Warriors

What we learned as Warriors close out first half with loss

Warriors

Without Steph Curry, Draymond Green and Kelly Oubre Jr., the Warriors had to throw together a makeshift starting lineup to go up against one of the hottest teams in the NBA on Thursday.

The odds were clearly stacked against Golden State (19-18), so its 120-98 loss to the Phoenix Suns (24-11) didn't come as much of a surprise.

But the game wasn't as one-sided as it looked like it could have been early. After trailing by 20 early in the second quarter, the Warriors made a push and managed to stay within striking distance deep into the second half. Jordan Poole led the Warriors with 26 points, which is highly encouraging for Golden State's future.

The Warriors once again struggled to rebound, though, making it difficult for them to take advantage of any chance they had. Golden State eventually fell behind by as many as 25 points in the fourth quarter.

Here are three takeaways from the Warriors' final game before the All-Star break.

G League players showed out

Poole and Nico Mannion had a perfect opportunity to showcase their skills with three starters out.

And boy, did they take advantage of their minutes.

Mannion got the starting nod in place of Curry because coach Steve Kerr wanted a pure point guard who would help the team get organized. He delivered just that, finishing with nine points, four rebounds, six assists and one steal.

 

Poole started the night on a quieter note. But by the midpoint of the second quarter, he had hit his stride, scoring a career-high 13 points in the period.

He finished the game with a career-high 26 points on 10-of-16 shooting and 5-of-10 on 3-pointers, adding three rebounds, an assist, a steal and a block.

It was clear their time in the G League exponentially improved their games.

Missed opportunity from Wiggins

With Curry and Oubre out, the Warriors needed a guy to step up. That should've been Andrew Wiggins.

When Curry and Oubre play, Wiggins should always be the second- or third-leading scorer for the Warriors. So without them, and the Warriors' other veteran leader in Green, it was all about Wiggins.

His 16 points were fine, a solid B-plus on a normal night. This is what the Warriors need from him when they are at full strength. But they needed more from Wiggins on Thursday without so many of their best players.

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Rebounding continues to be an issue

The Warriors struggled on the glass once again Thursday against the Suns.

It's not a surprise when the Warriors get out-rebounded on a nightly basis, but that doesn't make it OK. Especially with how many second-chance it leads to for Golden State's opponents.

At one point, the Suns were out-rebounding the Warriors 25-7. Phoenix finished the game with a 52-40 advantage on the boards, including a 12-9 edge on the offensive glass.

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