Warriors takeaways: What we learned in scrappy 127-118 win over Blazers

Warriors takeaways: What we learned in scrappy 127-118 win over Blazers


SAN FRANCISCO -- The Warriors are forging a new identity on offense, with the rhythmic, fluid style of recent seasons giving way to scrap and sweat.

And the fans at Chase Center are getting behind it.

The starless Warriors laid it down well enough to stun a very good Trail Blazers team Monday night with a 127-118 victory that rocked the new arena hard enough to be felt all around the Bay -- earning a standing ovation inside the final minute.

Trailing by three at the half (63-60), the Warriors (2-5) took the lead late in the third quarter and held on for their first home victory this season.

Here are three takeaways from a game in which the Warriors displayed plenty of resolve against the Blazers (3-4):

Paschall stays hot

There will come a time when Eric Paschall doesn’t look like a lottery pick, but neither he nor the Warriors are in a hurry to see it.

The 6-foot-6, 255-pound forward celebrated his 23rd birthday in style, with 19 points in the first half and 34 for the game, adding 13 rebounds along the way.

Paschall became the third rookie this season with a 17-point quarter (Miami’s Tyler Herro and Memphis’ Ja Morant) and the first Warriors rookie with back-to-back 25-point games since none other than Stephen Curry in 2010.

Paschall was efficient early, making his first five shots and going 6 of 7 from the field in the opening quarter, playing all 12 minutes. He finished 11 of 19 from the field, including 4 of 6 from deep and 10 of 10 from the free-throw line.

Not bad for someone selected in the second round of the June draft.

Triples from the sky

When Paschall drained his first three 3-pointers, maybe it opened up the rims.

The Warriors shot 38.5 percent (10 of 26) from beyond the arc, with six different players finding at least one triple. In addition to Paschall’s shooting, fellow rookie Jordan Poole (16 points) dropped in a pair of threes.

Two of the three centers, Marquese Chriss and Omari Spellman, also drilled shots from beyond the arc.

Portland, considered one of the league’s top 3-point shooting teams, managed to shoot just 32.5 percent (13 of 40) from deep.

[RELATED: Steph jumped for Paschall's big quarter]

Defense continues to be a work in progress

The Warriors entered the season knowing they would face defensive challenges the likes of which they have not experienced for the better part of the decade. There was little sign of improvement.

There is not much rim protection, and the Blazers took advantage, scoring 62 points in the paint. Hassan Whiteside used his 7-foot-1 frame to score 22 points on 10-of-14 shooting, nearly all of it within 10 feet of the basket.

Faced with trying to contain Portland guards Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, both elite scorers, the Warriors weren’t much better on the perimeter. Guards Ky Bowman, Jordan Poole and Damion Lee often seemed unaware that Dame is equally adept at driving to the cup or shooting from beyond 30 feet.

Lillard finished with 39 points on 15-of-26 shooting, including 5 of 13 from deep.

There were positive signs in the fourth quarter, when the Warriors sensed victory, but the work in progress continues.

Why Draymond Green believes Eric Paschall doesn't know NBA game yet

Why Draymond Green believes Eric Paschall doesn't know NBA game yet

Besides all of the injuries, Eric Paschall has been the story of the Warriors' season so far.

The rookie is averaging 16.7 points and 4.8 rebounds per game, while shooting 52 percent overall.

The No. 41 overall pick racked up 30 points and seven rebounds Sunday night in New Orleans, on a very efficient 10-for-17 from the field.

Not bad for a guy who doesn't have a clue what he's doing when he takes the floor (sarcasm font).

"Sometimes he can get a little lost out there, not knowing where to go," Draymond Green told reporters after Golden State's 108-100 loss. "Just trying to help him find his spacing.

"Right now, he’s just scoring off raw talent. He really don’t know how to play the NBA game. As he figures out more and more the NBA game, how to get fouled, he’ll get better and better.”

Paschall certainly got fouled against the Pelicans, as he shot a career-high 10 free throws (he made eight to put him at just over 84 percent on the year).

The three-time All-Star clearly is trying to motivate the 23-year-old and wants him to stay hungry.

Draymond assisted Paschall on three buckets Sunday, and you better believe that he is going to do everything he can to help the rookie continue to grow:

Furthermore, you got to love this aggression:

Paschall probably doesn't have much of a chance to win Rookie of the Year, but at this rate he absolutely will make one of the two All-Rookie teams (quite possibly First Team).

[RELATEDHow Draymond is leading Dubs through ‘frustrating’ season]

The opportunities will keep coming.

