In their first taste of NBA playoff action Wednesday night, Jordan Poole and Juan Toscano-Anderson played with confidence and swagger for the Warriors.
The young Warriors reserves didn't look like they were scared or intimidated by the bright lights at Staples Center or the opposing names on the marquee.
Toscano-Anderson, at one point, made a 3-pointer and shushed the courtside fans. He then went straight at LeBron James on a driving layup, something you don't often see happen.
Late in the second quarter of the Lakers' 103-100 win, Poole and Los Angeles star Anthony Davis exchanged words and got hit with double technical fouls. Poole even tried to dunk on LeBron, but was unsuccessful.
The Warriors rode that aggressiveness into the halftime break with a 13-point lead. But unknowingly, Poole and Toscano-Anderson might have given the Lakers the spark they needed to get going.
"You never want to poke the bear," Davis told reporters after the game. "It's funny. I told Jordan Poole that too. When we both got the double techs, I came down and hit the mid-range [shot] and I said 'You done woke me up.' [Toscano-Anderson] did the same thing with LeBron. And we're confident enough in our games, especially when we're struggling, that you never want to poke the bear. That's playoff basketball. We love it. It's fun to trash talk, it kind of gets us going."
ESPN's Dave McMenamin noted that a momentary confrontation between Toscano-Anderson and LeBron got the four-time NBA champ's attention.
"Moments before halftime in Wednesday's wild play-in game, when down double-digits after a Jordan Poole three, LA called timeout," McMenamin said. "As LeBron James made his way to the Lakers bench, the Warriors' Juan Toscano-Anderson bumped into him and said, well, something, causing James' head to turn around abruptly and glare back at the second-year guard. Whether what was heard was real or imagined, the Warriors had his attention."
The Lakers flipped the game in the third quarter, outscoring the Warriors 35-24 in the period. Los Angeles tightened the defense in the second half, disrupting Golden State's offensive flow.
Poole and Toscano-Anderson were held scoreless in just under eight combined minutes in the third quarter.
Despite coughing up the lead in the second half, the Warriors had their chances to win the play-in game, but LeBron's miraculous 3-pointer with 58 seconds remaining in regulation turned out to be the game-winning shot.
Poole played the entire fourth quarter but scored just three points. Toscano-Anderson managed to score one point in just over three minutes of action in the final period.
The Warriors love how Poole and Toscano-Anderson have developed over the last few months, and they are integral members of the rotation, but Wednesday night, they learned a valuable lesson about leaving a sleeping bear alone.