AP Photo/Jeff Chiu
The Golden State Warriors continued their hot start to the season, defeating the Charlotte Hornets 114-92 at home Wednesday to improve to 6-1. Jordan Poole led the way with 31 points in the victory.
It was an impressive defensive effort by Golden State, as Charlotte entered the game leading the league with an average of 117.5 points.
It’s Golden State’s first 6-1 start to the regular season since 2018-19. The Warriors advanced to the NBA Finals that year and haven’t made the playoffs since then.
The Hornets fell to 5-4 after their second straight loss. Miles Bridges had a team-high 32 points.
Notable Player Stats
G Jordan Poole, GSW: 31 points (7-of-16 from 3-pt range), 4 steals
G Stephen Curry, GSW: 15 points
F Miles Bridges, CHA: 32 points
F Gordon Hayward, CHA: 23 points, 11 rebounds
Jordan Poole Steps Up on Stephen Curry’s Off Night
Stephen Curry and the Warriors got off to a sluggish start. After entering the game averaging 16 turnovers, Golden State had seven giveaways in the first quarter, three of which were by Curry.
With most of the team struggling, Poole stepped up with his hot shooting to keep the Warriors from falling behind. He poured in 22 of his 31 points in the first half.
22 PTS and 6 3PM in the first half 🔥
Jordan Poole is showing out on ESPN! pic.twitter.com/tU6qRWmVGc
It was an uncharacteristic game for Curry, who averaged a league-best 28.7 points prior to Wednesday. The Golden State supporting cast handled the scoring load while Curry was off.
Poole tied a career-high with his seventh three-pointer early in the third quarter. He helped the Warriors build a double-digit lead as they outscored the Hornets 27-15 in the frame.
Curry eventually woke up with 10 of his 15 points in the fourth quarter. The Warriors also got a strong effort from Gary Payton II, who had 14 points and was a menace on the defensive end.
After a strong preseason performance, Poole has had an inconsistent start to the year. He entered the game shooting just 40.7 percent from the field and 24.3 percent from deep. Poole can be a streaky scorer, but if he can find some consistency, it would take some pressure off Curry and give defenses another sharpshooter to worry about.
Golden State shooting guard Klay Thompson is nearing his return from a torn Achilles. Poole’s potential emergence as a reliable second scoring option would allow the Warriors to ease Thompson back into the offense.
Miles Bridges Establishing His Candidacy for Most Improved Player
Bridges turned down a four-year, $60 extension offer during the offseason, per ESPN’s Brian Windhorst (h/t RealGM). If he continues playing like he has to start this year, Bridges will be in line for a much bigger payday.
Bridges entered Wednesday’s game averaging 23.1 points, 7.9 rebounds and 3.4 assists. He continued his hot start by dropping 21 of his 32 points in the first half, 15 of which came in the second quarter.
Bridges continued his strong play in the second half to keep Charlotte in the game after falling behind in the third quarter. Hornets star point guard LaMelo Ball was held to just 14 points.
Bridges, who was named Eastern Conference Player of the Week after the first week of the season, has quickly established himself as a leading candidate for the NBA Most Improved Player award. The 12th overall pick in the 2018 draft has never averaged more than 13 points or six rebounds in a season.
Despite Wednesday’s loss, Bridges is a key reason for Charlotte’s strong start to the season. If he continues playing like he did Wednesday, Bridges will help lead the Hornets to their first postseason berth since 2016.
The Warriors will go for their third straight win Friday at home against the New Orleans Pelicans. The Hornets will look to bounce back in the second matchup of their five-game road trip against the Sacramento Kings on Friday.