When you’re in somewhat of a downward spiral, any change could be a good change.
It’s only one game, but Warriors coach Steve Kerr tinkered with his starting lineup, and the benefits might pay off for Golden State heading into the playoffs.
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The Warriors have been sputtering of late (they’re just 4-6 in their last 10), dropping to third in the West behind the surging Memphis Grizzlies, but with a dominant performance against the Bucks, improved their winning streak to three.
Golden State tipped off its Saturday night game at the Chase Center against Milwaukee with a starting five featuring the trio of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Jordan Poole all starting together for the first time, alongside Andrew Wiggins and Kevon Looney.
Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Jordan Poole will start together for the first time ever. Andrew Wiggins and Kevon Looney complete the Warriors starting five tonight against the Bucks.
— Mark Haynes (@markhaynesnba) March 13, 2022
Standing at 6-foot-9, Looney is the tallest member of that starting five.
The three-guard trio combined for 76 points, with Curry finishing with just eight, while Thompson had a return to form with 38 points and Poole added 30 while holding the Bucks to just 41.8 percent shooting from the field.
That the Warriors were able to handily defeat the defending champs with Curry limited to eight points on seven shots speaks volumes about the cohesiveness of the starting unit.
Over his last six games, Poole is averaging 24.0 points per game on super-efficient 52-of-85 shooting.
“Those three have been playing really well but also I felt like [Jrue] Holiday would be all over Steph and they would double quite a bit,” Kerr said post-game about deciding to start that trio together. “We felt like getting Jordan out there as a secondary playmaker we’d have some openings and it worked out.
“If Jordan can play both ends like that it makes our offensive attack that much better.”
Steve Kerr on the decision to start Curry, Klay and Poole together pic.twitter.com/4Tt81lvP9e
— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) March 13, 2022
The Warriors have now beaten the Clippers, Nuggets, and Bucks on this current win streak, three top-quality opponents.
The bonus for the team now is the potential return of Draymond Green on Monday, as they get ready to face the Wizards, Celtics and Spurs over their next three games.
If Poole continues to play at this level then Kerr will have a new conundrum. Will he roll out the 2022 version of the Warriors “Death lineup” featuring Curry, Thompson, Poole, Wiggins and a healthy Draymond?
It’s still too early to tell, but Steve Kerr’s late-season adjustment may have just saved the Warriors’ season.