Poole’s third-quarter explosion leads Dubs to latest huge win originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
SAN FRANCISCO — In the most Bay Area sequence that Chase Center could dream of, Jordan Poole launched a 3-pointer from the right wing with a little over 30 seconds left in the third quarter Thursday night, hopped three times as he watched his shot clank to the right corner, went into an all-out sprint to keep the play alive where he was caught by E-40 before draining his fourth three of the night.
The trey gave the Warriors, who trailed by 11 points at halftime, an 18-point lead, putting an exclamation point on the Warriors’ 42-point third quarter in their emphatic 115-91 win over the Los Angeles Clippers that had Dub Nation rocking the house to deafening tones at times.
“I told him that was his bucket right there,” Poole said. “He ain’t never scored an NBA bucket, so there it is.”
“That was great hustle by JP,” Klay Thompson said of the wild moment. “That’s why he got rewarded. It felt great to hear Chase Center get loud and that was just an incredible momentum shifter. Just a great overall night by Jordan.
“He led us tonight. Just incredibly proud of him for bouncing back after not the best shooting games, but that does not affect him. He’s such a great player.”
Poole scored a game-high 34 points, going 9 of 20 from the field and 5 of 12 on 3-pointers in the Warriors’ win. Nobody short of a fortune teller could have foreseen those kind of final numbers from the electric guard. Not with the way Poole started the game.
In the first quarter, he missed all three of his shot attempts. A missed finger roll in the first minute of the second quarter gave Poole four straight misses to open the game. An offensive rebound and putback layup turned into Poole’s first made bucket of the night, jumpstarting what would be a huge night.
With the Warriors down by 11 points, Poole went into halftime with nine points to his name. His mindset was to get guys like Thompson, Donte DiVincenzo, Jonathan Kuminga and Draymond Green going at the start of the game and put them in position for easy opportunities. His aggressiveness turned up in the second quarter, nothing like the third though.
Like the Splash Brothers of Klay and Steph Curry before him, the Warriors’ heir apparent exploded in the third quarter and turned San Francisco into an unquestioned Poole Party. Playing barely under 10 minutes in the third quarter, Poole scored 22 points in the third, making five of his nine shots and four of his eight 3-point attempts.
“I can’t necessarily sense it, but I know it’s always possible and that’s why he’s so important for us,” Steve Kerr said of Poole’s third-quarter flurry. “At the point of attack, he can get right by his guy and get to the paint and finish.
“If he can do that, break the defense down, it opens up a lot of things for us.”
The nine made shots were great, as were Poole’s five threes — his most in nearly a month. But that’s not what stood out most. It was his will to get to the basket, oftentimes leading to the free-throw line.
While the Warriors threw up enough bricks from beyond the arc for another waterfront arena in the first half, Poole put his head down and got to the rim in the third quarter. Last season’s free-throw champion was a perfect 8-of-8 at the free-throw line during his 22-point third quarter. Overall he swished 11 of his 12 free throws, his second-most made free throws this season and second-most attempts.
Poole finished three layups and drained one floater, showcasing his ability to be a three-level scorer for the Warriors.
“When he gets going to the cup and makes those tough lays and he gets some free throws, his whole game opens up after that and it opened up our whole offense,” Thompson said.
Kerr and Poole’s teammates know Poole can score in bunches. The Warriors in their last two games, both wins, have outscored their opponents 81-33 in the third quarter. They scored 22 more points than the Portland Trail Blazers in the period on Tuesday night, and had a 26-point advantage for the quarter on the Clippers — the second-highest in the NBA this season.
They became the first team in the shot clock era to come back from a double-digit halftime deficit and win by more than 15 points in consecutive games. Over those two games, Poole scored 34 points in the third quarter, going 8 of 15 from the field and a perfect 13 of 13 on free throws.
But it wasn’t his scoring alone that led to another ultra-important win for the Warriors. Poole had two steals against the Clippers, upped the ante defensively and was very active in passing lanes for multiple deflections.
“When we get steals and deflections we get into transition, and I think we’re a pretty dangerous team when we get out,” Poole said. “Slowly but surely learning, and just trying to get better.”
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His first shot of the fourth quarter, and final of the night, was a fitting one. Poole came off a screen by Kevon Looney, gathered from behind the left wing and let it fly. The ball splashed through the net, Poole held his shooting pose and three fingers in the sky, sending a message to the fans and everybody else: “I really do this s–t!”
On a night where the Warriors won their fourth straight game, all without Curry and Andrew Wiggins, putting them three games over .500 for the first time this season and in sole possession of fifth place in the Western Conference standings, Poole had the right to talk his talk and backed up every single word.
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