Jordan Poole Made the Clippers Look Utterly Ridiculous After Being on the Wrong End of Taunting

Golden State Warriors guard Jordan Poole already proved quite a bit to Dubs fans through the first quarter of the 2021-22 NBA season. On Sunday afternoon, he showed the Los Angeles Clippers just how much he has matured.

Poole found himself on the wrong end of some taunting as the Clippers tried to halt the surging Warriors‘ momentum. But he responded like a veteran, sparking a big run and keying the Dubs to yet another one. The moment underscored the year-over-year growth that makes Poole one of the leading candidates for the NBA’s Most Improved Player Award.

Clippers big man taunted Jordan Poole after a big block

The Golden State Warriors are one of the best offensive teams in basketball, ranking second in scoring and offensive rating. But they had a hard time finding the bottom of the cup on Sunday afternoon against the Clippers.

Golden State scored just 44 points in the first half and had just 61 through the first nine minutes of the third quarter. The Clippers made things tough on the Dubs, controlling the interior and contesting everything. They also showed some swagger against the NBA’s best team.

Jordan Poole drove to the basket late in the third period. Clippers reserve center Isaiah Hartenstein met him at the rim and swatted his layup attempt, barking at Poole as the Warriors guard fell to the floor.

Hartenstein received a technical foul for his taunts, but it looked like one of those energy plays that could give the Clippers a lift. Instead, it was Poole who gained confidence from the play.

The former Michigan Wolverine promptly launched an aerial assault that keyed an enormous Warriors run.

Poole made each of his next four attempts from beyond the arc to spark a Warriors run

Did Jordan Poole suddenly discover innate Hulk tendencies after the Hartenstein block? Because he immediately took to smashing the Clippers.

The Warriors led 60-59 when Hartenstein received the technical foul. They finished the quarter on a 15-9 run, thanks mainly to Poole. After making the technical free-throw, the third-year guard made consecutive 3-pointers. Paul George kept LA in the mix with some shot-making of his own. But Poole hadn’t finished his long-range barrage.

The 22-year-old made two more triples in the final 35 seconds of the quarter. After going 1-of-4 in the first half and 1-of-6 at the start of the quarter, Poole made four of his last five attempts (all 3-pointers) to give the Dubs a commanding advantage. Stephen Curry took command from there.

Curry scored 13 points in the final period as the Warriors rolled to their seventh straight victory. He dazzled with some emphatic triples of his own to put a stamp on the contest.

However, while Steph played the role of closer, Poole served as the spark plug. He’s had that kind of impact for the Warriors all season.

Poole is a leading candidate for the Most Improved Player Award

The Warriors celebrate a Jordan Poole 3-pointer during a game against the Los Angeles Clippers
Stephen Curry celebrates after a Jordan Poole 3-point basket against Los Angeles Clippers on November 28, 2021 in Los Angeles, California | Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

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Jordan Poole’s three-level scoring is a massive reason for Golden State’s success. His progression should merit consideration for the Most Improved Player Award.

A rookie Poole struggled to find a rhythm for an injury-riddled Warriors team during the 2019-20 season. He got sent to the G League during the 2020-21 season and could just as easily have wallowed in the developmental ranks. Instead, Poole relished the chance to improve.

The Milwaukee native showed out for the Santa Cruz affiliate. When he returned, he looked like a wholly different and more confident player. After the All-Star break, Poole averaged 14.4 points in 35 games, suddenly cementing himself as a critical cog in the backcourt.

Poole’s stock has only continued to rise this season. Through 20 games, he is averaging 18.1 points and shows more upside as a playmaker, averaging 3.4 assists. He should only be more dangerous if he can improve his 3-point efficiency, considering he’s shooting it at a 33.5% clip.

The numbers are impressive enough. But the gains made in confidence and mindset are the intangible reasons that explain why Poole could be named NBA MIP when all is said and done. He should continue to play a massive role for the Warriors, even when Klay Thompson’s agonizing absence finally comes to an end.

Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference.