Jordan Poole

Warriors' Jordan Poole showing more progress after bad start to season

Warriors' Jordan Poole showing more progress after bad start to season

SAN FRANCISCO -- With four seconds left in the third quarter of the Warriors' 190-95 win over Magic on Saturday, Jordan Poole ran full speed to the right-wing with a bucket on his mind. 

Sprinting alongside teammate Omari Spellman, Poole received a pass from the big man, pump faked, took a dribble and drained a 3-pointer at the buzzer, pushing the Warriors lead to 11. 

Walking to the bench, Poole had both arms in the air, and was yelling "Yeahhhh" towards the crowd. Similar plays have been the norm for Poole over the last week as he gradually digs himself out a bad start to his rookie season. 

"He's starting to figure out where his spots are," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. "Where his spots are and his comfort zone and how to impact a game." 

Remnants of Poole's improvement were on display early Saturday night. After Golden State went down 13-0 four and a half minutes into the contest, Poole scored 11 first-quarter points, helping Golden State take a 28-25 lead by the end of the period. Poole totaled 21 points for the game, including four 3-pointers, providing another example of his evolution. In his past three outings, Poole is averaging 16 points on 45 percent from the field. 

Such stretches are uncommon considering the start of Poole's career. During his first 29 games -- with Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson out of the lineup -- he shot just 25 percent, prompting a demotion to the G League. While his shot was ineffective, it was his propensity to not give all-out effort that drew ire of the coaching staff. On his way down to Santa Cruz, Kerr gave him a player that he'd like Poole to use a blueprint for success: Pelicans guard JJ Redick. More specifically, the shooter's habit of constant movement on the defensive end, complimented by his shooting ability. 

Poole followed suit during his G League stint, averaging 26 points, 5.3 assists and 1.3 steals in three games. The performance has carried over back to the NBA, as he's making 42 percent of his 3-pointers over his last three games. But he showed his  growth six minutes into the third quarter Saturday, when he fought through two screens, moved his feet on Magic guard Evan Fournier before stripping the guard, causing a fast break on the other end, prompting praise from his coach and teammates along the way.  

"He's doing better on defense, handling the ball and making plays," Kerr said. "The game is so fast at this level. Everything happens much faster, so whether you are defending somebody or having to get over a screen or leave a rotation or if you have the ball and you are trying to make a pass, everything just happens quicker than you are used to. I think the time in Santa Cruz helped him gain more confidence and maybe the game has slowed down a bit ... He just looks more confident and comfortable."

"I think his approach has been better," teammate D'Angelo Russell added. "I think that's what's contributed to him successfully on the court. Not just worrying about his shots but his demeanor, his approach is business-like."

Poole's progression comes as the Warriors are in transition. As he works towards a long-term role, organizational cornerstones Curry and Thompson are working their way back from injuries, while Russell -- an All-Star guard -- is giving 20-year old daily lessons on how to be a pro.

[RELATED: Paschall regains form after tough stretch]

"I'm like a kid in the candy store, especially being able to have Steph, Klay and [Russell]," Poole said on Warriors Postgame Live. "I'm in awe every day. You wouldn't want to be in any other situation." 

As Poole celebrated his buzzer-beater, Curry sat on a makeshift stage, soaking in the rookie's latest step as a pro, leaving compliments along the way. 

"The way that he's fought through his early-season struggles and gone down to Santa Cruz, really able to work on his game, see the floor, get his rhythm and shoot the ball the way he's been doing the last few games," Curry said during NBC Sports Bay Area's broadcast. "That's what an NBA player is made of. It's not going to be pretty but you got to keep coming back to try and make it work."

Warriors takeaways: What we learned in thrilling 109-95 win over Magic

Warriors takeaways: What we learned in thrilling 109-95 win over Magic

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO – The losing streak is dead, and the Warriors can thank their rookies for playing a significant role in its demise.

With Jordan Poole and Eric Paschall submitting strong performances, and D’Angelo Russell applying the finishing touch, the Warriors (10-34) buried their season-longest 10-game losing streak Saturday night with a 109-95 win over the Orlando Magic (20-23) at sold-out Chase Center.

