SAN FRANCISCO – Another outstanding night for the Warriors and this time it was without three of their main starters. Jordan Poole recorded a career-high 38 points, rolled his ankle and returned without missing a beat. Golden State also recorded their fifth straight win tonight.
The Warriors 125-122 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans was a statement game. The second unit can play some ball. Golden State’s 41 first quarter points are a season high for the opening frame, the team’s sixth 40-point quarter of the season.
“Well he was aggressive from the start and had a big first quarter,” said Warriors head coach Steve Kerr. “The game came really easily to us in that first quarter, the ball was moving we had a ton of assists.
It’s great to have Jordan out there because he can make plays against good defense and get to the rim like he did on that last play. But he’s a shot creator for us. He’s doing a great job and it’s really fun to see how far Jordan has come in his two years in the league.”
Poole was clicking on all cylinders from the start, he went 12-for-22 the field (4-for-9 from three). After scoring 24 points in the first half, Poole came down for a rebound and injured his left ankle. But returned in the third quarter for a career best in scoring.
An unbelievable night of shooting and good ball movement from the entire team. Without Stephen Curry, Andrew Wiggins and Draymond Green, Golden State didn’t look any different tonight. Mychal Mulder finished with 28 points and Kent Bazemore added 14 points.
The Pelicans were without Lonzo Ball (thumb), Zion Williamson (finger), Brandon Ingram (ankle) and Steven Adams (toe). But their late 12-0 run in the fourth quarter cut a lead as big as 18 points down to one. Nickeil Alexander-Walker hit a 3 to make it a 120-119 game.
“I thought New Orleans came back stronger in that second half, they picked up their defense,” Kerr said.
Eric Paschall’s tip in shot put the Warriors up 121-120. Walker hit a shot to make it a 122-121 game with 25.9 seconds left on the clock. Poole’s layup put Golden State ahead by one. A missed 3 by Walker was New Orleans last hope, Poole went to the line for the final two points to seal the Warriors win.
Mulder was phenomenal behind the arc, he recorded a career-high 28 points and a career-high tying seven threes (7-of-13). Juan Toscano-Anderson recorded a career-high 9 assists. Just shy of a triple-double, Toscano-Anderson had 9 points and 9 rebounds. Nico Mannion finished with 11 points and 7 assists.
“I thought we played really well tonight on both ends of the floor,” said Mulder. “We made a few mistakes on defense that we had to clean up. But overall I think we played together, communicated and executed on both ends of the floor. That led to the success we had tonight.
We just have to carry that over to the next game and with all of our guys back we should be in a good position.”
Paschall returned to action after missing 21 games due to a strained left hip flexor. He scored 12 points and grabbed 4 rebounds. Jordan Bell received a nice ovation when he entered the game, Bell just signed a two-way contract with the Warriors and joins the team for his second stint. In two years he played with three different NBA teams.
“I was a little rusty,” Paschall said. “I had to knock some rust off in the first few minutes, but it was fun. It was good to be back out there, it was good to actually play again and be able to move. I felt pretty good. Again, just proud to be back and happy to be back.”
“I think it’s good that we’re able to get a win,” Poole said. “Just continue the momentum that we have, I think that was our fifth win in a row and, we were able to pull out the win without Steph (Curry), Draymond (Green), and Wiggs (Andrew Wiggins). I felt like that’s just huge in general, so I got to find ways to continue to keep growing and get a big one on Sunday.”
Golden State’s 75 points scored in the first half matched its season-high for points in either half (75 on 4/14 at OKC). The Warriors scored a season-high 41 first-quarter points (previous: 39 on 5/3 at NOP), marking their sixth 40-point quarter this season.
Now the focus turns to Sunday when the Warriors hosts the Memphis Grizzlies in their regular-season finale. Tipoff will be at 12:30pm.
Photo by Warriors/Twitter