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.

NBA rumors: Warriors' Steph Curry targeting March 1 return to lineup

NBA rumors: Warriors' Steph Curry targeting March 1 return to lineup

Steph Curry reportedly is targeting a March 1 return. 

The two-time MVP has not played since breaking his left hand on Oct. 30, and The Athletic's Marcus Thompson has "been told" that Curry hopes to play on March 1 at Chase Center against the Washington Wizards, though the date is not "set in stone."

Curry told Warriors broadcasters Bob Fitzgerald and Kelenna Azubuike during Golden State's win over the Orlando Magic on Saturday that he has had "no setbacks" rehabbing his broken hand. 

"Rehab is going great, every day is tough,” Curry said Saturday. “When you're hurt, and we've all been there in some way shape or form, its a grind, every day kind of being monotonous with the little strength workouts you have to do, and you understanding that it takes time and patience to get back to 100 percent.”

[RELATED: Poole shows even more progress in Dubs' win over Magic]

Curry is traveling to road games with the Warriors, and the 30-year-old has impressed his teammates and coaches during individual shooting drills. Warriors coach Steve Kerr told the "Posted Up" podcast earlier this month that there was an "excellent chance" Curry would return in March. He'll be re-evaluated Feb. 1, and NBC Sports Bay Area's Kerith Burke wrote last week that a minutes restriction is possible as Curry "gets his wind back."

Before Curry is re-evaluated, though, he reportedly already has a timeline in mind. 

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."