Twenty-two seconds into Sunday night’s game, Jordan Poole nailed a 3. The shot gave the Warriors a lead, one that the Warriors held the entire game and eventually ballooned to 20.
Even as the Raptors geared their defense to shut off Stephen Curry, the rest of the Warriors stepped up. Curry scored a season-low 12 points, but Andrew Wiggins (32 points) and Jordan Poole (33 points) led an offensive attack that shot 22-for-45 from 3.
The 119-104 victory showed Golden State (15-2) can win even when Curry has a relatively unproductive night. It also added another piece of evidence suggesting the Warriors are the team to beat, even before Klay Thompson and James Wiseman return.
Here are three takeaways from Golden State’s wire-to-wire win.
Wiggins putting it together
Some nights, Andrew Wiggins looks like a bouncier Paul George cyborg.
Those nights are becoming increasingly common, and Sunday night was one of them.
Wiggins nailed his first four shots of the night. He timed his off-ball cuts perfectly and knew when to drive to the hoop and when to catch-and-shoot.
He even displayed some off-the-dribble playmaking when he rejected a Kevon Looney screen to create space and rose up for a pull-up 3. After that bucket, Wiggins had 14 points of his own compared to the entire Raptors team’s nine.
Wiggins’ career thus far has been defined by tantalizing promise. He can take over games for stretches, but disappear completely for others. The Warriors’ message to Wiggins has consistently centered around Wiggins’ potential. He has all the talent required to be great, he just needs to stay engaged, confident and aggressive regularly.
Since Wiggins dropped 35 points — including two thunderous slams over Karl-Anthony Towns — against his former team, Minnesota, he’s been dynamite. In those six games, the forward is averaging 22.7 points per game on 55.3% shooting from the field while attempting five free throws a night. He’s struck the right balance between scoring from behind the arc, at the rim and in between.
When the Raptors surged late in the fourth, Wiggins helped stave them off by attacking the rim. He finished with 32 points on 12-for-20 shooting and 6-for-8 from deep.
A selectively assertive Andrew Wiggins — both now and when GSW is back to full strength — is exactly what the Warriors need. And for about the last two weeks, that’s what he’s been.
Chris Chiozza turned 26 on Sunday, and the Warriors gave him the best present of all: playing time.
The undrafted guard out of Florida played a season-high 20 minutes. The last time he played as much was March 24, 2021 with the Nets.
The backup guard made quick decisions offensively and used his swift first step to veer into the paint often. When the ball swung to him on the perimeter, he was ready to shoot; he hit two of his six 3-point attempts.
Chiozza finished with 11 points on 4-for-9 shooting. Most valuably: he didn’t commit a turnover until garbage time.
Chiozza will only be in the Warriors’ rotation if things go very, very south. But having a break-in-case-of-emergency point guard who can serviceably run offense, take care of the ball and create shots is quite a luxury.
A different Raptor
In honor of playing the Toronto Raptors, we took the opportunity to examine a different type of Raptor: FiveThirtyEight’s RAPTOR ratings.
The statistical analysis site created a system that measures every player and team, projecting their statistics out over the course of the season. Their model is updated after every game and every depth chart revision.
Right now, according to RAPTOR, the Warriors have a 94% chance at making the playoffs and a 2% chance at winning the title. Before the season began, those figures were at 25% and 0%, respectively.
At an individual level, Curry unsurprisingly ranks the highest under the RAPTOR ratings system, with a +7.6 offensive plus-minus. What is surprising, though, is that Otto Porter Jr., Gary Payton II, and break-in-case-of-emergency guard Chris Chiozza are the only other Warriors with a positive offensive RAPTOR.
It’s not like FiveThirtyEight’s models haven’t been wrong before.