Jordan Poole, Wizards aim to take down Steph Curry, Warriors

Feb 27, 2024, 6:26 AM

Jordan Poole #13 of the Washington Wizards dribbles the ball against the Philadelphia 76ers during ...

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 10: Jordan Poole #13 of the Washington Wizards dribbles the ball against the Philadelphia 76ers during the first half at Capital One Arena on February 10, 2024 in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Jordan Poole gets a rematch with his former team, this one at his new home, when the Washington Wizards host the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday night.

The Wizards have lost 11 in a row, but they were nine minutes from surprising the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday before seeing a six-point lead turn into a 114-105 defeat.

Poole’s 3-pointer — his sixth of the game — gave Washington its 94-88 advantage before the Wizards missed 11 of their final 15 shots. Poole took just one of those attempts — a 3-pointer he missed with the score tied at 94 — in his 31-point performance.

The effort came as a reserve, a role Poole has held in Washington’s past three games. He’s averaged 23.3 points in those outings.

The first-year Wizards guard came off the bench 39 times for the Warriors last season, a role he failed to embrace. He was far more productive in 43 starts (24.6 points per game) than as a reserve (15.9).

Poole vented his frustration over his new role after shooting just 4-for-17 in a loss at Denver in the Wizards’ first game out of the All-Star break last Thursday.

“If there’s any common sense, with the situation, you should know how I feel,” Poole said. “But I’m just going to come out, do what I can do to help the team, keep it moving.”

Poole has shot better in his two subsequent reserve efforts, going 7-for-19 at Oklahoma City last Friday before Sunday’s 11-for-21 effort against the Cavaliers.

The 24-year-old, the Warriors’ first-round pick in 2019, shot just 7-for-21 while scoring a team-high 25 points in his return to San Francisco in December. The Wizards lost the game 129-118.

The Warriors opted in the offseason to send Poole to the Wizards as part of a package for Chris Paul, a veteran who has accepted coming off the bench.

Before he broke his left hand in a game Jan. 5 against the Detroit Pistons, Paul served as a reserve in 21 of his 32 contests, yet he still managed to lead Golden State in assists per game at 7.2.

Paul is scheduled to return from a 21-game absence Tuesday as Golden State opens a four-game trip.

In announcing the good news, Warriors coach Steve Kerr said that while he’s determined a game-opening role for Paul — on the bench before leading the second team with Klay Thompson — the Golden State finishing group remains undecided.

Stephen Curry cautioned observers not to overthink Kerr’s lineup dilemma.

“You’d be an idiot to not think CP can help us,” he said. “We’ve built some momentum since he’s been out. But he’s such a connector and a floor general, a guy that gets everyone in the right spots.

“So whether it’s when I’m on the bench or we’re on the court at the same time, it’ll hopefully elevate us to another level.”

When the Warriors and Wizards first met, Paul had just four points off the bench but made time for 10 assists and seven rebounds. The score differential was plus-27 for the Warriors in his 25 minutes on the court, whereas Washington went backward by nine points in Poole’s 27 minutes.

As they embark on a trip that also will take them to New York, Toronto and Boston, the Warriors have won eight of 10, although they are coming off a 119-103 home loss to Denver on Sunday.

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–Field Level Media


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