Jordan Poole leads the Warriors to the loss of the Cavaliers

Jordan Poole leads the Warriors to the loss of the Cavaliers

CLEVELAND – Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr was angry with Jordan Poole after Poole was called for a delay in the game, the team’s second, with seven seconds left in the third quarter of their eventual 120-114 win over Cleveland. Cavaliers on Friday night.

“Jordan!” Kerr yelled. “Come on, lock…lock the f—en, we’re trying to win this game.”

Just 24 hours after a heartbreaking loss in Boston, the Warriors needed this win. Cleveland was closing in, and Golden State, after leading by as many as 20 points, needed to do what it failed to do against the Celtics: close the door.

“It was a learning experience yesterday,” Poole said. “It was something we were very aware of. It was a very similar situation, being up with six minutes to go and then it turned into a close game. We knew we needed to block, make some stops and have a good race.” . We needed to shut it down and we did. Now we have to build on that.”

The Warriors were without four of their five starters, with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins sidelined with various injuries.

Yes, the Cavs were without Donovan Mitchell, out with a left groin strain, but Cleveland still has the second-best defensive rating in the league (109.7). Against a Warriors team that has had streaks on both ends of the ball, especially without Curry, it was a daunting task.

But the Warriors put on one of their most impressive performances of the season.

Poole, who has replaced Kevon Looney in the starting lineup for now, opened the game with three straight 3-pointers. He finished the game with 32 points on 10-of-23 shooting, including 5-of-12 three.

He surpassed 500 career 3-pointers, becoming the third-quickest player to reach that benchmark in Warriors history, trailing only Curry and Thompson. At 23, he is the youngest player to reach 500 three-pointers. Poole is the third player in franchise history to record 20 career 30-point games at age 23 or younger, joining Rick Barry and Wilt Chamberlain.

“It continues to grow and improve,” Kerr said. “The last two games he was fantastic…To play that way tonight without Steph, Klay, Wiggs and Dray, to give us that scoring and that strength, he made so many plays there. He set the tone…He’s getting better every again. There’s still a lot to do, which is exciting.”

As a team, the Warriors hit 23 3-pointers against the Cavs, the most they’ve had in a game without Curry.

“You play 82 games, you’re only going to have a few of these (3-point shooting nights). We knew we were going to have one to win,” Kerr said.

“Everyone on our team is confident,” Poole said. “And I thank Coach Kerr for allowing us to play with that confidence. We know what we’re capable of. We were spacing out the court and getting good looks. We laser-focused.”

The biggest three-pointer of the night came from two-way guard Ty Jerome. With 1:39 left in the quarter and the Warriors leading by just four, Jerome passed the ball to Looney, who immediately looked at Jerome and handed the ball back to him. Jerome took a dribble, shuffled to the right of him and lobbed the shot over Darius Garland with four seconds left on the shot clock.

In Jerome’s eyes, the most striking statistic of the night was the even distribution of the Warriors’ scoring. Without its core, Golden State had six players finish with double-digit scores.

Jerome scored 22, while Donte DiVincenzo added 17, JaMychal Green had 13, Anthony Lamb scored 12 and Jonathan Kuminga had 10.

This was Green’s first game since December 20 after recovering from Covid and a subsequent leg infection. It was also Kuminga’s first game back from a sprained right foot that has sidelined him since Jan. 2.

The Warriors’ victory in Cleveland was the end of their five-game road trip that saw them 3-2. Considering Golden State is 6-18 on the road this season, they see this trip to the East Coast as a sign of growth.

Now, coming home with a much healthier roster than when they left, they hope that’s when they can start building for a good run heading into the All-Star break and a good second half of the season overall.

“We have to win road games and we did on this trip,” Poole said. “Now we’re going home … and trying to build on the momentum we had tonight.”

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