SAN FRANCISCO — Here are five notes from the Golden State Warriors’ 120-112 win over the Philadelphia 76ers Friday night at the Chase Center.
The Sixers led by 11 points after Paul Reed’s alley with 11 minutes, 32 seconds left in the fourth quarter. The lead was still 9 as the clock ticked less than 10 minutes. Steve Curry was on the bench. The situation felt bad. The warriors were swinging. They needed a spark from the reserve.
This role, prior to this season, was assigned to Paul. He entered as one of the leading candidates for the sixth NBA Finals. But circumstances and conflicts prevented him from that world. Injuries pushed Paul into the starting lineup in 42 of 73 matches.
In the other 33, when Paul came off the bench, he was noticeably quieter and less efficient, averaging nine fewer points per game on 41.5% shooting. Going into Friday, he hadn’t scored 30 or more off the bench since Dec. 2.
Paul changed the game early in the fourth quarter in a flash. Edge attacked, getting two free throws with 9:22 left. He rolled a 3 with 8:56 left. It whistled in front of Reed with a lightning bolt and a dunk with 8:27 left. It was a personal 7-0 career. trimmed the lead from nine to two—all with Curry benched—and led to a Sixers timeout.
Paul was not done in the fourth quarter. Curry came back, but the Warriors rode hot hand. He finished with 19 points in the fourth game, 24 in the second half, and 33 points in the game – his first 30-point game off the bench since early December. He hit the dagger, a corner 3 to put the Warriors up five with 1:18 left. this The game-changing lunge type was common for Paul in March, April and May. Which is also what earned him that four-year extension worth $123 million.
“Tonight, I felt something about that last year in that playoff run where Jordan was attacking and hitting shots, but also getting to the goal line,” said head coach Steve Kerr. “Just giving us a whole different dimension offensively. That’s when he’s at his best. And I thought he really competed down the field defensively.”
And his 3-point bowl percentage is down close to 33 percent for the season. He entered the NBA third night in total turnovers. His defensive efforts have regularly diminished. He was drawn into tough formation combinations – especially early in the season, which force-fed him as captain of a second young unit – and that struggle often saw him being dropped into the final formations, in favor of Kevon Looney, Donte DiVincenzo or Jonathan Kuminga.
But Paul played all 12 minutes in the final quarter against the Sixers and made sure to take note when asked about his big night.
Chance, Paul said. “Just being able to get a stretch like that, pick up my rhythm, be aggressive, and look for my shot, instead of going in and trying to figure out the rhythm of the game. Who has it, who can I find it, what kind of shots do we need.
“I was there the whole 12 minutes and Steve was just telling me to be aggressive, keep it up, and whenever I have time to pick up my rhythm, line up my shots, it makes playmaking a little easier too. Because the defense also worries about scoring me as well as making the right plays.”
Paul has had 15 assists and only 1 turnover in his last 10 quarters. He resists the idea that anything has changed. But recent results are different.
“Just making better decisions and playing more thought,” Kerr said. “Understanding that the ball is everything to us. We’re a team with a high turnover rate as is. We’ve always been with our starting group. We get a little messy with Draymond (Green) and Steph and Klay (Thompson) sometimes.
“So it’s important for the players to come off the bench to make sure they take care of it. We had five or six turnovers really quickly in the game and then it was only 11 in total. So we’ve done a great job looking after the ball. Jordan has a lot to do.” However.”
What does winning mean?
The Warriors moved to a 39-36 lead, creating extra breathing room for that sixth point. They are now 1.5 games down on the Timberwolves and take on Minnesota on Sunday in San Francisco with a chance to clinch a head-to-head tie.
The most dangerous team under them is the Lakers. They beat the Thunder on Friday night and are now 37-37, also 1.5 games behind the Warriors. But they hold the tiebreaker head-on, leaving them with the clearest jump path for the Warriors.
But Golden State’s remaining schedule is favorable. The Warriors have seven games left and no back-to-back. The next three are at home: Timberwolves, Pelicans, and Spurs. Then they have a quick trip to Denver for the toughest game left. Then she went home for the Thunder and then on the road for the Kings and Blazers.
If the Warriors can continue to win, the Clippers and Suns can be reached over them. Phoenix lost to the Kings on Friday. The Suns are 38-35 but have a tiebreaker. The Clippers are 39-35, half a game over the Warriors with a better divisional record, giving them a potential tiebreaker.
Is the sixth seed or higher the goal?
“Yes,” said Draymond Green. “Nobody wants to be in that play. This play is dangerous. We’d much rather avoid that.”
Thompson’s 3 with just over five minutes remaining to tie the game was among a handful of the night’s biggest catches. It also gave Thompson six made 3 for the game and 268 for the season.
Why is this noticeable? It moved Thompson to the NBA lead for 3s achieved on the season. His 268 bests Buddy Hield’s 267.
“Would you look at that?” Thompson said. “Two Bahamas lead the NBA in 3 seconds.”
Thompson is on pace to achieve a career-high 3-seconds in a season. He hit 276 home runs in the 2015-16 season when the Warriors went 73-9. He was 26 years old then, in his prime, and scored 80 games that regular season. Now 33 years old, he’s still not far from his 941-day layoff due to a torn ACL and Achilles tendon. However, he hit a league-high 268s with a 40.5-percent accuracy in the 63 games he played, which is pretty impressive.
This 3 gave Klay Thompson the NBA lead in 3s this season: 268. pic.twitter.com/V36TfKTH34
– Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) March 25, 2023
Joel Embiid scored 46 points against the Warriors tonight.
Draymond Green: “He said, ‘You know why I played that way tonight? You said Joker was the hardest person to guard in the league. I took this personally.” pic.twitter.com/Rd8a2exTyo
– Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) March 25, 2023
The Warriors have now come back from a double-digit 11 deficit. All 11 of these games have been at home.
(Photo by Jordan Poole: Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)
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