Steph Curry

What we learned as Curry dagger caps Warriors' comeback vs. Kings

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SAN FRANCISCO – Steve Kerr buried the news Wednesday night in his pregame press conference. 

Kerr announced Kevon Looney wouldn’t play against the Sacramento Kings and was sent home after shootaround due to feeling ill. The Warriors coach revealed rookie Trayce Jackson-Davis would start in his place, joining Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins and Jonathan Kuminga. A big name was missing from the group: Chris Paul. 

Paul for the first time in his career, albeit it’s only the preseason, began the game on the sidelines. And the final result was the Warriors’ fourth straight preseason win behind the heroics of their other future Hall of Fame point guard.

Curry splashed the game-winning 3-pointer on De’Aaron Fox with only 6.1 seconds left, giving Golden State a 116-115 win. He scored 16 points in the fourth quarter and led all scorers behind 30 points on 10-of-18 shooting and went 8 of 12 from 3-point range.

Here are three takeaways from the Warriors’ thrilling preseason victory.

CP Sixth Man

Paul didn’t have to wait too long to step on the court. He didn’t start the game watching from the bench and he wasn’t riding the bike. Paul simply stayed on his feet, feeling out unfamiliar territory.

At the 7:51 mark in the first quarter with the Warriors down by seven points, Paul and Dario Šarić were Kerr’s first two off the bench and both quickly made an impact. Though Paul went scoreless in the first quarter, his contributions were seen by halftime with three points, five rebounds and three assists. That’s the kind of night Paul produced the rest of the way. 

He finished with 13 points, nine assists and six rebounds in 30 minutes off the bench

Paul played the final five-and-a-half minutes, and the Warriors trailed by 10 points when he entered for the final time. The Warriors rallied and battled the Kings every second in those final five-plus minutes, and Paul’s presence was a major reason why.

Šarić (Mostly) Shines

For as much as the Paul-Kuminga duo has been hyped, a familiar one has clear chemistry. Paul and Šarić will play a lot together and the transition appears to be seamless thanks to their previous experience as teammates in Phoenix. Šarić knows how to set up and screen for Paul, the two are constantly communicating during plays and find each other right after a timeout is called. 

They even sat next to each other at times on the bench. 

At the end of the first quarter, while playing alongside Paul, Šarić already had five points, five rebounds and two steals. By halftime, he was the Warriors’ leading scorer at 12 points and added two assists to go with his five rebounds and two steals. 

Šarić led Warriors bench players with 14 points, and also had six rebounds, three assists and two steals. However, with 18 seconds remaining in regulation and the Warriors down by one point, Šarić missed two straight free throws.

Rookie Double-Double

Between the Warriors’ two rookies, Jackson-Davis and Brandin Podziemski, the latter has garnered much more headlines this preseason. Podziemski has looked like a steal in the draft, stuffing the stat sheet and playing like a youngster who belongs. 

On Wednesday night, the roles were reversed. Podziemski was stuck to the bench while Jackson-Davis received the most minutes he has played this preseason. He took advantage of the opportunity, too. 

The second-round pick produced a 13-point, 10-rebound double-double in 25 minutes. Jackson-Davis was active around the rim and running the floor. His main downfall was the five fouls he was whistled for, some coming purely from professional inexperience. Jackson-Davis showed the force he can play with, something Kerr and the coaching staff are sure to praise.

Purely from a roster standpoint, Jackson-Davis will have a role on the Warriors as a rookie. It might slowly increase, but his presence will be felt at times throughout the season.

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