Last night, the Golden State Warriors were victorious in a preseason game at Portland as they defeated the Trail Blazers.

The first unit started out the game with some good energy but still allowed the team to put itself into a small hole because of their porous execution on offense as well as the fact they were a step slow defensively in the first quarter, which resulted in a 28-20 Blazers lead after the initial period.

Nonetheless, the Dubs managed to get a solid win thanks in large part to the contributions of their bench players (more on this later). Here are a few thoughts from last night’s game.

Things Should be O-Klay

Watching Klay Thompson run off screens is easily becoming one of the most beautiful things in basketball. He’s not yet on the level of say Ray Allen in terms of setting up defenders, but he has become a master at rubbing players off screens and curling off them for open jumpers. In addition, he is able to drift either to his right or left, which makes it even tougher for defenders to challenge his shots.

Starting Big Men’s Defense

The Warriors came out challenging every pick-and-roll as well as pick-and-pops last night, but when the starting big men on the interior (either David Lee or Festus Ezeli) were asked to rotate to an open man that either drove to the basket or took an open shot, they often closed out a little too hard; which resulted in fouls. It’s a relatively small sample size, but it’s important to get this corrected, otherwise opponents will be able to draw fouls or simply pump fake and go right by them to create damage on the interior.

Invite Only: Throwing Carl Landry a Block Party

Carl Landry had a deceptively good game, registering 18 points, and six rebounds on 6-for-11 field goal shooting and 6-for-8 free throw shooting. Mind you, when Landry created offense himself either on the block or a little further out on the floor, he was forced into tough shots or just simply got them rejected altogether. However, when others drove down the lane and fed him at the rim, he was able to finish or get himself to the line. Needless to say, pairing him with Stephen Curry or Jarret Jack will be a must at all times.

David Lee’s Defense Rests Your Honor

David Lee is an impressive offensive player given his ability to occasionally post up and his uncanny finishing ability around the basket. But his defense is not a thing of beauty at all. Last night, he was very much involved in defending the pick-and-roll as he hedged and even trapped late in the shot clock to help bail out his teammates, which were huge positives, but individually he was just the path of least resistance for the Blazers big men.

Make or Fast Break

Klay Thompson, Brandon Rush and Richard Jefferson will provide Warriors fans with a multitude of highlights this season out in transition. Jefferson may be an older player, but he still gets off the floor and finishes well when he gets all the way to the rim, and same thing for Rush. Thompson can finish around the rim, but his value will be on full display when he gets out in transition and fires away from 3-point range, which looks like it might happen often (he was 2-for-4 last night from long-range by the way).

Dray Day

Draymond Green is a player. He may be somewhat undersized, but he challenged every shot by LaMarcus Aldridge, bumped cutters, retreated to the paint when a teammate got screened down low and then quickly retreated back to his initial assignment once his teammate got back to his man. Also, he hedged out in pick-and-roll defense and quickly recovered back to his man and also found time to make crisp rotations and close out on shooters. He still needs to learn how to defend without fouling (16 minutes, four fouls) but he flashes some serious potential and might make many teams realize they made a mistake by allowing him to fall into the second round.

Quick Notes

  • The Warriors bench competed last night. They played hard, defended well and created a few transition opportunities. They scored at the rim — the Dubs produced 40 points in the paint — and challenged shots all the while cleaning up the glass.
  • Andris Biedrins got a DNP.
  • With their combination of athletes and shooters, one wonders if the Warriors will be one of the quirkiest teams in the league by bombing away from 3-point range but also consistently getting to the free throw line.
  • It may or may not mean anything, but Marc Jackson played David Lee, Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes, Brandon Rush, Carl Landry and Jarret Jack 25 minutes or more. One would have to think that he has perhaps figured out his rotation players, but now wants to mix and match to see how the players perform with one another.

It’s important not to read too much into things during the preseason, but so far the Dubs have looked like expected; but that’s not to say that this will absolutely translate into regular season. Indeed, seeing how they make adjustments on the fly against teams looking to exploit their weaknesses is still a point of concern and so is their inability to defend possessions with multiple ball screens. Nonetheless, the Golden State Warriors have the look of a serious NBA team that plans on making some noise during the 2012-13 campaign.

Now wait until Andrew Bogut joins the fold…

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