With Steph Curry set to miss the next month or so with a shoulder injury, everyone on the Golden State Warriors will have to step up in his absence, but especially Jordan Poole. The young guard did just that on Sunday, leading the Warriors to a much-needed 126-110 win over the Toronto Raptors.
Poole finished with a career-high 43 points on 14-of-23 from the field and 5-of-11 from 3-point land, and added six assists in 34 minutes. After 15 career 30-point outings, Poole finally reached the 40-point mark for the first time.
A career night for Jordan Poole in the Golden State win.— NBA (@NBA) December 19, 2022
43 PTS (career-high)
5 3PM pic.twitter.com/GkaSOCNuJO
"He's played a lot of great games for us," Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said. "If it's not the best, it's definitely one of the few best. He was great at both ends. His defense was excellent, I thought he was patient offensively, got us into our offense well. He just set the tone and he carried us."
Poole got off to a bit of a slow start this season for all sorts of reasons. First and foremost, he was punched in the face by Draymond Green during training camp, which set a strange tone for the Warriors' title defense. He also led some very young bench groups early in the season and was a much bigger part of opponents' scouting reports given his breakout performance in 2021-22.
However, he's been much better since the calendar flipped to December in part because he's moved back into the starting lineup due to injuries. While he won't get the benefit of playing with Curry for the next few weeks, he will now have the ball in his hands much more.
The upside of that scenario was obvious against the Raptors. Poole was able to get into a rhythm early and kept it going all night long. His versatile offensive skillset was on full display, as he rained in deep 3-pointers and sliced through the lane to score and create for others.
Poole can't be expected to match Curry's consistency, but he is capable of these big nights and the Warriors will take as many of them as they can get until their MVP returns.