What we learned as Poole shines in preseason loss to Lakers


SAN FRANCISCO -- The Warriors' return to Chase Center for their third game of the preseason was one without Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and Andre Iguodala for the home team. The visiting Los Angeles Lakers were without LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, Patrick Beverley and a handful of others. 

So, who stepped up for the two California squads nine days before they meet again on opening night of the regular season? Stars Steph Curry, Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Davis didn't disappoint in a 124-121 Warriors loss.

Davis took advantage of the Warriors being without their defensive star, scoring 28 points, including 24 in the first half. Wiggins came out red-hot, scoring nine points in the first quarter and hit both of his 3-point attempts in that opening frame, with one coming straight out of the circus. 

He finished with 15 points, going 5-for-9 from the field and made three of his four shots from long distance.

Then there's Curry. Rounding into regular-season form, Curry played 25 minutes and scored 24 points. Though he only drained two of his eight 3-point attempts, Curry went 9-for-18 from the field, plus he added four rebounds and four assists.

There's plenty for the Warriors to clean up, but they also did some of that in real-time. After turning the ball over 13 times in the first half, they didn't commit any turnovers during their 39-point third quarter. They did let the Lakers walk into far too many open shots beyond the arc, resulting in 17 threes for L.A.

Here are three takeaways from the Warriors' first loss of the preseason.

Kuminga's Chance

With Green away from his Golden State teammates for an indefinite amount of time following his practice punch to Jordan Poole, nobody had a bigger opportunity Sunday than Kuminga. The second-year pro opened the eyes of coach Steve Kerr during the Warriors' Thursday scrimmage and was given the start at power forward. He had his ups, and he had his downs.

His athleticism stood out as it so often does. So did his lack of awareness at times. Taking Davis to the basket with ease, even in preseason, always is noteworthy.

Kuminga scored 12 points while playing a team-high 26 minutes. The springy forward also snatched seven rebounds -- four defensive and three offensive.

What's nice to see is he also was a perfect 6-for-6 on free throws. Kuminga essentially can get to the line whenever he wants. Being a reliable shooter from there has to be a big goal for the second-year pro.

Two-Man Game

Between the size of 7-footer James Wiseman and the sizzle of Poole's skill set, the Warriors should have an extremely fun two-man game between the two former first-rounders. In the first quarter, that was on full display in back-to-back trips down the court.

The first sequence came with the Warriors down 28-24. Poole uses two separate screens from Wiseman to free himself up for a floater off the glass, closing the Warriors' deficit to two points. Poole then contested a shot on defense, pushed the ball up the floor and his two-man game with Wiseman resulted in two points from the young center displaying some nice touch on a mid-range jumper to tie the game at 28 points apiece.

Forming a duo of Poole (23 years old) and Wiseman (21 years old) will be a major key for the present and the future. Davis took Wiseman to school at times, and the inexperienced big man also showcased what has made the Warriors excited this preseason. He played 18 minutes off the bench and scored 13 points while going 5-for-7 from the field, and finished with five rebounds.

He also only made three of his eight free throws, an area of the game every young center has to work on.

On A Mission 

All eyes were on Poole, and he knew it. How couldn't he? He also answered the call in major ways. 

In his first game since the now-infamous punch, Poole played 23 minutes and scored a team-high 25 points. The shooting guard also was the main fixture in the Warriors' third-quarter barrage. 

Scoring seven points in the first half, Poole went 7-for-8 from the field in the third and racked up 18 points in the quarter. He scored from deep, the mid-range and around the basket.

Along with his 25 points, Poole added six assists, four rebounds, two steals and a block. Yes, he played with fire on the floor. I wonder why.

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