As Warriors guard Jordan Poole sauntered back onto the court midway through the third quarter Friday night, hundreds of fans stood to applaud.
Minutes earlier, Poole had headed to the locker room with a tweaked left ankle. Now, even in a game that wouldn’t matter for the playoff picture, he was intent on filling the void of the injured Stephen Curry. With Poole leading the way with a career-high 38 points, the Warriors held off the Pelicans for a 125-122 win at Chase Center.
It pushed Golden State’s winning streak to a season-best five games. What made this victory especially enjoyable for the Warriors was that, with a crucial regular-season finale looming Sunday against the Grizzlies, they had sat Curry (bruised tailbone), Draymond Green (finger sprain) and Andrew Wiggins (knee soreness) with minor ailments.
This offered plenty of playing time for Golden State’s youngsters. Free to work off screens, attack in transition and attempt step-back 3-pointers reminiscent of Curry, Poole provided a steady stream of highlights on his way to 12-for-22 shooting (4-for-9 from 3-point range) to go with six assists and four rebounds.
Such a final stat line would’ve been tough to envision early in the third quarter, when Poole went up for a contested rebound, fell backward and twisted his left ankle. After writhing on the floor in pain, he climbed to his feet, walked gingerly along the sideline for a minute or so and disappeared with a…