Warriors

Why Clippers' win vs. Lakers should give Warriors NBA Finals déjà vu

Why Clippers' win vs. Lakers should give Warriors NBA Finals déjà vu

The Clippers' acquisitions of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George gave LA's other franchise what arguably is the NBA's most formidable duo.

It turns out the Clippers are quite alright with just one of them in the lineup.

Without George, who is sidelined for about a month after undergoing offseason shoulder surgery, the Clippers beat the crosstown rival Lakers 112-102 on the first night of the season Wednesday. The Clippers' win followed a playbook the Warriors know all too well after their NBA Finals loss in June, and it's one they'll surely see again Thursday night at Chase Center in Golden State's season opener.

Leonard led the Clippers with 30 points Tuesday night, and he was the only Clips starter to score in double figures. The reigning NBA Finals MVP was aided by four double-digit scorers off the Clippers' bench, though, as Lou Williams (21 points), Maurice Harkless (17), JaMychal Green (12) and Maurice Harkless (10) all shot at least 50 percent from the field.

Sound familiar? It should, as the Clippers looked a lot like the Toronto Raptors did in a six-game NBA Finals win over the Warriors.

Leonard led the way in June, but he got a lot of help from his former teammates. Five other Raptors scored at least 10 points per game in The Finals, including bench players Fred VanVleet (14.0 points per game) and Serge Ibaka (11.3). Toronto's depth out-shined Golden State's, as only the Warriors' original big three of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green scored in double figures during The Finals.

[RELATED: Kerr clarifies his comments on Klay's ACL recovery timeline]

The Warriors were without Kevin Durant for all but 12 minutes of The Finals, and lacked Thompson down the stretch in Game 6. Golden State will miss both of them Thursday, given Durant's offseason departure for the Brooklyn Nets and Thompson's continued recovery from a torn ACL. D'Angelo Russell was brought in to fill the void, but the Warriors' season opener could look a lot like the end of their last one four months ago. 

Down a star, the Warriors will have to stop Leonard and a very deep supporting cast. He will wear red, white and blue in San Francisco rather than red and black in Oakland, but in the absence of George, Leonard's early Clippers tenure will give the Warriors plenty of déjà vu. 

Why Steve Kerr confident Warriors rookie Jordan Poole will get better

Why Steve Kerr confident Warriors rookie Jordan Poole will get better

Jordan Poole is in a shooting slump.

Over the first five games of the season, the Warriors rookie shot 38 percent (11-for-29) from beyond the arc.

But over his last nine appearances, Poole is at a dismal 18 percent (9-for-50) from deep, and just below 24 percent overall.

"Jordan is a young guy, he should be a junior in college and he should be coming into a situation where he's getting shots of Steph Curry or Klay Thompson; or playing behind those guys, learning from them every day in practice," coach Steve Kerr told reporters after practice Tuesday. "Maybe making an occasional visit to Santa Cruz to get a lot of playing time.

"That's how ideally you want to raise a young guy, but we don't have that luxury. So we're throwing him right into the fire. He's working his tail off. He's doing a great job.

"This league is unforgiving for a young player. He's just gotta keep doing what he's doing. Keep watching film and keep learning from his experience. He's gonna get better.

"We have great faith in that because of his ability and his character. He'll get there but it's a difficult time for him for sure."

(Quick tangent -- Santa Cruz could have used Poole on Sunday as the Sea Dubs lost to the Salt Lake City Stars, 102-77).

The 20-year-old went 1-for-8 overall (0-for-5 on 3s) last Friday against the Celtics.

He was 0-for-7 from the field (0-for-3 on 3s) Sunday night in New Orleans, and when it rains it pours:

What's strange is that the Michigan product is getting good looks:

But it hasn't been all bad for Poole.

"The one thing I'm really pleased with -- I think his defense has been much better," Kerr said. "He's starting to understand the NBA game and the schemes and the coverages. The things you have to do as a guard -- he's picking up on all those things.

"His defense is way better now than it was a month ago. That's a great sign and he's gotta stay with it."

Kerr is correct, and here are two examples from the Warriors' loss in Oklahoma City on Nov. 9 to prove it:

Additionally, Poole is averaging 2.4 assists over the last nine games.

[RELATEDWhy Draymond says Paschall doesn't even know NBA game yet]

But understandably so, the focus is on his shooting struggles.

"He's pressing. I know exactly how he feels," Kerr added. "I was in a similar circumstance as a younger player -- not getting this amount of playing time -- but my first year in the league feeling like, 'Man, this is totally different from college.'

"This is all brand new for Jordan and we're trying to help him through it."

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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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