Thursday, October 6

Jordan Poole clutch down the stretch


SAN ANTONIO — The Warriors averted near disaster Saturday as Jordan Poole came in clutch down the stretch to help Golden State beat the Spurs 100-94.

The Spurs closed out the third quarter on a 10-2 run to pull within seven points of the Warriors who led by as many as 17 points.

In the fourth quarter, the Spurs continued to claw at the Warriors’ lead, coming within two points.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich successfully overturned a foul called on Tres Jones with his team down by four with about 20 seconds left in the fourth quarter as officials later determined that Poole slipped on his shooting sleeve.

The Spurs fouled Poole who made his seventh and eighth free throws of the quarter before grabbing a rebound on the other end to secure the win.

“It was more them than us,” coach Steve Kerr said of the Spurs’ near comeback. “They have an identity, they are obviously so well coached, no matter who they play, they’re connected, they stay together, they compete… They had a lot of guys who played really well tonight, so more about them than us. ”

Poole, who’s been the Warriors’ most consistent scorer over the last five weeks, was scoreless in the first half and made 10 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter. He was 3-for-19 from the field and 1-for-11 from 3-point range, but Poole found other ways to contribute, dishing out eight assists. I have finished plus-8 in about 34 minutes.

Draymond Green, arguably the Warriors’ best player on the court Saturday, praised Poole after the game and said his composure down the stretch and ability to grind through a poor shooting night only bolsters the 22-year-old’s case for the league’s Most Improved Player award.

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“He didn’t have it tonight at all… but I thought the way he kept himself in the game by getting other guys involved, that’s growth,” Green said. “When you look at where he’s coming from, the steps that he’s taken, he’s been thrown into a position that not many guys would handle well, and that’s essentially to with all due respect do you best Steph Curry imitation.”

Kerr said the grind of the 82-game season has been wearing Poole thin and that he was “not feeling well” Saturday.

“He’s working out there, and I was really proud of him,” Kerr said.

Meanwhile, Green inked his fourth double-double of the season, finishing with 13 rebounds and 12 assists. He also handed out eight assists in what Kerr thought was the best Green’s looked physically.

“I thought he was the best player on the floor,” Kerr said. “His energy, his rebounding, his distribution of the ball, his energy was great. He just came out ready to play and that’s a great sign. He knows playoffs are next week.”

Jonathan Kuminga furthered his case to be part of the playoff rotation, scoring 18 points coming off the bench in the second and fourth quarters.


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