The Golden State Warriors were having a miserable 2019-20 campaign prior to the untimely suspension of the season. After imposing their dominance on the NBA for the last half-decade, Golden State found itself in unfamiliar territory at the bottom of the league standings. In fact, right before the league-hiatus, the Warriors became the only team officially eliminated from playoff contention.
Nonetheless, Golden State took advantage of Stephen Curry’s early-season hand injury to step on the breaks and tank the season away. The Dubs used this season primarily to develop their young players in the hopes that they could become contributors next season.
While majority of this campaign has been clouded with darkness, there were also some bright spots along the way. Here are the four best performances of the Warriors this 2019-20 season:
1. D’Angelo Russell’s career-high 52 point explosion versus Minnesota
This one came early in the season. It also has an ironic twist to it, given that D’Angelo Russell put on this virtuoso performance against what eventually became his future team.
In his return from a three-game absence, Russell poured in a career-high 52 points on 19-of-37 field goal shooting, to go along with seven triples. He went bonkers in the fourth quarter and the overtime session, where he scored 21 of his 52, while knocking down several crazy pull-up threes.
Unfortunately, Golden State came up short in overtime on this one and even failed to close out the game with a 4-point lead with less than 30 seconds remaining in regulation.
Through his short stint in Golden State, Russell put plenty of gaudy scoring statlines like this one. However, the Warriors just did not feel like D’Lo was a great fit for them, trading him to the Timberwolves at this year’s February deadline.
2. Happy Birthday Eric Paschall
The Warriors discovered a diamond in the rough in this early season win over the Portland Trail Blazers. Rookie and 2nd round pick Eric Paschall dropped a career-high 34 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, while shooting 11-of-19 from the field. Oh, and he had this career ball-game in no less than his birthday.
The 23-year old forward displayed his entire offensive arsenal and played with a lot of energy to lead the young Warriors to their first home (and second overall) win of the season. He made threes, some mid-range jumpers, and bullied his way into the paint.
More importantly, Paschall knocked down some crucial baskets and free throws down the stretch for Golden State. And in just his 7th NBA game, Dubs fans showered him with “MVP!” chants.
This is undoubtedly Paschall’s breakout game for the Warriors. With the way he has performed this season, expect the former Villanova Wildcat to be a major piece for the Dubs in 2020-21.
3. Damion Lee Redemption Game against Philadelphia
In Golden State’s previous contest against the Toronto Raptors, which was also Stephen Curry’s return game from a 58-game absence, Damion Lee heard a ton of criticism for his horrendous stretch in the closing seconds in the fourth quarter. Lee missed two crucial free-throws and a three-pointer, and turned the ball over in the span of 15 seconds that ultimately lost them the game and spoiled Curry’s return.
After hearing all that his naysayers said, Lee bounced back in a big way. He top-scored for Golden State with 24 points on 10-of-17 shooting to lead them to a come-from-behind 118-114 win over the Philadelphia 76ers.
While the stat-line wasn’t eye-popping, just the narrative of the former G-League standout putting on a redemption performance, especially after hearing all the negative chatter for nearly 48 hours, warrants a spot on this list.
Eric Paschall gave a shoutout to Lee’s performance, while his brother-in-laws Stephen Curry and Seth Curry also showed the 28-year old some love for his impressive bounce-back game.
4. Great Team win over the Denver Nuggets
This is arguably Golden State’s best team win of the season. The Warriors took down a Western Conference powerhouse in the Denver Nuggets by piecing together a solid team performance. Golden State got major contributions across the board, with six players scoring in double-figures.
Eric Paschall and Andrew Wiggins led the charge with 22 points each. Wiggins also added five rebounds and 10 assists in what became his best all-around game as a Warrior.
Golden State trailed by 12-points in the third period, but went on a 16-4 run to end the quarter with an 82-81 lead. The Warriors continued to pour it on in the fourth, with Pascall scoring nine in the period to help secure the upset.