Chris Paul masters the QB1 role and ends the Warriors’ six-game losing streak originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area
SAN FRANCISCO – Great quarterbacks no longer have to have prototypical size. They are no longer statues in the pocket or gunslingers who let it rip like your uncle at a Fourth of July event. Now it’s about keeping the ball out of the opponent’s hands and playing mistake-free football for as long as possible.
Chris Paul might as well have been in shotgun on the Chase Center hardwood Monday night, watching what lay ahead and hitting his All-Pro receivers on the fly.
“I try to make smart decisions and stuff like that, but also make a conscious effort to advance the ball and get it up the field so it’s balanced,” Paul said. “It’s pushing it forward, it’s trying to put pieces together. It’s like a quarterback who doesn’t want to throw interceptions, especially when you have the shooters and scorers we have on this team.”
The Warriors’ offense quickly got going after the opening tip, and Paul was the one conducting a Golden State symphony in sync. Within the first three and a half minutes, the Warriors had already made four 3-pointers – three from Klay Thompson and one from Steph Curry. Paul assisted with all four.
Yes, Curry led the Warriors in scoring, as he did in all 13 games he played this season. He needed just 14 shot attempts to score a game-high 32 points. Curry has scored at least 20 points in every game he has played this season, made at least four 3-pointers in every game, and has scored 30 or more points in over half of his games. But the scoring story revolved around his backcourt mate, who finally scored 20 points for the first time this season.
That’s right. In his 14th game this season, Klay Thompson got the win his first 20-point performance on 7-of-16 shooting and was 5 of 11 from behind the 3-point line. Paul assisted on five of his seven made shots and CP3 found Curry for three of his five made 3-pointers.
Thompson has had countless 20-point nights in his more than a decade of wearing the Warriors jersey. He has shared the floor with other star scorers and a handful of great rental players. Not a pure pass-first point guard like this, though.
“Well, it makes your job as a shooting guard a lot easier when you have one of the best passers of all time orchestrating out there,” Thompson said. “I think we’re still building great chemistry. It’s obviously still incredibly early in the season. We’re almost at the quarter mark, so it’s important that we rely on Chris with all of his experience and continue to play him and make him the quarterback.”
Golden State’s offense hummed at times against Houston, throwing the ball around the court before Klay hit an open three-pointer. Still, the Warriors’ 26 assists were 1.5 fewer than the previous season’s average. But Paul’s biggest advantage is that, as a 38-year-old guard, he ensures that things don’t get too out of control in the Warriors’ chaotic offense. The Warriors only turned the ball over eight times, seven fewer than average. Paul’s first and only sales opened the fourth quarter.
At that point, he had already posted a double-double with 12 points and 10 assists on the night. Paul played 34 minutes, his third-most playing time this season, and finished the game with 15 points, 12 assists, three 3-pointers, six rebounds, two steals and the only turnover. The Point God was a plus-12 in a five-point win, ending a six-game losing streak.
Paul’s 12 assists accounted for 35 points. Rookie Brandin Podziemski was second with nine assist points. No other Warrior had more than three assists in the win.
“It was a masterclass,” Curry said of Paul’s performance.
To finally get out of the 12-day slump, the Warriors’ offense found its way, even on a night where they missed numerous shots at the basket and also at the tip-ins.
Brock Purdy on Sunday became the first 49ers quarterback since Joe Montana in 1989 to record a perfect passer rating in a game. On Monday, CP3 played Hall of Fame-level QB1 in San Francisco so the Warriors could show some home pride. shaking off the stench of losers and calling themselves winners for the first time in a long time.