Five Warriors stats that stand out from a 5-0 homestand originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayare
SAN FRANCISCO — As the Warriors trotted into the locker room down by three points to the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday night at Chase Center, DJ D Sharp set up shop at center court and blasted 90s hip hop. The beat didn’t fit the vibe, but Lou Bega would like a word.
Five was the number of the following night the Warriors’ 108-99 win. A little bit of Houston, a little bit of Minnesota, a little bit of Portland, a little bit of Los Angeles and finally a little bit of New Orleans. None were enough for Golden State.
Without Steph Curry and Andrew Wiggins, plus Gary Payton II and Andre Iguodala, the Warriors completed their second five-game winning streak with a perfect 5-0 homestand. The win lifted them to 34-30 on the season, making them a season-best four games above .500 and in sole possession of the No. 5 seed in the Western Conference — one full game ahead of the Dallas Mavericks and only one behind the Phoenix Suns.
Stars shone and role players were key in the Warriors’ home sweep. Curry is expected to play Sunday against the Lakers in LA, and the vibes are the best they’ve had all season surrounding the defending champions. Between individual performances and team stats, here are five numbers that stood out from the Warriors’ last five wins.
That’s the number of points Klay Thompson averaged over the five-game stretch. He started out the winning streak with an electric 42 points and 12 3-pointers, and ended it with 27 points on an efficient 10 of 17 from the field. Thompson averaged 27.0 points per game in January, his best ever for a single month, and was an even better overall player in February while putting up 25.5 points per night.
It wasn’t just about Thompson scoring nearly 30 points per game during the homestand. It was about how he scored, too.
He shot 51.2 percent from the field on 19.2 attempts per game, 50.9 percent from deep on 11.0 3-point attempts per game and 94.4 percent from the free-throw line. Here were his full numbers: 49 of 96 overall, 28 of 55 on threes and 17 of 18 on free throws.
There’s an important caveat to his 42-point night and the 27 he scored against the Pelicans. Those two nights didn’t only start the homestand strong and end it even stronger, they were both the second night of a back-to-back. Both were also the first time Thompson played a back-to-back this season, and the first time since April of 2019.
“It’s incredibly gratifying,” Thompson said after scoring 42 points in the Warriors’ 116-101 win over the Houston Rockets on Feb. 24. “I always reflect on the years that I was not playing and think about the times that I was just on the sidelines watching. It was a weird time. Now, it’s easy to put everything in perspective and appreciate nights like this and just appreciate being able to move my body and play with great pace, great flow and not even hesitate or think about anything.
“I give our performance staff all the credit in the world because they pushed me through some really hard times.”
Through 52 games, Thompson is averaging 22.1 points on 43 percent shooting, 40.9 percent on 3-pointers and 89.3 percent on free throws. His 22.1 points per game average is tied for the second-highest of his career. He averaged 22.3 in 2016-17 when he was 26 years old, and 22.1 in 2015-15 at 25 years old.
That’s what Jonathan Kuminga’s plus/minus was on the homestand. Kuminga started the first two games, and then came off the bench for the last three. The final two were his best, and two of his best this entire season.
On Friday night, Kuminga was fantastic in 32 minutes off the bench. He scored 19 points on 9 of 13 from the field, to go with seven rebounds, four steals, one block and a game-high plus-13. The night before, he also scored 19 points, this time in 29 minutes on 7 of 12 from the field and 3 of 4 on threes, grabbing seven rebounds, two assists, two steals and one block. He was a plus-19, the second-best on the team, easily leading the bench.
The 20-year-old spent large chunks of time guarding Kawhi Leonard on Thursday night, and then Brandon Ingram the next night.
“This was one of his best games, and so was last night,” Steve Kerr said Friday night. “He’s making strides offensively. … The more he can attack and use his athleticism offensively, the better. And I think he’s doing that. Then defensively, he’s by far our best option on Ingram and I thought he had a great game defensively .
“It was really fun to watch him play tonight. It’s fun to see his development continue.”
