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Jordan Poole breaks out of slump, delivers timely performance

With the Warriors on a run that pushed their lead to 10 over the Hornets late in the third quarter Wednesday night, Jordan Poole stood near center court and made a request of the sellout crowd at Chase Center.

Get louder. I know y’all can do better than that, so bring the noise.

Poole got what he wanted. And what he deserved. The arena cranked up the volume.

On a night when Stephen Curry and Andrew Wiggins combined for five points in the first half and 14 through three quarters, the Warriors needed someone to keep them in the game and give them a chance at victory.

Poole’s response was a 22-point first half and a season-high 31 for the night, more than enough for the Warriors to overcome their early relapse into a bad habit — 10 first-half turnovers, giving the Hornets 13 points — and come away with a 114-92 win.

The production represented a timely emergence for Poole, who blazed his way through an impressive preseason, cementing a spot in the starting lineup, but cooled dramatically through the first six games. As in 40.7-percent shooting from the field, including 24.3 percent beyond the arc — and 2-of-15 from deep over the last three games.

“Jordan was great,” coach Steve Kerr said. “He had such a great preseason shooting the ball, and obviously had a little bit of a slow start from the outside. It was just a matter of time before he got going.”

While Wiggins was totaling 14 points on 4-of-12 shooting, and Curry was playing “under the weather,” finishing with 15 points on 6-of-15 shooting, including 3-of-11 from distance, Poole stepped into the efficiency void.

Poole was 11-of-21 from the field, including 7-of-16 from deep. After making his first shot, a 3-pointer from 23 feet, 49 seconds after tipoff, the sight of the ball going through the hoop seemed to energize him, as he went into full-throttle scoring mode.

“Sometimes they don’t go in,” he said, referring to his early-season woes. “I play (NBA)2K a lot, all the time, and sometimes they don’t go in. We shoot all the time in practice, in the games, in workouts.

“We play 82 games. There’s going to be some nights when they don’t go in. That’s what I have to learn as a shooter, very early on, especially being with Steph and Klay (Thompson). There’s some nights when they just will not go in. And then you get back to your regularly scheduled programming.”

Poole recalled hearing Thompson discuss his struggles, including the slump that preceded his record night in Chicago in 2018, when he drained a record 14 3-pointers.

It’s part of the process.

In addition to his scoring, Poole produced a bonus: a career-high four steals, which surely aided his team-best plus-28 over 32 minutes.

“I’ve been wanting to do that since my rookie year,” Poole said. “Everybody in Chase is back and you feel the energy. You feel how electric it is. They were a huge part of our win tonight. They’re so loud and so consistent in their cheering.

“Once you hear that and you feel that, especially on the court, (Gary Payton II) was getting steals, we’re getting fast-break layups, we’re getting 3s, we’re getting dunks. I’ve been holding that in for three years. I just wanted to get it out, let Chase Center, let San Francisco, let Oakland, let the whole Bay know that we’re here.”

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