The Golden State Warriors roared back from an early double-digit deficit on Tuesday, pulling away from the Oklahoma City Thunder for a 136-125 victory. Here are three reactions from the defending champs' pivotal win in their regular-season finale at Chase Center.

Jordan Poole puts Oklahoma City away

The Warriors aren't in position for a thrilling come-from-behind win if Stephen Curry doesn't dominate the first half. Despite yet another defense selling out to stop him with Golden State short-handed, Curry put up 24 points on 9-of-16 shooting and hit four threes before intermission, an extension of his jaw-dropping performance the last time the Dubs saw the Thunder.

Unlike in early March at PayCom Center, though, Curry got some major help this time around. Poole dropped 21 of his 30 points during Golden State's second-half comeback, with 16 of them coming in the fourth quarter.

The Warriors began the final stanza trailing 106-103, with Curry and Draymond Green getting a rest on the bench—danger time. Instead of letting another game get away with its best players sitting, Golden State buckled down on both ends, Poole leading the charge with eight straight points prior to Curry and Green re-entering with 7:24 left.

His instinctive rejection of a side drag screen with Green the following possession yielded a layup, once again putting the Dubs in front after Oklahoma City had tied the score. Poole put that quick, canny and aggressive approach on display throughout the second half, oozing confidence offensively while also turning up the dial on the other side of the ball.

Mind-bending spin and finish aside, this is the type of active, physical defense Golden State can survive from Poole in the playoffs—especially with Green wrecking offense from all over the floor.

The Warriors are a different beast when Poole not only has it going, but feels he has license to take the wheel. That primary scoring role came clearer to him versus Oklahoma City with Klay Thompson and Andrew Wiggins out.

If Golden State levels up to real title contention in the postseason, it'll be in part because Poole finally managed to find his place in the full-strength Dubs' offensive hierarchy.

Thunder play target practice with Warriors defense

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The Thunder gave the Warriors a preview on Tuesday of what they could see against certain superstar ball handlers in the playoffs. Mark Daignault's team has made hay out of targeting weaker defenders in pick-and-roll all season, often with other perimeter players setting screens on the ball for Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Jalen Williams and Josh Giddey.

Oklahoma City spammed that basic action over and over against the Dubs, most frequently attacking Curry and Poole. Neither had any answer for Gilgeous-Alexander, but they weren't alone. The Thunder's breakout superstar got whatever he wanted offensively, pretty much no matter who he decided to go after.



Golden State eventually resorted to switch-doubles after Gilgeous-Alexander domination is isolation. That strategy didn't work, and neither did simply running an extra defender at him just inside halfcourt.

Williams, burgeoning his late-season push for Rookie of the Year, was also a problem for the Warriors when preying on his defender of choice.

But it wasn't just Oklahoma City's core offensive playmakers who exploited Golden State's lacking point-of-attack defense.

Luguentz Dort went right through Curry on consecutive possessions in the first quarter, creating five points for the Thunder. Even rookie Ousmane Dieng's eyes lit up when he saw Poole pick him up in semi-transition.


This was just another chapter of the same story between these teams when the Dubs are on defense. Oklahoma City's offense is as difficult to deal with as any in basketball, relentlessly creasing the paint to create primary scoring opportunities and spark defensive rotations that lead to open looks elsewhere.

Wiggins was awesome guarding Gilgeous-Alexander in Golden State's win over the Thunder in February. Putting him on the floor with any two of Green, Jonathan Kuminga and Gary Payton II in the postseason will give Warriors foes one less spot to attack, let alone another impact primary defender on the likes of Gilgeous-Alexander.

Donte DiVincenzo, Anthony Lamb and Klay Thompson aren't pushovers in that regard, while Kevon Looney remains an underrated switch defender, even if a hair slower than last season. Steve Kerr has been dealing with alpha dogs targeting Curry in high-leverage games since the dynasty dawned in 2015, too, and pulled out the box-and-one in the second half to slow the Thunder. None of this is new to the Dubs.

Regardless, Golden State isn't going anywhere this season if its level of on-ball defense in Tuesday's first half extends to the playoffs. Fortunately for Dub Nation, the Warriors have the capacity to be much better defending the ball at full-strength. Here's hoping they can still flip that switch when the time comes.

Moses Moody makes his case

Thompson was a late scratch against the Thunder with back soreness, paving the way for different lineup combinations and rotation alignments with Wiggins watching from the Chase Center sidelines. Golden State's surprise starting lineup of Curry, Poole, Lamb, Kuminga and Green quickly put its team in 10-point hole, getting shelved to open the second half.

Who took advantage of this golden opportunity to impress the coaching staff under a postseason-like pressure cooker, though? Moses Moody, the Dubs' third player off the bench on Tuesday.

Moody wasn't quite perfect. He was red meat for Gilgeous-Alexander on multiple switches, got back-doored a couple times away from the ball defensively and at one point failed to set a corner flare screen for a re-locating Poole on the other end, drawing the palpable ire of Green.

Golden State can stomach that stuff if Moody consistently brings the level of confidence and competitive fire he did on Tuesday, though. This was one of several times Moody fought like hell on the offensive and defensive glass, making his physical presence felt more than any other appearance this season.

Getting an offensive rebound off a missed free throw is commendable enough. But corralling it with the off-hand before exploding for a two-handed dunk in traffic? This is the type of play that reminds of Moody's youth and unfulfilled long-term potential.

Moody probably won't start the postseason as part of the regular rotation. But Kerr has never been afraid to push different lineup buttons once the games start to really matter, and don't forget that he had enough confidence in Moody this time last year to dust him off for some sustained run in the Western Conference Finals.

If Moody plays a role any time throughout the playoffs, rest assured the Dubs coaching staff will have remembered the significant impact he made on a high-leverage game Tuesday night.