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3 takeaways from Warriors’ blowout win over Dallas

© Kelley L Cox | 2022 Jan 25

Seven Warriors scored in double figures as Golden State shot 53.3% from the floor and 39.5% from 3, pulling away from the Mavericks for an easy victory. 

GSW’s bench, led by Nemanja Bjelica and Jordan Poole, provided 71 points in a blowout win exclamation-marked by rookie Jonathan Kuminga’s ferocious dunks and other tantalizing plays in the fourth quarter. Kuminga finished with a team-high 22 points, 17 of which came in a final frame bereft of suspense.

The Warriors (35-13) coasted to a 130-92 victory against a surging Mavericks team on Tuesday in the Chase Center, breaking out of their offensive funk with an all-around effort.

Here are three takeaways from Golden State’s win. 

Return of the ball movement 

The Warriors’ 34-point second quarter was the best Golden State’s offense has looked in weeks. 

GSW didn’t force the offense through Klay Thompson, and he didn’t force up shots. The Warriors didn’t resort to isolation after first or second options were unavailable. They pushed in transition after defensive rebounds and found open shooters on the break. 

Without Draymond Green (back/calf) for the past nine games, the Warriors offense has struggled. They miss Green’s facilitating from the post and his aggression on the fast break. 

But in the second quarter, the Warriors found some ways to replace some of Green’s playmaking. They hunted mismatches in the halfcourt, found cutters and routinely made the extra pass. 

Much of that improved ball movement came from Nemanja Bjelica and Damion Lee, who repeatedly passed up open looks in favor of better ones. 

One play, Steph Curry found Bjelica slipping to the basket. Bjelica could’ve tried a contested layup, but instead wrapped a pass around to Lee in the corner. Lee had a clean look at the basket, but instead made a touch pass to Klay Thompson, who buried a 3 right next to him. 

Later in the quarter, the same combination happened. Curry drove and kicked out to Bjelica at the top of the key. The forward swung it to Lee on the wing, who quickly advanced it to Thompson for another 3. Dallas didn’t rotate fast enough. 

Golden State’s egalitarian offense was back. And for it to look as crisp as it did against the Mavericks, a team that has held their opponents to below 100 points in 10 of their last 14 games, is significant. 

Jordan Poole’s sneaky finishes 

Jordan Poole is still navigating a move to the bench, and all the complications that come from that transition. But he put together one of his strongest performances as a reserve this season against Dallas, tallying 17 points on 6-for-10 shooting in 26 minutes. 

One move that stands out with Poole is the way he finishes inside. He’s most effective when he’s snaking to the rim and not settling for perimeter jumpers, something that he should pursue coming cold off the bench — which can be challenging. 

On a drive in the second quarter, Poole penetrated into the paint from the right wing, made his way to the left block and scooped in a lefty layup high off the glass over Maxi Kleber. He made the same exact move on Sunday to beat Rudy Gobert — a finish even more impressive. 

The lefty scoop lay-in is such a unique, advanced tool to have in your bag. Poole’s finishing around the rim has been impressive all year; he’s taking 30.5% of his shots 10 feet or closer to the rim and converting them at a 64.4% clip — impressive for a 6-foot-4 guard. 

The real tough loss for Dallas 

The biggest loss of the night, and most significant development from this late-January regular season game, was Mavericks shooting guard Tim Hardaway Jr. exiting the game midway through the second quarter. 

Hardaway, Dallas’ starting shooting guard, hobbled off the court on his right leg, putting no pressure on his left foot. 

Later in the game, the Mavericks announced Hardaway fractured the fifth metatarsal in his left foot. 

It’s a serious blow to the Mavericks, who were just finding their stride and playing their way into the Western Conference contender conversation. They’d won 11 of their last 13 games entering Tuesday, riding a swarming, physical defense and Luka Doncic’s brilliance. 

Now they could be without Hardaway, who’s averaging 14.3 points per game, until possibly May — or later. 

 

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