Huge boost for the Warriors if Gary Payton II makes a comeback : NBA Finals in 2022
Against the Celtics, the Warriors experimented a lot in Sunday’s 107-88 Game 2 victory. Al Horford and Marcus Smart, both of whom were practically encouraged to take open 3-pointers in Game 1, scored a combined 10-for-15 from 3-point range. Draymond Green was able to get more involved in the defence of Boston’s superstars because Klay Thompson was playing against the bigs.
But the most encouraging development for the Warriors on Sunday was Gary Payton II’s 3-for-3 performance in Game 2, which resulted in seven points, three assists, and three rebounds. In 25 minutes, he had a plus-15 rating.
In the second game of the conference semifinals against Memphis, Gary Payton fractured his elbow and has not played since. In spite of the fact that he wasn’t at 100 percent on Sunday, he showed that his health is good enough for him to remain a key part of the rotation going forward.
Payton described how she felt as saying, “I feel normal, back to myself.”. “The elbow is not a concern for me. It’s fine, I think.”
In this series, Jordan Poole has become a conundrum. In the first game, he was a turnover machine on defence and a little better on offence. Payton is a Poole replacement for Kerr, and in the second half on Sunday, Payton replaced Poole in the rotation. In the third quarter, Golden State went from a two-point lead to a 23-point lead and my guess is that Payton would’ve been in the final lineup over Poole had the game been closer down the stretch. Poole was held out for nearly the entire quarter.
This alters the dynamic for the remainder of the story. Payton’s inclusion over Poole in the final lineup leaves the Celtics with only one defender to hunt in Curry, and we’ll have to stop talking about Curry as a weak link in the Celtics’ defensive scheme. Yes, he’s a small defender, but he does a good job. Getting cakewalk buckets on him is impossible.
The second quarter was Payton’s most crucial period. Payton came on at the 6:57 mark, with the Warriors down five points, after the team had only managed four points in the non-Curry minutes. Payton ran the floor and sat in a gap along the baseline as they went on a 10-0 run, which included the sequence above and the one below.