Warriors

Warriors takeaways: What we learned from thrilling OT loss to Raptors

Warriors takeaways: What we learned from thrilling OT loss to Raptors

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The Warriors’ modest three-game win streak came to an end Thursday night, when their late comeback they took a 131-128 loss at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto.

The defending champs overcame an 18-point deficit to get the game into overtime but faded during those final five minutes, committing five turnovers and being outscored 12-9.

Toronto (19-4) snapped an eight-game losing streak to the Warriors (15-8).

Here are three takeaways from one of the most spectacular games of the season:

KD, still cooking

Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson carried the offense during the three-game winning streak, with Durant averaging 41.7 points and Thompson 27.0.

They carried the offense again on this night – with Durant doing most of the heavy lifting.

Durant poured in a season-high 51 points – including 18 during a ferocious third-quarter push by the Warriors – on 18-of-31 shooting, including 4-7 from deep and 11-of-12 from the line. He added 11 rebounds and six assists.

This was Durant’s sixth career 50-point game and he joins Wilt Chamberlain, Rick Barry and Curry as the only Warriors to post three consecutive games with at least 40 points.

Thompson finished with 23 points on 9-of-20 shooting from the field, including 3-of-9 from beyond the arc, but missed three 3-pointers in the fourth quarter despite getting decent to good looks on all three.

This team can’t wait for Stephen Curry until comes back. That’s scheduled for Saturday.

They were late early

The Warriors opened as if they were wearing ankle weights. They were a step slow with defensive rotations and a beat behind on many of their passes.

That was enough to not only help the Raptors find their offensive rhythm but also stay in it. While the Warriors were wiping the sleep from their eyes, Toronto built first-quarter leads of 20-6 and 32-14.

The Warriors in the first quarter committed six turnovers, off which Toronto scored 12 points. The Raptors shot 72.7 percent from the field in the quarter, including 60 percent from beyond the arc.

The Warriors spent the rest of the game trying to climb out of a well and managed to do so ever so briefly. They outscored Toronto over the final three quarters and OT but fell short at the end.

This game begs for a postseason rematch

This matchup of two of the NBA’s elite teams lived up to the billing and perhaps beyond it given that the Warriors were without Draymond Green and Curry.

The game within the game, featuring Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard and Durant, was one for the ages. Leonard finished with 37 points, adding eight rebounds and three assists.

With the exception of 14 seconds of the first minute, the Warriors spent the entire game trailing.

The Raptors basically owned the game and still had to sweat it out and hold on.

ESPN's Jay Williams thinks revamped Warriors will miss NBA playoffs

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USATSI

ESPN's Jay Williams thinks revamped Warriors will miss NBA playoffs

Chris Webber is not alone.

Much like his "NBA on TNT" peer, ESPN's Jay Williams predicted earlier this week that the Warriors would miss the playoffs. In a segment on the league's most intriguing duos that aired Wednesday on "NBA Countdown," Williams said that D'Angelo Russell and Stephen Curry fit the bill ... because Golden State won't be playing in the postseason?

"The Golden State Warriors -- mark down the day -- they are not going to make the playoffs," Williams said Wednesday. "The Golden State Warriors are not going to make the playoffs, and this is why I say D-Lo and Stephen Curry are the most intriguing duo.

"Now, D-Lo played extremely well last year. He got the Brooklyn Nets to the playoffs. He made the All-Star Game. He wasn't the guy at first, Caris LaVert was the guy. Then D-Lo started to find his swagger. I wonder how D-Lo will do in a system that he cannot dominate the ball."

Curry and Russell's chemistry is still a work in progress. Russell posted the highest usage rate of his career (31.9 percent) last season, and only once in the Steve Kerr era has one of Curry's teammates had a usage rate greater than 30 percent (Kevin Durant in 2017-18).

Williams pointed to Klay Thompson's rehab from a torn ACL as well as Curry and Russell's defensive deficiencies as cause for concern, incorrectly claiming that the team lost defensive guru Ron Adams. Adams remains with the team, but Jarron Collins now runs the Warriors' defense. Williams doesn't think Russell is a fit for Golden State's system, either.

The Warriors will have to discover a new identity on both ends of the floor this season, given what they lost this summer. The Western Conference pecking order has also re-organized, now that Kawhi Leonard and Anthony Davis are in Los Angeles. Golden State has far more concerns heading into 2019-20 than it has at any point under Kerr.

