The Warriors didn't have Stephen Curry. Or Klay Thompson. Or Draymond Green. Or D'Angelo Russell.
But they did have Eric Paschall on his birthday.
The rookie forward celebrated with a massive 34-point, 13-rebound performance in Golden State's stunning 127-118 win over Portland on Monday. Paschall's effort marked the highest-scoring game by a rookie this season, as well as the second-best rebounding night among first-year players. He is the first second-round rookie to put up at least 34 points and 10 rebounds since Dino Radja in 1994.
Such a night was hardly expected from the once-proud Warriors dynasty, who have fallen on hard times faster than any could have predicted. Thompson's torn ACL and Kevin Durant's offseason departure had already dented preseason expectations. Early season injuries to Curry, Green and Russell all but decimated them.
Yet instead of succumbing to their wave of bad luck, the Warriors responded by going toe-to-toe with the same team they faced in last year's Western Conference finals. Paschall led the way, hitting all eight of his free throw attempts as well as four of his six tries from 3-point range. Fellow rookie Ky Bowman, who went undrafted in June, added 19 points, eight assists and four rebounds.
"We've got a group of young guys that don't get this opportunity to come out here and play 40 minutes and just come out here and ball," Paschall said after the game. "To do it against these guys -- that's a heck of a team -- we're just doing a great job of staying together and keeping a positive attitude."
Paschall has perhaps taken the most advantage of that opportunity, scoring 20 or more points in three of the last four games. Taken 41st overall in the 2019 Draft, the 23-year-old's NBA high tops his collegiate best of 31 points at Fordham (before he transferred to Villanova).
"Great birthday gift, right here," Paschall said with a smile after the win.