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Player grades: Warriors vs. Hornets

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Steph Curry celebrating as he runs down the court, with a ref and Draymond Green behind him, both signaling a three.
Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Assessing every Golden State player’s performance in the team’s 115-97 win over Charlotte.

The Golden State Warriors kept the good times rolling on their road trip. Despite Klay Thompson and Jonathan Kuminga missing the game, they used a dominant third quarter to blow out the Charlotte Hornets 115-97. These are the types of games the Dubs need to be winning, and win it they did.

They’ve now won three straight, and have pulled to within one-and-a-half games of the Los Angeles Lakers, while temporarily opening up a one-and-a-half game lead over the streaking Houston Rockets (that will be one or two games at the end of the night, as the Rockets are facing the Utah Jazz).

Now let’s grade the players. As always, grades are based on my expectations for each player, with a “B” grade representing the average performance for that player.

Note: True-shooting percentage (TS) is a scoring efficiency metric that accounts for threes and free throws. Entering Friday’s games, league-average TS was 58.0%.

Draymond Green

28 minutes, 8 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 turnovers, 4 fouls, 4-for-7 shooting, 0-for-2 threes, 57.1% TS, +6

To Green’s credit, he took full responsibility for his inexcusable ejection on Wednesday. And he looked focused on Friday, avoiding arguments with refs, and even avoiding a few bait attempts by Grant Williams.

It wasn’t a super smooth game for Green, but his defense was pretty darned strong, and he did a good job pushing the offense.

Grade: B
Post-game bonus: Tied for the team lead in rebounds.

Trayce Jackson-Davis

31 minutes, 18 points, 8 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals, 3 blocks, 2 fouls, 9-for-13 shooting, 69.2% TS, +11

I very much expect Steve Kerr to return to a starting frontcourt of Green and Kuminga when the latter returns. But the play of Jackson-Davis certainly has to have Kerr dreaming of a way to get him in the starting lineup full-time, eventually. Probably not this year though.

He’s good though. He’s really good. He’s really, really good and he absolutely ate up the Hornets all night long, living above the rim and dunking on them relentlessly. It was also one of his best defensive games, I thought.

TJD’s veteran smarts and composure are pretty astounding. He hasn’t had a game with multiple turnovers since January 5. And in his last four games, he’s had a total of just two turnovers and five fouls in about 118 minutes. That’s just obscene for a rookie.

Grade: A+
Post-game bonus: Tied for the team lead in rebounds.

Andrew Wiggins

35 minutes, 20 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists, 2 steals, 1 block, 2 turnovers, 1 foul, 7-for-17 shooting, 2-for-6 threes, 4-for-5 free throws, 52.1% TS, +9

The Warriors are contenders when Wiggins plays like this. He was aggressive and urgent all night long, in every phase of the game. He rebounded brilliantly and played fantastic defense. He was aggressive offensively, even if he wasn’t super efficient on this particular night. And eight assists?? It was his first time with five or more assists since February 8, and a huge change of pace after having just eight assists total in his last eight games.

Wiggins is finding his groove and he’s finding it at the perfect time. Keep it up, Wiggs.

Grade: A+
Post-game bonus: Tied for the team lead in rebounds.

Chris Paul

33 minutes, 11 points, 7 rebounds, 9 assists, 4 turnovers, 2 fouls, 5-for-6 shooting, 1-for-2 threes, 91.7% TS, +11

Just like Wiggins, Paul flirted with a triple-double, and certainly filled up the statsheet. It was an odd game though for CP3, in a return to the starting lineup. He was uncharacteristically inaccurate with his passes in the first half, and kept turning the ball over. He wasn’t sloppy so much as simply missing with his passes.

Then he dialed it in for the second half and played at the All-Star level that he certainly still is capable of on any given night. What a luxury to be able to slide a Hall of Fame point guard into the starting lineup and play him 33 minutes.

Grade: B+
Post-game bonus: Led the team in assists.

Steph Curry

32 minutes, 23 points, 1 rebound, 4 assists, 1 steal, 1 foul, 9-for-18 shooting, 4-for-11 threes, 1-for-1 free throws, 62.4% TS, +13

It’s always so fun seeing Curry back home in Charlotte, putting on a show for hometown crowd and his broadcasting father — and in this game, his brother, who was inactive on the Hornets’ bench.

It wasn’t a statistically dominant game for Steph, but it felt like he had the Hornets on a string. After the Dubs’ double-digit lead had been narrowed to two points at the end of the first half, Curry made a dramatic buzzer-beating three to bring the momentum back to Golden State. And when the Warriors returned in the third quarter to put the game away — they won the frame 39-26 — Curry was leading the charge. A very solid outing for the Chef.

Grade: A-
Post-game bonus: Led the team in points, highest plus/minus on the team.

Kevon Looney

10 minutes, 8 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 turnover, 1 foul, 3-for-4 shooting, 2-for-2 free throws, 82.0% TS, +8

Looney has been lights up since Kuminga got injured. After being completely out of the rotation, he’s returned in workmanlike fashion, grabbing rebound after rebound, patrolling the paint, and scoring efficiently.

Don’t ever take Looney for granted.

Grade: A

Gary Payton II

13 minutes, 6 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist, 1 block, 3 fouls, 3-for-5 shooting, 0-for-1 threes, 60.0% TS, +8

One thing Bob Fitzgerald pointed out this game that is important: when in doubt, Payton cuts to the hoop. At best, he ends up open for an easy layup or dunk; at worst, he pulls in the defense, further setting up the team’s shooters. It’s such an important element that’s really made Payton a quality offensive player ... in addition to his sublime defense.

Is there anyone in the league more valuable in such a limited allotment of minutes?

Grade: A-

Jerome Robinson

2 minutes, 2 points, 1 turnover, 1-for-4 shooting, 0-for-1 threes, 25.0% TS, 0 plus/minus

Anytime the only person without a positive plus/minus is the person playing garbage time, that’s a good sign.

Grade: Incomplete

Moses Moody

25 minutes, 15 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 1 turnover, 2 fouls, 5-for-8 shooting, 4-for-5 threes, 1-for-1 free throws, 88.9% TS, +12

This was an utterly dynamic performance by Moses Moody, a very good basketball player who deserves to play this many minutes more often.

I mean ... my goodness what a game. Moody did everything in this one. He was so active defensively, and in pushing the offense. He moved off the ball, found teammates, and was automatic from distance.

Just a sensational game.

Grade: A+

Lester Quiñones

5 minutes, 0 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist, 0-for-2 shooting, 0-for-2 threes, 0.0% TS, +1

Always love seeing Quiñones get some playing time, even though he didn’t do all that much with it this time. He does bring some good energy, though.

Grade: C

Brandin Podziemski

26 minutes, 4 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 fouls, 2-for-5 shooting, 0-for-2 threes, 40.0% TS, +11

Podziemski is turning into a mini-Draymond with his ability to not have overwhelming stats, but just fill up each column of the stat sheet a little, while making the team play tremendously better.

His energy was on display in this game, as the Warriors simply looked more lively than their counterparts. It just feels like he’s everyone on the court all at once, yet he rarely ever seems out of control. A really good defensive game for him, too.

Grade: B

Friday’s inactives: Usman Garuba, Jonathan Kuminga, Pat Spencer, Klay Thompson

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