Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Jordan Poole have battled the entire season to be an effective combination for the Golden State Warriors, but Monday’s win over the Phoenix Suns may have finally provided the blueprint for the guard trio moving forward.
Thompson provided the fireworks in a blistering 33-point first-half, electrifying the home crowd with eight threes over the first 24 minutes. After the Suns threatened a comeback effort in the third-quarter, Poole’s ten fourth-quarter points ensured the Warriors would comfortably close out another important win.
Klay Thompson, Stephen Curry and Jordan Poole combined for 81 points in an encouraging performance for the Golden State Warriors on Monday night.
Monday was an encapsulation of what Steve Kerr wants, at least offensively, from the explosive trio. Curry’s had two significant periods of absence with injury this season, forcing Thompson and Poole’s roles to vary significantly at different points.
We saw Thompson delve into his playmaking a little more in Curry’s latest absence, and it actually proved productive as he was the main driver in a five-game winning-streak without the two-time MVP. The Phoenix win saw a return to Thompson’s catch-and-shoot best, with some elements of self-creation once he really started to find a major rhythm.
Poole’s struggles have been magnified in recent times, but Monday was an encouraging performance as he seeks to navigate a sixth man role. We need to acknowledge that as a bench player, his scoring will often come in spurts throughout a game.
That occured again against the Suns — just five points in the first-half, then 15 in the second-half including those ten in the final period. If he does get to 20 points on efficient shooting, then regardless of when they actually come, it’s a positive outcome. Poole needs to be much more than just a scorer though, and he was that against Phoenix with six assists to a manageable three turnovers.
There’s no reason the 23-year-old can’t produce what he did on Monday on a more consistent basis. There was still elements of questionable shot selection and dangerously flashy ball-handling, but the good outweighed the bad and Golden State outscored Phoenix by 12 when he was on the floor. He remains a crucial factor in the Warriors’ hopes, particularly while Andrew Wiggins and his scoring remains absent from the lineup.
Curry is Curry — the superstar who goes about his work in ever-reliable fashion. His ability to recognize defensive ploys against him, and make adjustments as such, is a continually underrated aspect of his game. He took less shot attempts than Thompson and Poole, dishing seven assists as he repeatedly displays the unselfishness that’s defined his game for over a decade.
The trio won’t each shoot over 50% every game, but Monday was proof they can each have their moments in the limelight throughout a game. There’s a blueprint there for them to take forward to the remainder of this season and beyond.