Warriors

JTA, Poole, Mulder trying to 'mimic' play of Steph, Draymond

Warriors
JTA dunk vs. OKC

If the Warriors are serious about not only making the play-in tournament game but advancing and making a run in the NBA playoffs, they'll need players not named Steph Curry to make an impact on the scoreboard. 

This has been a problem area for most of the season. 

But in the Warriors' 118-97 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chase Center on Thursday night, we got a taste of what Golden State can look like when they get more than No. 30 going.

"Obviously, what he does for us is incredible," Mychal Mulder said. "It's a pretty heavy weight that he's asked to carry. He does it with grace and does it extremely well for us so it's good to help him out a little bit and take some of the weight off of him. That's important to us and I think we did a good job of that."

Curry, in true Curry form, scored 34 points. 

Mulder added 25 points -- his second career 20-point game -- and hit a career-best seven 3-pointers, while the Warriors also got 18 points from Andrew Wiggins, 14 points from Jordan Poole, and 13 points from Kent Bazemore. Draymond Green added five points, nine rebounds and nine assists, while Juan Toscano-Anderson had seven points, nine rebounds and eight assists. 

The Warriors haven't had an easy time solidifying their rotation because of injuries and the NBA's health and safety protocols. It has prevented them from having kind of consistency throughout the entire season. 

 

But they seem to have found something recently with Toscano-Anderson, Mulder and Poole. 

"I'm lucky to be able to play with guys like Jordan and Mychal coming off the bench," Toscano-Anderson said "Those guys are my wings. I feel like JP and I are really developing our chemistry. Nobody compares to Dray and Steph, but we're trying to mimic their style of play and just get some good continuity going, get some easy buckets.

"And then, I always tell Mike ... I'm looking for you. Shoot that ball. He's a great shooter. It seems like he shoots better when he's got a hand in his face. I'm always confident that if his guy steps up or steps over, I'm going to make a good basketball play and he's going to knock down the shot."

Shooting better with a hand in his face sounds awfully familiar to another all-time Warriors shooter and the second half of the Splash Brothers. 

As Toscano said, no one can exactly replicate what Curry, Green and Klay Thompson do. However, if the Warriors can find guys who share the same chemistry and rapport coming off the bench, it's a good foundation for any second unit. 

"They're getting easy buckets left and right, so why not try and mimic that style of play? I mean, it works," Toscano-Anderson said. "We talk about following their lead and doing the things they do. I think if we can mimic that, there's some good continuity with the first unit and second unit. Everybody's on the same page. We're all making the same reads, everybody knows what everybody's doing."

Just glancing at Toscano-Anderson's stat line against the Thunder shows how he has embraced becoming Draymond-light. He's a 6-foot-6 undersized big man who can play small-ball center and never hesitates to facilitate for his teammates. 

One of the reasons why Poole has found success with the Warriors is because they started out letting him play his game as a scorer, and have steadily developed him into a scorer and playmaker in the second unit. 

As for Mulder, the last 10 games are the first time he's getting consistent minutes -- and a lot of minutes -- since January. The boost in his role is because the Warriors are missing Damion Lee and Kelly Oubre Jr., but he's running with the opportunity he's been getting. 

Over the last 10 games, Mulder has averaged 12.1 points per game on 52.2 percent shooting, including 45.3 percent from three in 20.6 minutes. That's compared to his 5.2 points on 45.3 percent field goal shooting, 39.8 percent from three, in 11.9 minutes on the season. 

The Warriors' second unit has been somewhat of an anomaly this season. Early on, and for most of the time, the bench has been a weak point for Golden State. The late minutes of the first quarter to the first portion of the second quarter, and then the end of the third and start of the fourth -- when the bench plays -- used to be a sore spot. Those were the stretches of the game in which the Warriors lost it. 

 

Then, there was a string of games where the second unit managed to maintain or build on whatever lead the interest from the starters. Green even said they outplayed the starters at times. 

In the last few games of the Warriors' road trip, the bench's production slipped again, and it felt like only Curry and Wiggins were able to do anything scoring-wise.

RELATED: Warriors leapfrog Grizzlies for eighth seed in West

But Thursday showed that Golden State can get production from other guys. The right pieces are there. Now it's about making sure this level of productivity throughout the lineup continues through the last seven games and then into the postseason.

"It's a breath of fresh air," Toscano-Anderson said. "It's no secret that we really depend on 30 to go out there and get buckets. But he's human ... we all have to be ready to knock down shots, make good basketball plays and compete. To see it tonight, it sends good vibes. Everybody is just in a good rhythm, good cohesiveness, and just some good momentum. What better time to be clicking or getting good momentum than going into the playoffs?"

Download and subscribe to the Dubs Talk Podcast