The Warriors overcame an awful start, and then held off a late rally, to win for the first time in 2020.

Here are three takeaways from a game in which the Warriors exhibited a nice recovery from a difficult overtime loss to Denver on Thursday.

The kid was collecting buckets

For the fourth game in a row, Poole looked like the player the Warriors described last June when they made him their first-round draft pick.

His knack for scoring, in this game, served as an alarm clock for his teammates. After they missed their first seven shots and fell behind 13-0, Poole came off the bench and immediately started collecting buckets.

He made four of his first five shots, scoring 11 points in less than three minutes and tightening the score to 15-13. Moreover, his success had a positive effect on the rest of the Warriors, who responded by making their own contributions.

Though Poole totaled a season- and career-high 21 points on 8-of-19 shooting from the field, including 4-of-10 from deep. He has averaged 15.3 points over the last four games while shooting 41.9 percent (13-of-31) beyond the arc.

The kid can score, after all, and he’s burying the abysmal percentages he posted through the first half of his rookie season.

[RELATED: Steph goes crazy for Poole's buzzer-beater]

The other rook is regaining his touch

Paschall, drafted 13 selections after Poole, had a strong first six weeks before tailing off while coping with aches in both hips, causing him to miss four games over a two-week stretch.

Well, he’s back. And making only his second start in five weeks, he delivered on this night the kind of performance the Warriors needed.

Starting at power forward in place of Draymond Green (sprained left index finger), Paschall played 35 minutes, delivering 20 points (on 8-of-14 shooting) and nine rebounds, leaving him one short of his third career double-double.

The 6-6 forward has scored in double figures in five consecutive games, averaging 14.8 points during that span.

The Rookie of the Year chatter that existed back in November is gone, but Paschall is back to performing at the level that generated the talk in the first place.

D-Lo presses his distributor button

D’Angelo Russell is a scorer first and foremost, and that’s the role he has to play on this team during this season. On this night, however, however, he spent considerable time utilizing his traditional point-guard tools.

Russell still got his points, going for a team-high 26 on 9-of-21 shooting – including a dagger 3-pointer that gave the Warriors a 104-93 lead with 1:12 remaining – but he also recorded a season-high 12 assists, nearly half of the team’s total of 25, with only one turnover.

It was apparent that he was reading his teammates, particularly Poole and Paschall. They were making shots and Russell often made a point of feeding them – as well as seeking the big men for lobs.

Often derided for having a shoot-first mentality, though at times it is justifiable, Russell made sure to get his teammates involved and did so efficiently.

Steph Curry delivers powerful message to young Warriors amid rough season

Steph Curry delivers powerful message to young Warriors amid rough season

Warriors star Steph Curry always has been a leader.

Ever since he tweeted during his rookie season that he and the Warriors would “figure this thing out," Steph has done anything and everything to transform the Warriors into inarguably the NBA’s most successful team over the past five years.

During his stint as a sideline analyst on NBC Sports Bay Area’s broadcast of Saturday night’s Warriors-Magic game at Chase Center, Curry delivered a powerful message to the young players who have taken Curry’s place on the court this season, as the 31-year-old continues to rehabilitate from a broken hand suffered against the Phoenix Suns on Oct. 30.

“We have a culture of winning and we've established that over many, many years,” Curry said. “And nothing worth working for comes easy, so just staying with the program and just working on your attitude, your competitiveness and the details of what you need to do every single game and how you can adjust and learn on the fly.”

Curry also highlighted the importance of commitment and loyalty to the organization, as the Warriors appear destined for the franchise’s first losing season since 2011-12.

“It's just about sticking with the program,” Curry continued. “We understand we're young, we're injured, but this is going to do amazing wonders for these guys once we get back healthy and everybody finds their place in terms of what we're trying to do as a team. 

“So if you want to know anything about developing a winning mentality, just go look at my first two years playing for the Warriors and our win-loss record, it was a learning process and you've got to stick with it.”

[RELATED: Watch Steph go nuts after Poole's buzzer-beater to end third]

Powerful words from Curry, as he hopes to be the catalyst of another comeback story for the Warriors.