Jordan Poole’s game-winning layup lifts Warriors to win over Pelicans

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – APRIL 25: Golden State Warriors’ Jordan Poole (3) goes up for a dunk against the New Orleans Pelicans in the first quarter of their NBA game at Chase Center in San Francisco, Calif., on Friday, May 14, 2021. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)

On it’s face, Friday night’s penultimate game of the season two days before a dramatic finale against the Grizzlies in a winner-take-all game to decide the No. 8 seed was meaningless. It doesn’t matter that the Warriors beat the New Orleans Pelicans 125-122 at Chase Center. They still need a victory Sunday to earn the more favorable spot in the play-in tournament.

The goal was just to get through the game healthy, and the Warriors rested Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins ahead of what is essentially Golden State’s first playoff game. A brief scare aside, Jordan Poole used the opportunity to set a new career-high in points, score the game-winning basket and highlight why he deserves to be a part of the Warriors’ future.

Starting for the seventh time this season, Poole scored 38 points to carry Golden State (38-33) to a win over the shorthanded Pelicans (31-40) playing without stars Zion Williamson, Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram.

“He was aggressive from the start,” head coach Steve Kerr said of Poole, who scored 14 points in the first quarter. “It was great to have Jordan out there because he can…

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