shooting. And he opened up hot again on Sunday, with 6 points on 3-of-5 shooting including a couple nice mid-range shots.

But that play above ended Wiseman’s night with a right knee injury. The Warriors announced he would not return in the second half and was undergoing further evaluation. There’s no indication yet of the severity, but there is at least the one positive of Wiseman limping off the floor without assistance.

Curry at his most ridiculous

It never gets old watching Stephen Curry to absolutely absurd things. With the Warriors without Kelly Oubre and then Wiseman, the rotation was shortened, increasing the burden on Curry and everyone else who remained.

That was just fine with Curry, who went all human torch on the Rockets in the third quarter with 23 points, including the shot below.

Those 23 third-quarter points pushed Curry, who finished with 38 points (13-of-21, 8-of-15), 8 rebounds, 5 assists, 5 turnovers, one steal, over the 30-point mark for the sixth-straight game. You might think that’s a feat that Curry had previously accomplished, but apparently not. According to the Warriors, Curry’s six-straight games of more than 30 points is the first time a Warriors player has had 30-plus in six-straight game since Rick Barry.

That feat is as much an indication of Curry’s dominance this season as much as it is a damning indictment of what the Warriors have accomplished recently, which is nothing. They were 1-4 entering Sunday night, and finally rewarded Curry’s scoring with a win.

Role players step up

We got a Jordan Poole sighting on Sunday night. There was that 10-game stretch in March (from March 4 through March 26) when Poole was at his absolute best, averaging 19.7 points per game on 49.6 percent shooting and 41.1 percent from three.

Since then, Poole has averaged 7.0 points per game on 29.1 percent shooting and 24.2 percent from three. He broke that duck decisively on Sunday when the Warriors, desperate for another scorer without Oubre and Wiseman, were in dire need of it.

And boy, did he provide; not just as a scorer, but as an all-around playmaker. He’s averaged 1.8 assists on the year and about three through his hot stretch, but he moved the ball well and played passing lanes much better than he typically does. Poole finished with 21 points (8-of-11, 3-of-5 from three), 4 assists, 3 steals and a rebound.

Also effective were Mychal Mulder and Juan Toscano-Anderson. Mulder, despite being billed as a three-point specialist, has some genuine bounce in his game. Down the stretch of the fourth quarter, he appeared time and time and time again with key, momentum-retaining scores under the rim, finishing with 10 points (4-of-7, 1-of-4 from three), with a steal and an assist.

Toscano-Anderson, meanwhile, seems to just do the right things with stunning consistency for a guy who clearly should have been given his NBA shot far sooner than now. It was a fitting night on his 28th birthday.

He’s not often going to stuff the stat sheet, but it was impossible not to notice his impact on the game. He’s a reliable defender with the athleticism and size to play on basically any player, and possesses the court vision to penetrate and attack the rim or dish it in a timely manner.

He had a mini-Draymond night with 8 points (3-of-4), 4 rebounds, 4 assists, a steal and a block. Not a bad way to celebrate.

Oh, and Andrew Wiggins remained impressive, too, especially with his defensive aggression and lack of hesitation as a shooter. He finished with 25 points (11-of-21, 1-of-5 from three), 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks and a steal.

 

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