San Francisco – Warriors head coach Steve Kerr announced during his pregame press conference that newly acquired Chris Paul would come off the bench. He also mentioned that rookie Tracye Jackson-Davis would start in place of Kevon Looney because Looney was ill this evening. Kerr said his starters would only get about 30 minutes each until Stephen Curry took over.
Curry dropped 30 points and the game winning shot to lift San Francisco over the Sacramento Kings 116-115 in a thriller ending. The Kings who dominate most of the game were up 115-113 with 6.1 seconds left on the clock. We all knew where the ball was going. Curry patiently crossed-over off his defender De’Aaron Fox and dropped the game winning three-point shot.
“As we know Steph’s (Stephen Curry) a great player, we threw multiple defenders at him tonight and you got to give credit, he shot 8-for-12 from the 3-point line, I don’t know how many he made in the fourth and he made a couple really, really, really tough ones,” Kings head coach Mike Brown said. “We gave up 40 points (in the fourth quarter) and a lot of those points were to Steph especially but to Steph behind the 3-point line. Steph made some big threes down the stretch and you give him credit for doing that.”
Curry scored 16 points in the fourth quarter went10-of-18 shooting and 8 of 12 from the three-point line. He made a regular preseason game feel like postseason action. Paul who normally is on the other side got to see him take a simple game and make it spectacular. Paul finished with 13 points, 9 assists and grabbed 6 rebounds. He was scoreless in the first period but made an impact with the second unit in training close behind Sacramento.
“It’s just fun to see Chris get us organized, he makes Steph’s off-ball stuff better because whatever Steph – wherever he goes Chris will get him the ball, so they had a couple plays where Steph was getting top-locked and he had to make a back-cut, I think one of the threes on the left wing when he pump faked Chris got him the ball perfect, in perfect rhythm. Chris, he’s been doing this forever, he thrives down the stretch, hit some big shots for us (he had) nine assists, that’s who he is, Kerr said.”
Jackson-Davis got some amazing minutes to join the starters tonight, In 25 minutes, the rookie had 13points, grabbed 10 rebounds with 5 personal fouls. He was all over the paint, seeming a bit clumsy yet his presence was felt. With time Jackson-Davis will develop into a power forward over time. One thing he did was play with confidence and that is a requirement to be on the floor with guys like Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.
“It’s so fun to see Trayce (Jackson-Davis) out there as a rookie going against an All-Star center in (Domantas) Sabonis,”said Kerr. “What a great experience for him and he was terrific you know. The rebounding, the scoring, the rolling to the rim giving us a lob threat and then defensively he battled. You know they’re giving him the rookie treatment, the refs are, he’s picking up a lot of fouls that look a little questionable.”
Kerr is still tinkering with the lineup and will give less minutes in the final preseason game this Friday against the San Antonio Spurs. There’s quite a few guys who haven’t gotten much action and looking to make the 12-man roster. But the offseason workouts with Curry and Paul still need to be analyzed before the season starts. Kerr is still not sure if Paul will be part of the starting five especially while Draymond Green recovers from his injury.
“I mean we had targeted this game as the one where we get our main guys up in the 30-minute range and Friday we won’t play them as much, but this was a game we wanted to ramp it up and get their conditioning level up and the guys obviously did a great job down the stretch. It’s fun having Chris Paul to get us organized,” Kerr explained.
“It’s always fun to watch Steph (Stephen Curry) do what he does. Great finish, we’ve got to do things a lot better, we sent them to the foul line 22 times in the second half. Great job in the first half, everything we’ve been working on — defending without fouling and then we got away from that in the second (half), so it was not the ideal game but fun to win and great finish.”
ON HOW HE IS FEELING ABOUT HIS SECOND UNIT SO FAR:
“We haven’t really settled on any second unit yet. We’ll look at some of that tonight. But I’m thrilled with the depth of this team, I think we have a very deep team. You’ve seen in the three preseason games our bench has outplayed our opponent’s bench each time and that’s exciting. We’ve got two rookies who are really wise beyond their years, then we’ve got some young players who are really starting to figure things out, and we’ve got a lot of depth through the veteran editions. So I’m excited about the overall quality of the roster.”
ON JONANTHAN KUMINGA AND MOSES MOODY’S IMPORTANCE THIS SEASON:
“Yeah no I agree. We’ve got a lot of guys who can play. I think this year’s team will be able to deal with adversity, and injury, and absences well, just because of the quality of the depth.”
ON USING DIFFERENT COMBINATIONS:
‘Yeah well tonight — we’ll start a little differently tonight. First Loon (Kevon Looney) is not feeling well so Loon will not play tonight, he went home before shootaround and so we’ll start Trayce (Jackson-Davis). Then we’ll start Steph (Curry), Klay (Thompson), Wiggs (Andrew Wiggins), and JK (Jonathan Kuminga) at the four, so JK and Trayce at the five, and Chris (Paul) off the bench tonight, and look at some combinations at the bench. Probably do something different on Friday, so we just want to make sure in the preseason we see a lot of different combinations and options.”
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