Golden State Warriors ‘Death Lineup’ Delivers Playoff Message To League In Game 1 Win – CBS San Francisco


SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF/AP) — While Golden State star Steph Curry’s deadly long-distance shooting may have transformed the NBA, head coach Steve Kerr’s small ball ‘death lineup’ has won championships and the 2021 version maybe the most frightening yet.

Saturday night’s closing lineup of Curry, Klay Thompson, Jordan Poole, Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins drained the life out the Denver Nuggets in the Warriors 123-107 first-round playoff victory.

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Curry, Thompson, Green and Wiggins have been NBA All-Stars while Poole is one of the breakout stars of the 2021 season.

“You get a lot of floor spacing,” Kerr said of the current iteration of the lineup. “You get two playmakers with Steph and Jordan and you get Draymond at the five (center) where he’s most effective. So he can do his thing in terms of DHOs (direct handoffs), being a great screener, diving into the pocket catching the ball and playmaking himself.”

“It’s a good lineup. It’s what we’ve always done here depending on personnel. It’s fun to see it. I think it’s the first time get to that lineup all year.”

Poole delivered notice of his emerging talents, scoring 30 points — second only to Wilt Chamberlain in franchise history for points in a post-season debut. He started in place of Curry, who is on limited minutes as he returned from being sidelined several weeks by an injured ankle.

So Kerr now faces a playoff conundrum: start Curry in Game 2 and move Poole back to the bench or stick with what worked so well in the opener.

‘Yeah, we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it,” Kerr said, smiling.

He said he’s not surprised with Poole’s development this season.

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“He’s not afraid of the moment,” Kerr said in his post-game news conference. “He looking forward to it (Saturday night’s game). He works hard everyday to prepare and had a great game.”

For now, Curry sure had a blast watching Poole and Thompson do their thing from the opening tip. The pair scored a combined 49 points and were a combined 10-for-17 from the 3-point line.

“I have no expectations on what’s next because we’re always trying to figure this out because this is kind of a tough situation to deal with in terms of the quick ramp up that I’ve had and this is a playoff-type intensity and atmosphere,” Curry said.

Healthy at last, Thompson returned to the playoff stage for the first time in nearly three years following two serious injuries and scored 19 points with five 3-pointers.

“Jordan Poole, wow, what a playoff debut,” Thompson said. “… He’s just incredible. What a star in the making.”

The perimeter combination of Curry, Poole and Thompson proved too much for the Nuggets — with Poole acknowledging “it’s pretty lethal.”

Just ask Denver’s Nikola Jokic, the league’s reigning MVP who scored 25 points and pulled down 10 rebounds in a losing effort.

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“They have the tools,” Jokic admitted in a post game news conference.

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