Warriors observations: Jordan Poole drops 26 in 126-85 win vs. Pelicans

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What we learned as Poole, Warriors blow out Pelicans originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Warriors officially are halfway through their eight-game homestand and with their 126-85 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans, they are now 3-1 during this stretch and are tied for a NBA-best 7-1 overall.

Golden State showed a little bit of everything it has to offer on Friday at Chase Center, from an array of 3-point shooting to their ability to attack the rim to strong defense and to their depth. They also displayed some flashes of areas they need to improve on, such as playing down to their level of competition. However, they quickly snapped out of that after halftime. 

Though it's early in the season and while the Warriors have had a lighter schedule so far, they look like the real deal. The kinks they need to work out will happen with more time and reps, and at this point, the chemistry they already have is a good sign of what is to come. 

Here are three takeaways from their win over New Orleans (1-9):

Steph's rotation change-up

Before the game, Warriors coach Steve Kerr said he was going to experiment with the rotation -- particularly taking Steph Curry out of his regular all-first and late second-quarter minutes. 

We've seen him do that a bit already -- subbing Gary Payton II in at the three-minute mark of the first Wednesday, and Damion Lee in around the same minute mark a few games ago. According to Kerr, doing this is an easy way to keep Curry's minute load down at this point of the season.

In the first quarter, Kerr rejected his initial plan, allowing Curry to play all 12 first-quarter minutes. But Curry was shooting 4-of-6 from three and had 12 quick points, so Kerr didn't want to disrupt the flor. But midway through the third, Kerr brought in Payton. He had an immediate impact.

It's only nine games into the season, but so far taking Curry out of his usual rotation has allowed Curry to keep him minutes to around 33 or 4 per game, and let the Warriors flex their depth muscles and let some of their younger guys get good runs. 

Strength in Numbers is back

The rallying cry that defined the Warriors' championship runs five years ago is back, and couldn't describe the current state of Golden State basketball better. 

While the Warriors might not have the most talented bench in the league, they are sure to have one of the deepest benches. And it was on full display against the Pelicans. 

While Jordan Poole led the way with 26 points, Curry added 19 and Andrew Wiggins had 16, the scoring didn't stop with the starters. It bled into the bench -- and deep into the bench.

Nemanja Bjelica chipped in 13 points and Payton added 17. Every player who saw action on Friday scored. A year ago, scoring -- particularly meaningful scoring contributions -- would have been reserved for a few starters and maybe three players in the second unit. The fact that the Warriors can get buckets from anyone at any moment makes them that much more lethal. 

Defense shouldn't be overlooked

The Warriors held the Pelicans to a combined 35 points through the second and third quarter -- just four points more than they allowed in the entire first quarter. 

Heading into Friday's game, Golden State had a league-best 97.1 defensive rating. It only improved after their win. With so much shooting power, the strength of the Warriors' defense is easy to overlook, but it shouldn't be. The defense against the Pelicans was a good example why.

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It started early, with Jordan Poole tipping the ball away from New Orleans and Draymond Green collecting the steal to lead the Warriors out in transition. Then, it really got going in the second. 

With Green as the anchor and other elite defenders such as Payton and Andre Iguodala, the Warriors have a strong defensive foundation. Then add guys like Bjelica, who had two blocks, and guards like Curry, who also had two blocks, and the defense becomes unrelenting.

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