How the Warriors turned a ‘scheduled loss’ into an improbable comeback win

Feb 1, 2022; San Antonio, Texas, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Jordan Poole (3) and guard Stephen Curry (30) celebrate Poole's three-point shot late in the second half against the San Antonio Spurs at the AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 1, 2022; San Antonio, Texas, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Jordan Poole (3) and guard Stephen Curry (30) celebrate Poole's three-point shot late in the second half against the San Antonio Spurs at the AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports /

On a back-to-back in San Antonio – hot off the heels of a hard-fought win against the Houston Rockets the night before. The Golden State Warriors chose to ready themselves for the rare ‘scheduled loss’. A liberty you’re occasionally willing to take as you navigate an arduous 82-game schedule. Especially if you’re sitting comfortably with a 38-13 record.

The Warriors would be without the services of Stephen Curry against the Spurs, out with toe soreness. Along with Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins, Nemanja Bjelica, Otto-Porter Jr, Andre Iguodala and Draymond Green. Leaving them with only 9 active bodies.

Devoid of seven of their top rotation players – the Warriors entered the AT&T center devoid of much expectation. Spearheaded by Jordan Poole, two 19-year-old rookies and a bunch of minimum contract players – the Warriors were equipped to compete hard, but ultimately take the loss and call it a day.

Except they didn’t.

In a sign of incredible growth, the Golden State Warriors stormed to a comeback victory over the San Antonio Spurs despite a decimated roster.

What proceeded to take place was perhaps the most improbable win of the season. Down as much as 16 points in the final quarter, the Dubs gritted their teeth and rallied back. With meaningful contributions from across the board – the JV Warriors stormed home and outscored the Spurs 35-16 in the fourth quarter. Taking the game 124-120.

Poole starred as the primary option, finishing with 31 points and the go-ahead basket. Whilst Damion Lee too stepped up in a big way, chipping in with 21 points and five made threes.

Looney, Toscano Anderson, Payton II, and Weatherspoon battled hard all night – whilst two-way player Chris Chiozza had his best game as a Warrior.

The rookies

Yet, it was perhaps the two rookies who impressed most. Without much of a veteran presence available, the kids were essentially left to their own devices in San Antonio. What was presented as a golden chance for some extended minutes – quickly turned into a graduation-type scenario for the nineteen-year-olds. A true welcome to the NBA moment.

We received the full Jonathan Kuminga experience against the Spurs. A relative non-factor for much of the night, Kuminga came alive in the fourth quarter and ignited the Warriors run by attacking the rim. He poured in 14 points in the final term on the way to 19 for the game –which included a vicious windmill dunk in transition.

Moses Moody in his second straight start, parted the seas of the G-League and established himself as an NBA player last night. He finished with 20 points and 6 made threes – looking assured and comfortable throughout.

Moody’s emergence is a testament to the value of the G-League for young players. Prior to his stint with the Santa Cruz Warriors, Moody was shooting 14.7% on threes for the season. In the G-League however, Moody developed a rhythm and confidence – averaging 31.8 points on 52/41/80 splits. Rewarded for his efforts in Santa Cruz, Moody has started each of the last two games for the Dubs – where he has gone for a combined 9-15 from distance.

Warriors fought until the end

In almost poetic fashion – the roaring comeback was capped off with Poole, Lee and Moody, perhaps the heroes of the night – all playing a part in the game-winning play.

Down by 1 and with 27.8 seconds left in regulation, Poole launched an off-balance three from the left-wing corner. He missed. As the ball cannoned off back iron, the Spurs just had to secure possession to likely end the game. Lee, however, had other ideas.

With the ball in flight and three Spurs flatfooted in the paint – Lee came charging inside from the opposite corner, getting his fingertips to the rebound. What followed was 8 seconds of chaos.

San Antonio’s Dejounte Murray was first to the loose ball. Yet, in a play that embodied much of his night, Moody arrived at the scene with a head full of steam and got his hands dirty. He dove into the scrimmage and somehow shoveled the ball back out to Lee. Who proceeded to find the open Poole standing in the same left-hand corner.

Only this time, it resulted in nothing but net. The go-ahead dagger with 17.9 seconds remaining had the Warriors jumping for joy. It was a play reminiscent of Curry’s playoff dagger against the Pelicans all those years ago. Though on this occasion, the generation next in line were the ones pulling it off.

Curry, couldn’t help but convey his excitement either. Dressed in street clothes and seemingly cured of any toe soreness, he rushed on to the court looking like the older brother at his little brother’s high-school game – celebrating with the jubilant Poole.

The Warriors entered San Antonio content with their record and prepared for a ‘scheduled loss’. But instead, they left with their seventh straight win and a whole lot more. We got a look at the character of a team that truly goes one through 15. And a peek into a future that seems rather bright.

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