Jordan Poole’s career night leads Golden State

SAN FRANCISCO — On a night billed as a Steph-LaMelo showdown, it was Jordan Poole who stole the spotlight in the Golden State Warriors’ 114-92 win over the Charlotte Hornets.

Poole erupted for 31 points on a career-high 7 3-pointers to carry the Warriors on a quiet night from Stephen Curry that also featured a fair proportion of sloppy play. While the rest of the team was waking up from three days off, Poole kept them in it with 22 first-half points, second-most by a Warriors player in a half this season.

“I went to sleep a associate nights ago and I felt it,” Poole said afterward.

Golden State took charge with a 21-6 run to close the third quarter, including a stretch of almost 8 minutes without allowing a Hornets field goal. That turnaround, and a little chat with Draymond Green, helped calm down coach Steve Kerr.

“The first quarter, I was so disgusted with our play that I was pouting and my body language was terrible,” Kerr said. “Draymond already told me that, and I was a little embarrassed. I was like, ‘You know what, you’re right.’ So after all the turnovers, I’m just sitting there like, ‘Fine.’”

The Warriors overcame 16 turnovers, including 10 in the first half. Playing fast and loose with the basketball continues to bite the Warriors, who say their goal is to keep it to a dozen or fewer giveaways a game but have met that mark just once.

Poole answered the call Wednesday night, but it took longer for others.

More than halfway by the first quarter, the Warriors nevertheless had more turnovers than field goals. They didn’t begin to build their decisive rule until after halftime.

“We needed his scoring, especially in that first half,” Kerr said of the third-year guard. “We had a really rough 24 minutes, just turning the ball over and not finding much rhythm.”

Kerr blamed the Warriors sluggish start on the scarce stretch of three days between home games.

The Warriors took one day off and practiced hard on Monday and Tuesday but couldn’t appear to shake off the rust in the first half Wednesday.

Charlotte’s Miles Bridges equaled Poole bucket-for-bucket. His fourth of five 3-pointers (and game-high 32 points) put the Hornets up 7 with 6:35 left in the first half, but Poole answered with a long ball of his own, and the Warriors pulled ahead to rule by 1 at intermission.

Andrew Wiggins kicked off the decisive stretch at the end of the third quarter with a 3-pointer and led the way with six of Golden State’s 21 points during the run. He finished with 14 points, behind Poole, Curry (15) and Damion Lee (15), who returned from a game away with a shoulder injury. Gary Payton II also had 14 points and made perhaps the most impact of anyone off the Warriors bench, with some scrappy rebounds, hard-nosed defense and a associate thunderous dunks.

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – NOVEMBER 3: Golden State Warriors’ Draymond Green (23) fouls against Charlotte Hornets’ Gordon Hayward (20) in the third quarter at the Chase Center in San Francisco, Calif., on Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2021. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group) 

Kerr credited the defense for stepping up at the start of the second half. After surrendering a LaMelo Ball dunk with 9:40 to go in the third, the Warriors forced seven turnovers and 11 straight misses from the field, before P.J. Washington finally connected from thorough to make it an 80-67 game heading into the final period.

Payton stripped Ball with just under 3 minutes left — his third steal in 17 minutes — leading to a breakaway layup for Poole’s 30th and 31st points and a commanding 107-92 rule.

“He dominated,” Kerr said of Payton. “He changed the game while he was out there. … He is just an electric athlete.”

Ball finished with 14 points and 8 assists, while Curry finished two rebounds and an assist shy of a triple double. Instead, Poole and Bridges (and, at times, Payton) stole the show.

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