Kuminga averaged 27.5 minutes, 14.8 points, 5.2 rebounds, 1.6 steals and 1.4 assists per game. Everything was at a high rate, with him shooting 59.6 percent overall, 55.6 percent as a 3-point shooter and 70 percent at the charity stripe.
That’s how many free throws Jordan Poole attempted in each of the last two games. Poole was a perfect 12 of 12 vs. the Pelicans, and only missed one against the Clippers.
“He can get to the rim and draw fouls and it allows us to get our defense set, get some easy points and it sets a good tone for us,” Kerr said Friday night. “We’re not a team that shoots a ton of free throws, so if Jordan can get there, it’s a big help.
“We’ve got to continue to harp on that with him and with JK, to try to get to the rim and play with that strength.”
Throughout the homestand, Poole continued to increase his free throw attempts. He took three in the first game, five in the next, seven in the third and then 12 in the fourth and fifth. In those five games, he went 36 of 39 from the field — good for a 92.3 percent clip.
Meanwhile, as he averaged 22.2 points per game, Poole shot 35.6 percent from the field and 25.6 percent on threes.
Poole became the first Warriors guard since Monta Ellis in December of 2010 to take at least 12 free throws in consecutive games. Getting to the line benefits Poole and the Warriors as a whole equally.
That’s how many points the Warriors outscored their opponents by in the second half of the last five games.
The Warriors were actually outscored by two points against the Rockets to open the homestand. They then outscored the Timberwolves by three points in the final two quarters, before outscoring the Trail Blazers and Clippers by 35 points in the second half of each game and by 12 in the second half against the Pelicans.
What stood out most was the third quarter. Especially the final three games. After having a 22-point advantage in the third quarter on the Blazers, the Warriors then outscored the Clippers 42-16 in the third on Thursday and scored seven more points than the Pelicans during the period. Over that three-game stretch, the Warriors outscored their opponents 109-54, a 55-point advantage.
“I think it’s just a lot of grit,” Kerr said of the Warriors’ past five games. “Every one of these wins it felt like it was marked by our team kind of getting over the hump. A lot of overcoming a lot of deficits, turning up the defense and grinding out games down the stretch.”
Going on the road for a three-game trip, the Warriors have to start games better. For the eighth straight time, they weren’t in the lead going into the second quarter. The Warriors haven’t led after the first quarter since Feb. 11. That streak needs to end, but the importance isn’t as worrisome with the way the Warriors have played recently coming out of halftime.
That’s the Warriors’ defensive rating in the last five games, the best in the NBA over that period of time. Offense from Thompson, Poole, Kuminga and others is great. Make no mistake, this turnaround has been all about defense.
The Warriors allowed 101, 104, 105, 91 and 99 points for five straight wins. They allowed an average of 100 points per game, bringing their season average down to 117.2 — 23rd in the NBA. Their defensive rating is now 114.1 for the season, 13th in the league.
Opponents shot a low 40.8 percent on the Warriors’ defense in the last five games, the best mark by a defense in basketball. The opposing offense also only made 30.9 percent of their 3-pointers, ranking fourth in the NBA. Kerr’s defense blitzed Damian Lillard and played box-and-1 on him, they sagged and dared Russell Westbrook to shoot and got physical Friday night with Ingram.
These are playoff-like adjustments, with the intensity turning up. All of this is a wash if the Warriors’ defense can’t follow them on the road.
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“I’m very confident,” Thompson said when asked Friday night if he has confidence in the Warriors’ defense on the road. “I just know that we’ve been trusting each other more and talking. Our communication’s been great, and we’ve got some great defenders. So, I’m very confident that we’ll have the same effort on the road.”
Kevon Looney added: “I am very confident. We know what to do. We have been playing better, building better habits. I feel like early in the season when we were winning at home, it was because we were making shots or different things like that, but the last few games, we have been playing our style of basketball and winning the right way.
“I think we can carry that on the road.”
Words have been spoken loud and clear all season. Actions met words at home. Now, it’s time to do so on the road.