SAN FRANCISCO — As Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry searched for his shot in the final seconds in Tuesday night’s Western Conference series opener, he found himself double-teamed by the Los Angeles Lakers‘ Austin Reaves and Jarred Vanderbilt.
Curry managed to get the ball to Draymond Green, who found Jordan Poole on the opposite side of the court, several feet outside of the 3-point arc. With no defender in front of him and a clean look, Poole launched a 28-foot attempt. Had it gone in, the Warriors would have tied the score at 115 near the end of regulation. But Poole missed and the Warriors lost 117-112 in Game 1 of this best-of-seven series.
Despite there being about 10 seconds left when Poole put up the deep 3 — and Golden State still in possession of a timeout — the Warriors had no problem with the reserve guard’s shot.
“I thought Jordan did a really good job,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “I have the timeout stuff, I saw them double-teaming Steph at half court, so I knew somebody was going to be wide-open if we could just get the ball out, and Steph did a great job. He got the ball out of the trap and Jordan was wide-open, and pretty good look, and you know, that’s a shot he can hit.”
Poole finished with 21 points on 7-of-15 shooting, including 6-of-11 from 3 — four of which he hit in the second quarter. He also played a pivotal role in the Warriors’ late rush when they went to a small-ball lineup that brought them back from a 14-point deficit to tie the score at 112 after a 3-pointer by Curry with 1:38 remaining.
“It was a shot he was open and flowing,” Curry said of Poole. “Considering how they guard us on that possession, you know, trapping me at the half court, Draymond swinging it over to him, it’s kind of an in-rhythm shot.
“I’m sure he felt pretty good about it. That’s why he shot it. There are no kind of regrets about that. It’s just a make-or-miss type situation and a lot of trust in him and his ability to put the ball in the basket.”
Poole was not among the Warriors players who spoke at the podium during postgame availability with reporters.
After a poor shooting series against the Sacramento Kings that saw Poole managed just 29.1% from the floor and 25.9% from 3 — and never hitting more than eight field goals in a game — his finding a rhythm against Los Angeles was a positive sign for Golden State.
“I think this will be a series that will go his way and that’s great for us,” Green said.
It’s also necessary for the Warriors, as they try to outshoot the Lakers, who thrive inside the paint.
“If we can rebound, going small is to our advantage,” Curry said. “There’s probably three, four possessions where you can see we got a stop, we got the rebound, we got the push. Somebody was open. That’s kind of how we like to play.”
Game 2 is Thursday at Chase Center.