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Chris Paul's Inclusion in Warriors' Closing Lineup Proves his Worth

Steve Kerr experimented with lineups in a preseason game and found success with Chris Paul's late-game performance.

In a thrilling 116-115 victory over the Sacramento Kings, Warriors coach Steve Kerr decided to try out different lineups, resulting in varying levels of success. However, two changes that Kerr made are likely to become regular occurrences in the regular season: Chris Paul starting the game on the bench and finishing it on the floor.

Paul's performance mirrored what he has consistently delivered since entering the NBA in 2005, with 13 points, nine assists, and six rebounds. While there were moments where it was evident that he is still adapting to Kerr's offensive system, his late-game contributions showcased his value to the team.

Surprisingly, Paul wasn't even aware that he would be playing in the fourth quarter, as it hadn't been done in any preseason game thus far. However, his experience as a veteran player has made managing the end of games a staple for him throughout his 19-year career.

The game reached a crescendo when Stephen Curry sank a 3-pointer, sending the Kings back to Sacramento and igniting the Chase Center crowd with an unexpected level of jubilation for a preseason game. Kerr praised the team's performance down the stretch, highlighting the importance of having Paul to organize the team and witnessing Curry's brilliance.

With 5:37 remaining in the game and the Warriors trailing 101-91, Paul replaced Cory Joseph and helped lead the team to outscore Sacramento 25-14 for the remainder of the game. Paul's 3-pointer brought the Warriors within eight points, and his midrange jumper reduced the deficit to five. He also assisted Curry on a crucial triple that narrowed the margin to four and another assist that led to a Curry jumper, bringing the Warriors within two points.

The closing minutes of the game were dominated by the partnership between Paul and Curry, impressing their teammates and observers alike. Dario Sarić commended their execution and described their performance as remarkable and on another level.

Paul's chemistry with Curry was evident throughout the game, as he consistently found ways to get the ball to Curry, even when he was being defended tightly. Kerr praised Paul's ability to enhance Curry's off-ball movement and highlighted a specific play where Paul delivered the ball to Curry in perfect rhythm.

Paul's impact was felt in the plus-minus stat, finishing the game with a plus-9 and a plus-11 in the fourth quarter alone.

Despite struggling to find effective combinations in the first three quarters, Kerr recognized the need to have Paul in the closing lineup. There is no need to experiment with Paul's role when the game is on the line, as his experience and skill set make him a valuable asset in those crucial moments.

Paul expressed his excitement about playing with a talented group of players who understand how to perform in clutch situations. He acknowledged that the team is still in the early stages of their journey and that there will be ups and downs, but he is confident in their ability to grasp the bigger picture.

In conclusion, while Kerr's experimental lineups had mixed results, the late-game performance of Chris Paul emphasized his importance to the team. Paul's partnership with Curry showcased their chemistry and ability to execute under pressure. With Paul's experience and leadership, the Warriors have a valuable asset in their pursuit of success.

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