Moody ‘comfortable' in bench role, feels playoff atmosphere


SAN FRANCISCO -- Moses Moody sat in the Modelo Cantina at our "Dubs Talk Live" set atop Chase Center on Friday night and noticed two things from the box score of the Warriors' 120-112 win over the Philadelphia 76ers: Rebounding and the amount of positives in plus/minus. 

Moody himself had a part in both factors. He played eight minutes off the bench, scored three points while making one of his two 3-point attempts and grabbed three rebounds. Combined with strong defense and non-stop energy, Moody was a plus-6 on the night. 

That has been a consistent trend for the 20-year-old, too. 

He didn't appear in any of the Warriors' three straight road losses to the Los Angeles Lakers, Oklahoma City Thunder and Memphis Grizzlies earlier this month. He received a DNP (Did Not Play) in LA and was with the Warriors' G League affiliate for the other two losses. But since he has been back with the team, Moody has taken advantage of his opportunity. 

In the three games after his return, Moody was a plus-13 combined.

Playing an average of 9.1 minutes per game in March, Moody's plus/minus hasn't been in the negative once this month. He's a plus-10 in his last two games and a plus-33 total in 10 games this month. Altogether, that's an average of plus-3. 

"I feel comfortable," Moody told NBC Sports Bay Area. "I'm excited with anything I can get. Just going out there and affecting the game however I can."

Coming into his second season as a pro, the former lottery pick was expected to have an increased role with the defending NBA champions. Throughout the season, that role has fluctuated and diminished more than many expected. Moody has received 14 DNPs this season and surprisingly has spent some time in the G League to get more game reps. 

But whether it's coach Steve Kerr or Moody's teammates, the young wing has been praised for his maturity and ability to step up to the moment since the day the Warriors drafted him. Though he doesn't have an official nickname, there's a reason many call him Stay Ready. 

"It's the NBA," he said. "It's a grown man's game. You've got to mature fast and be prepared. See the situation for what it is and be ready to step into that with the right attitude."

He has done just that and is reaping the rewards now. Moody has played eight straight games, shooting 58.8 percent from the field and 42.9 percent from deep in that span. Over the Warriors' recent five-game road trip, Moody missed a grand total of one shot. He shot 7 of 8, being ready when the ball found him. 

On Friday night, though, it was Jordan Poole's night to let it fly -- especially in the fourth quarter. 

Poole scored a game-high 33 points off the bench, and 19 of those came in the fourth. He played the entire fourth quarter and was 6 of 9 overall, 2 of 3 beyond the arc and made all five of his free throws. The Poole Party was on at the rim and well behind the 3-point line. 

With only seven games left in the regular season, Playoff Poole showed up at the perfect time. When he's on, the Warriors have three players, along with Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, who can explode at any time in a game. Even in only his second year with the Warriors, Moody knows what a luxury that is.

"It's cool, especially confidence-wise knowing that at any point we can get a quick little 20 points out of somebody in a quarter," Moody said with a laugh. "You can always trust that, and we have so many guys that can do it. It's just comforting." 

Defensively, the Warriors are about to get more comfort out of a big boost, one that players, coaches and fans are frothing to see. 

Gary Payton II sat on the Warriors' bench during their win against the Sixers wearing a black sweater that read "FREE" across the front. Coincidence? Maybe.

The reality is, Payton, who hasn't played a game since the Warriors re-acquired him at the Feb. 9 NBA trade deadline due to a right adductor/core injury, is practicing in full with Golden State on Saturday. His status for Sunday's game against the Minnesota Timberwolves will be determined by how his body reacts.

Payton's addition will be huge for a defense that has struggled this season but has improved on the Warriors' current three-game win streak. 

"Yeah, I would say last year I seen it first-hand what he can do, how he can affect the game," Moody said of Payton. "It's real good to know he's coming soon." 

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Last season when Payton went down in the second round of the playoffs to a fractured left shooting elbow, Moody, who didn't turn 20 until May 31, outplayed Damion Lee and earned Payton's minutes in his absence. He said he could feel a playoff-like atmosphere Friday night in Chase Center from the energy and the crowd roaring, rarely sitting in their seats down the stretch. 

And he's ready for the bright lights to turn on again. The Warriors still have seven games remaining with major implications on the playoffs and the play-in tournament. Their destination after the regular-season finale is far from set. 

Wherever the Warriors wind up, Moody will be ready. 

"It's cool to hear you asking me this question, because I remember last year at this time I was hearing other people talk about the playoffs and not knowing what to expect," Moody said when asked about the Warriors rounding into playoff form. "It's just high-intensity basketball. Mistakes are magnified more. The positives are magnified more. It's just basketball on the biggest stage.

"Everybody's on edge, everybody's ready to perform. It's a good time, best time of the year." 

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