[RELATED: Kerr shakes head, refuses to respond to Trump's latest jab]

But with all of that said, are there really eight teams in the West better than the Warriors? The Los Angeles Lakers likely will bump out a playoff team from a year ago, but no other team in the conference is guaranteed to do the same. Sure, the Kings and Dallas Mavericks could make the leap, and the New Orleans Pelicans are loaded with young talent after trading Davs to the Lakers and drafting Zion Williamson straight out of a video game Duke. But each of those teams have significant question marks beyond their lack of experience.

The Warriors likely will not reach the heights of title contention this season, but that doesn't mean they're destined for the depths of the draft lottery, either.

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Warriors rookie Jordan Poole not a fan of social media, prefers movies

Warriors rookie Jordan Poole not a fan of social media, prefers movies

SAN FRANCISCO – Tweet at Jordan Poole, praise or criticism, and then wait for his reply.

Keep waiting.

Wait some more. Days. Weeks.

It will eventually become apparent there will be no reply. Poole is ignoring you – and everybody else. Don’t take it personally, for the Warriors’ first-round pick in the June draft is not like the others. Born in 1999, he’s the un-Millennial.

He is not on Twitter.

“Social media is too much,” Poole said Saturday after practice. “All of it. Instagram. Snapchat. Twitter. What else? Twitch. What else? YouTube.

“I used to have it in high school. I stopped Snapchat in high school. I stopped Twitter going into college. I have Instagram now, occasionally just to watch videos. Cat videos and stuff.”

If this seems, um, insular, it’s by design. Poole would rather sleep, or watch movies on Netflix or Hulu, than put his thumbs to work on social media.

If this seems, um, idiosyncratic, it’s because it is. When most of his veteran teammates are watching news or current events on personal flat-screen TVs in each cubicle, Poole’ s eyes are on “SpongeBob SquarePants.”

“I’m 20,” he explained. “They’ve got families and stuff. And kids. I don’t have any of that stuff. I just kind of be me. I’m supposed to be a junior in college.”

Instead, the 6-foot-5 guard, a Milwaukee native who spent two years at the University of Michigan, is part of the influx of youngsters added to a roster that no longer has such accomplished veterans as Kevin Durant, Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston.

Poole is playing for a high-profile NBA team and living the California dream.

“One hundred percent,” he said. “Being here, in San Francisco, it’s the most ‘me’ vibe. You can always be yourself. Be unique. It’s really chill. Laid back. If there is any place I was supposed, it would be California.”

In that regard, Poole is a bit like one of his new teammates. Though Klay Thompson spent most of childhood in suburban Portland, Ore., is there any doubt he was made for California?

In another regard, Poole is almost exactly like Thompson. He also brings a gunslinger mentality to the basketball court and, based on early impressions, also has the skill to back it up.

“Jordan right now is a shooter. And a cutter; I love his cutting ability,” coach Steve Kerr said. “We’ll see if he can pass, as he develops as a player.”

“But I don’t think of him as Shaun or Andre. I think of him as a very young version of Klay. Can we help develop him defensively and maintain that confidence he has on offense?”

With only two preseason games on his NBA resume, Poole is a virtual lock to be in the team’s rotation. As much as he recognizes the success and respects the ability of team leaders Stephen Curry and Draymond Green, Poole also is firm in his belief he is ready to make an impact on a playoff team.

Particularly on offense.

“If I’m open, I’ll shoot it. If I’m hot, I’ll shoot it,” he said. “Just make the right play. That’s something that comes pretty easy if you have good IQ. Everybody on this team has a good IQ.

“I’m beyond blessed,” he added. “Anybody who comes here should be beyond blessed. Being able just to learn from everybody in this organization. Everybody wants to get better. Everybody wants to learn. Everybody has a lot to teach because they’ve been so successful. I feel like my game fits this team more and this organization perfectly.”

Teammates and coaches have been suitably impressed with Poole’s work ethic that they’re already anticipating his contributions.

“He’s really advanced,” Green said Thursday night, after Poole scored 19 points in 21 minutes in a win over Minnesota. “He’s very good with the basketball and he can shoot it, which is obviously at a premium in this league today. But he can really create shots for himself and can really stretch and space the floor out.”

Poole credits his impetuous youth for his ability to find buckets. He generally played against bigger, older kids, forcing him to strive for his best. To stay on the court, he had to be tough – even though he was thin – and find creative ways to flourish.

[RELATED: Why Warriors should trade Evans]

In preparation for the rigors of the NBA, Poole has added about 20 pounds over the past four months, going from 185 to 205. He admits to having “a chip on my shoulder,” and that it might have increased in size on draft night, when some observers questioned whether he deserved to go in the first round.

“I’ve been getting that since I was young, bruh,” Poole said. “It’s just keep my head down and grind.”

Keeping his down is one thing Poole shares with his age group. Except he’s not staring into his phone.