SAN FRANCISCO — It hasn’t felt more like the preseason than ever on Friday night at Chase Center.
The Warriors and Lakers turned the ball over a combined 19 times and shot less than 30% from the field in the first quarter. It could only go up from there for the Warriors, who built a lead as large as 22 points on their way to a 121-114 win to stay undefeated through three preseason contests.
Once again, Golden State’s best basketball came during the final stretch of the first half. The Warriors closed the second quarter on an 8-0 run that would have been 11-0, if not for Otto Porter Jr.’s first miss on a corner 3 this preseason.
Curry gets cooking
Coach Steve Kerr targeted the Warriors’ third preseason game to extend the minutes for veteran stars Stephen Curry and Draymond Green.
Curry wasn’t quite in midseason form — he finished 3 of 13 from beyond the arc — but was close to it with a game-high 30 points in 26 minutes. He and Green paired up for a couple of classic pick and rolls, one of which ended in Curry feeding the ball back to Green on a behind-the-back pass. Green, however, badly missed the 3-point attempt.
“I thought it was really important for those guys to get their conditioning up,” Kerr said afterward. “You could tell Steph got a rhythm going there. … He started the game a little slow but picked it up. … I thought Draymond had some really good moments. They’re both trending in a really good direction.”
Green was responsible for only one field goal in 24 minutes but dished out a team-high seven assists and grabbed six rebounds against a big Lakers front court.
Jordan Poole, the star of the preseason so far, finished with 28 points in 25 minutes and a team-best plus-21 point differential with him on the court.
Small ball on the boards
Kerr was anxious to see how his small-ball Warriors fared on the boards against a Lakers squad that featured 6-10 Anthony Davis, 6-11 DeAndre Jordan and 6-9 Dwight Howard guarding the basket.
The final verdict? Los Angeles finished with a 71-48 rebounding edge, including 14-9 on the offensive glass.
The Lakers earned 22 second-chance points, compared to Golden State’s eight. The Warriors made up for it by converting 27 turnovers into 32 points; they turned the ball over 15 times but only four times after the first quarter.
However, the Warriors stayed even with the Lakers in the paint (42 points to 44) while still launching 56 shots from beyond the arc (and connecting on 20, a 35.7% clip)
Once again, Nemanja Bjelica was among the Warriors’ first substitutions, but this time he was joined by Juan Toscano-Anderson instead of Avery Bradley. Otto Porter Jr. got his first start of the preseason in place of Andrew Wiggins, who sat out with a sore knee.
Curry and Poole started the game together but didn’t share the court again until the final rotation of the first half, when Golden State built its lead at the end of the second quarter.
The Warriors welcomed 18,064 fans to Chase Center for the second game at full capacity since prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Their loudest cheer all night came when Andre Iguodala entered the game midway through the second quarter.
It was the crowd’s first chance to cheer Iguodala since he reunited with the Warriors this offseason. Kerr opted to rest the 37-year-old, who played a crucial role on Golden State’s championship teams, for their first home game of the preseason.
A smooth step-back from Jordan Poole and rookie Moses Moody’s first 3-pointer of the night were close contenders, as well as any time a new highlight from the Giants’ win down the street appeared on the big screen.
Friday’s matchup was the first of three times the Warriors will meet the Lakers over the course of the next week and a half. Does that impact how Golden State prepares for its final tuneups?
“It really doesn’t change much of anything,” Kerr said beforehand. “Maybe hold back an out of bounds play or something. You don’t want to use your best side out-of-bounds with the game on the line in the preseason. But we’re still just playing basketball.”
The Warriors haven’t installed a game plan or considered scouting reports for their first three preseason games, but they’ll treat their final two — Tuesday in Los Angeles and Friday at home against Portland — as dress rehearsals, with preparations that mirror the regular season.