What we learned as the shorthanded Warriors lose their fifth in a row

What we learned as the shorthanded Warriors lose their fifth in a row

The Warriors don’t believe in moral victories. Neither do the defending champions.

However, they looked for positives and Friday night was certainly one of their 114-105 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans at the Smoothie King Center.

Resting Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins on the second straight night, the Warriors trailed throughout the game. Golden State’s youngsters stepped in on a lot of occasions and they gave the Pelicans everything they had. But with so much talent sidelined, they were simply overwhelmed.

Jonathan Kuminga took advantage of his opportunity, as did the two Warriors two-way players, Ty Jerome and Anthony Lamb. The Warriors only had 10 players available. All 10 have played, and many will give Steve Kerr plenty to think about.

On a night full of positives, the Warriors turned the ball over 23 times and the Pelicans scored 36 points on those turnovers. The Warriors went winless on their five-game road trip, are 0-6 on the road this season and return to San Francisco with a 3-7 record.

Here are three takeaways from the Warriors’ loss to the Pelicans.

Free Kuminga

With a plethora of the Warriors’ best players heading into the finale of their five-game road trip, every available player had a chance to prove themselves. Nothing more than Kuminga.

After two consecutive DNPs (Did Not Play), the 20-year-old striker was in the starting lineup and took full advantage of his opportunity. Everything Kerr could have wanted from the former first choice, Kuminga gave him. He too wasted no time.

To open the game, Kuminga played great defense on All-Star Brandon Ingram to force an errant shot. Shortly after, Kuminga had Zion Williamson jump on a fake pushup and then made both of his free throws. While of course providing at least one lighthouse dunk, Kuminga played smart and full of energy.

When he cuts the basket like that, good things will follow.

At halftime, Kuminga scored 11 points shooting 4-for-6 from the field, and was plus-9 over-under. And yes, there was the flagship dunk that Kerr loved for his hesitation and smart decision.

In 38 minutes, Kuminga finished with 18 points to go with four rebounds, two assists, two steals and a block. Opportunities should open up to him.

Why they signed it

A 6-foot-6 winger who was a four-year-old college player, hustles the defense and can stretch the ground? Lamb looked like a Warriors-type player on Friday night and proved why the Warriors signed him to a two-way contract at the end of the preseason.

Lamb, in his first start for the Warriors and fourth of his NBA career, came out flying all over the place. His strong defense also led to the attack. In addition to two interceptions in the first half, Lamb made two 3-pointers in the first two quarters and made all four of his shot attempts.

The 24-year-old ended up playing 36 minutes and scoring 16 points. It is his highest point total since May 14, 2021 as a member of the Houston Rockets. He also tied a career high with four 3-pointers. Lamb also had three interceptions and played solid defense all night.

Not to be outdone, Jerome, the Warriors’ other two-way player, continued his fine performance by scoring 18 points off the bench. Jerome also had six rebounds and five assists.

Cold pool

The goal on Jordan Poole’s back increased with his breakout campaign a season ago, and it grew with his offseason contract extension. On Friday, the Pelicans focused on him with the stars on the bench, and Poole struggled.

Although he dished out nine assists and continues to try to balance being a scorer and a playmaker, Poole scored 20 points but was 5 for 18 from the field and 3 for 10 from beyond. of the bow. Poole also had five turnovers.

In the final three games of the road trip, Poole turned the ball over 14 times, shot 30% overall (12 for 40) and 22.7% (5 for 22) on 3-pointers. Whether it’s rotational changes or not, the Warriors need to move Poole forward and maintain his confidence to get back into the win column.

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