“Where we are right now, without D’Lo (D'Angelo Russell), we have to continue to find ways to get Eric the ball in different situations,” coach Steve Kerr said. “Because he’s our best scorer.”

We all saw that coming before the season started, right?

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Warriors rookie Jordan Poole’s struggles have reached crisis point

Warriors rookie Jordan Poole’s struggles have reached crisis point

What happened to Jordan Poole on Sunday in New Orleans was some of the cruelest fate basketball gods could have laid on a 20-year-old drafted in the first round mostly because of their ability to shoot.

The rookie missed every shot he took. All seven attempts from the field and, in a moment of peak torture, his only free throw.

The first 14 games of Poole’s NBA journey ended with one in which he failed to score a single point in 23 minutes of activity.

Had he made any three or four of those shots, the Warriors likely would have experienced their third victory of the season. Instead, they ended up 108-100 losers to the Pelicans, who for a variety of reasons were about as vulnerable as any team can be.

That loss, like the other 11, can’t be blamed on a single player. The Warriors’ defense was brutalized, with New Orleans scoring exactly half of its total on 3-point shots, many of which came with several feet of open space. The Warriors’ offense was uneven and rhythmless, sometimes too slow and other times too hurried but generally too inefficient.

It’s the offense, though, that Poole was drafted to enhance. As a freshman at the University of Michigan, he earned the nickname “The Microwave,” for his ability heat up quickly and get three or four buckets in a couple minutes. Though some coaches and scouts around the league thought the Warriors may have reached in taking Poole in the first round, No. 28 overall, it was virtually unanimous that he’ll be able to score in the NBA.

Which has a question in that dark cloud over the collective head of the Warriors and their fans: “When?” When will Jordan Poole show everyone that he can blow up a scoreboard?

Poole’s field-goal percentage sits at 27.3 percent, dropping to 26.3 when firing from deep. Worse, it appears to be affecting his confidence.

He is one of three Warriors, along with free-agent signee Glenn Robinson III and undrafted rookie Ky Bowman, to play in all 14 games. Only once has Poole shot better than 50 percent from the field, and only one other time did he do better than 40 percent. Before the 0-of-7 in New Orleans, he was 1-of-8 in a loss to the Celtics and 4-of-15 in a loss to the Lakers.

The Warriors are being patient because their roster is so deeply compromised that they don’t have a choice. Though they have seven players capable of filling minutes at shooting guard, Poole is the only one pure shooter that currently has full use of his hands, arms and legs.

“There is no somebody else right now,” coach Steve Kerr said the other day. “That’s the issue. We’re throwing guys into the fire.”

Poole has started nine games and come off the bench in the other five. As a reserve, he is 6-of-45 (13.3 percent) from the field and 4-of-25 (16 percent) from deep. As a starter, he is 32-of-101 (31.7 percent) and 16-of-54 (29.6).

Which brings us back to the free throw Poole missed with 4:12 left in the first quarter on Sunday. The Pelicans were whistled for a technical foul, and he was selected to shoot the free throw. It was a wise choice insofar as he was 25-of-26 from the line. That was his safe place, the one area of his shooting that he had not deserted him.

It deserted him.

Though It is much too soon to conclude Poole won’t be an effective scorer in the league, it is not unreasonable to wonder if his confidence has dropped from where it was even a few weeks ago. He is more tentative with the ball, sometimes looking to pass when he has enough space to let it fly.

That’s what the Warriors need from him. With Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, D’Angelo Russell and Damion Lee sidelined – and none expected back before December – Poole is their best available pure shooter. Others can score, and second-round pick Eric Paschall is doing so at surprisingly productive rate. But scoring is supposed to be Poole’s specialty.

“He’s going to make shots,” Kerr said the other day. “He’s a great shooter. He’s got to just get comfortable in the league. He’s doing better. Jordan is getting better, working hard at both ends and putting all the work in. He’s a great kid and we’re lucky to have him.”

Poole’s shot is not only missing but doing so in true brick fashion, off to either side. He is perceptive enough to know how badly the Warriors need points, and he likely is pressing. The one thing he’s always had on the court is not there.

[RELATED: Poole not worried about shooting slump]

When Poole goes scoreless on seven shots and misses his free throw, it’s not just a bad game. It’s the nadir of a pattern that is defining the start to his career. His struggle has reached, in the realm of competition, the point of crisis.

No matter how he does over the rest of this season, or the rest of his career, Poole will never forget the strife of his first month and the emptiness that followed his worst game. It will give him something he’ll be eager to bury once and for all.