SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — There is no denying that the marquee matchup is Steph Curry versus LeBron James in Wednesday night’s highly anticipated Golden State Warriors-Los Angeles NBA Play-In Game showdown.
One line lower on the bill will be the battle between Anthony Davis and Draymond Green.READ MORE: Most U.S Metro Areas More Segregated Than Decades Ago; Interactive Map Illustrates Divide
They’ll be the reason why millions will turn in to watch the game at 7 p.m. PDT. But if history plays any role in the outcome, it will be a player from the supporting cast that will be pivotal to the final outcome.
For Golden State Warriors that very well could be second-year sharpshooter Jordan Poole.
In the three regular-season matchups between the two clubs, Poole was not much of a factor. He played just five minutes and did not score in January’s Warriors win.
He was playing for Golden State’s G League affiliate when the clubs met in February and scored just 14 points in the loss to the Lakers in March.READ MORE: Former Broadmoor Police Chief Michael Connolly Charged With Conflict Of Interest
But over the last month, Poole has found his long-range stroke and quickness to the basket. He is averaging just over 20 points a game in Golden State’s final six regular-season contests including 38 points in a win over New Orleans.
“Bringing Jordan off the bench has been great,” Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said on Tuesday. “He gives us a lot of punch.”
Kerr said he anticipates the Lakers will throw a variety of defenses at Curry to slow the NBA regular season scoring champ. That’ll free up others, like Poole, to scoring opportunities.
“The good news is we’ve seen pretty much everything now over the last 20 games,” the veteran Golden State coach said. “Because our team is built differently now, with more shooting (three-point shooters Poole and Mychal Mulder) and better spacing, it means it’s a little easier to adapt to all the different defenses that we see. We anticipate they are going to throw the kitchen sink at Steph — multiple defenders, different matchups, some blitzes, some kind of shadowing.”
When asked to sum up Poole’s improved play, Kerr went through a laundry list last week.MORE NEWS: Cause of Death Still Unknown for Gray Whale That Washed Up at SF's Ocean Beach
“He can make plays against tight defense,” Kerr said. “He can get to the rim, like he did on that last play. He’s a shot-creator for us. He’s doing a great job. It’s fun to see how far Jordan has come in his two years in the league.”