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January 31, 2023

BOSTON — As the Warriors search for solutions against the Boston Celtics’ much-vaunted defense, old-school might be the answer even to the series on Friday night in Game 4 of the NBA Finals.

Jordan Poole entered Wednesday night’s Game 3 loss at 3:48 in the first quarter with the Warriors trailing 26-11, hoping for any kind of offensive spark. On the Warriors’ second offensive possession after entering the game, Poole came out of a screen from Kevon Looney over the top of the arc, cut to his right, dribbled and got up .

His shot slammed across the front of the rim. Good process, bad result.

No matter the year, as long as Steph Curry and Klay Thompson stay with the Warriors, Golden State will be known for their 3-point prowess. Poole, or “Kid Splash”, entering the fray only adds to this narrative. Draining shots from long range certainly never hurts and will be a welcome sight to get back in the win column.

Going back in time and taking advantage of the mid-range jump shot seems like an even better cure.

“Yeah, being able to take what the defense gives us,” Poole said Thursday when asked if the midrange game could help him and others get going offensively. “Some tall ones are deeper than others, some are a bit taller.

“Being able to be aggressive and also reach the rim is something that can help.”

The Celtics’ big men play a ton of drop coverage on the Warriors, looking to take advantage of their wing length and inviting a challenge in the paint. It also leaves the midrange more open a handful of times.

In the regular season, the Warriors averaged 10 midrange attempts per game and shot 39.1%. Throughout the playoffs, that number rose to 11.1 attempts and a 46.9% clip. And against the Celtics, they’re now putting in 12.7 midrange jumpers per game and making 50% of them.

Even in their last loss two nights ago, the Warriors went 8 for 14 on shots from mid range. More the merrier, the merrier.

While the Warriors shot 39.1% from average range in the regular season, they converted 43.8% of their shots in the unrestricted paint zone. Those success rates tipped against the Celtics. They only convert 33.3% of their chance in the unrestricted paint zone.

Boston blocked seven shots Wednesday night and has now crushed the Warriors 20 times in three games. Roberts Williams Center has 10 such blocks. Weak layups, soft floats – these won’t work. They haven’t yet, and they won’t last long in these finals, though.

“You just have to know where he is,” Andrew Wiggins said Thursday when asked if he was strong against Williams. “When he’s around the rim you can’t come up soft. He’s really good at blocking shots, protecting the rim. You have to be smart with the things you do around the rim.”

Down 15 points and looking to come back up, Wiggins did exactly what he talks about with Williams. He didn’t try to get around it, he tried to be shy. He attacked and put his body into Williams, putting his leading left shoulder into his chest and earning a foul call while throwing a layup attempt.

If the Warriors want more success against Williams, Wiggins and the others need to remember this play. , even if the results are not what he wanted.

RELATED: Draymond’s Required Game 4 Aggressive Balancing

Poole is shooting 55% on mid-range shots in the playoffs. Curry is right behind him at 51.9%, followed by Wiggins at 48.5% and Thompson at 47%.

Frank Ricard and Mitch Martin don’t show up Friday night at TD Garden, but the Warriors’ return to the old school with their midrange play worked against that stellar Celtics defense.

They can’t stop now.

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