Draymond Green was ejected with one second remaining in regulation, and Terry Rozier scored the winning goal. This was the Warriors' worst loss in the NBA 2020-21 season.
It felt as if it could all end in the same way at the Chase Center on Wednesday, the first meeting of the 2021-22 NBA basketball season. Jordan Poole, a Warrior, couldn't buy a basketball and the Hornets started to play offense quickly.
It seemed like Golden State was beginning with the same lackluster energy that led to their first loss of year last week against the Memphis Grizzlies. This is something we will not dwell on as they quickly got out of their funk, but it is something we will be watching.
It doesn't matter how slow Charlotte started because they beat them convincingly, 114 to92. This game, the way Golden State (6-1) overcame its slow start, showed that there has been a lot of improvement since the last meeting between these two teams.
These are the three main takeaways from Friday's win over the Hornets (5-2).
Steph ends his fourth quarter curse
I mentioned that Curry was absent the last time the Warriors faced the Hornets. Although Curry's absence wasn't the reason why they lost, it did not help.
Curry played against Charlotte on Wednesday. He didn't score much in the first three quarters and entered the fourth quarter with only five points. This would have resulted either in a loss, or the Warriors having to make a huge comeback.
Instead, Golden State entered the fourth period with a comfortable lead and Curry was only just closing the deal.
Curry scored 10 of his fifteen points in the fourth quarter and finished the game shooting 6-of-15 from beyond the arc. Curry also had nine assists and eight rebounds as well as one block, one steal, and one block.
Poole bounces back
After struggling the previous few games, Poole was one the few bright spots for the Warriors -- especially offensively -- on Wednesday.
Poole, Damion Lee and Damion Lee were the only Warriors to score early. He made six 3-pointers in the first period, more than any other game this season.
Poole was 9-of-37 shooting from the distance in the first six games. He shot 7 of 16 on Wednesday and ended the night with 31 points and three rebounds, as well as four steals.
Poole proved that he's not just a 3-point threat in the second half. He also showed an amazing ability to attack and score from the rim. Poole hit a dunk with 3:30 remaining in the third quarter. This was just a few possessions following a missed attempt to dunk.
Steve Kerr, Coach, has insisted that Poole's up-and-down performances are just part of his learning curve. Kerr is correct. Sincerely, there would not be high expectations for Poole this early if it wasn't for his stellar preseason. But there are. It was gratifying to see him get out of his funk when his team needed him most and then show the same passion that he showed during the preseason, opening night and postseason.
Gary Payton II does it on both ends
The Warriors did not get any consistent offense beyond Poole so their defense was key to their victory. Payton led that defense.
Payton got a steal just seconds after his first quarter. He stayed close to Miles Bridges' hip during the third quarter, as he glided down the sideline and eventually tapped the ball away. He had several deflected passes throughout, including one that led to a Poole dunk within the last three minutes.
Payton was the star on defense against the Hornets. But, his offense also stole the show. Payton finished the game with 14 points after shooting 6-of-9 in 17 minutes. This included several put-back dunks and a second-chance layup during the fourth.
He was greeted by a standing ovation and a hug by Kerr when he checked out of the venue for the evening.