By: Andy Liu
The books written on this Golden State Warriors era are going to fill up entire libraries. Stuffed into the last two seasons have been the surprising rise and the even more shocking fall, a sequence of events worth a lifetime of memories. The scene at the first Kevin Durant game at Oracle Arena signified another wave of stories and the start of something worth remembering for a long, long time.
Just a few minutes in, Draymond Green grabbed a rebound, outletted to Stephen Curry sprinting up the sideline who drove in transition and found Durant ready to fire away on the right above-the-break line. The Warriors ran the score up to 89-36 before stepping aside for a garbage time unit that will get a lot of practice. This season, the postseason, and the rest of this era, won’t come as easy as it did tonight. The Kevin Durant Warriors just make it look that way.
As seen in the first game, Thompson sacrificed nothing, jacking up any shot he had, though to no surprise as they were all open. Dray played as he usually does, pushing the ball and finding open cutters off PNR dives. The star quartet rarely found themselves in an iso situation, with the first coming in the 3rd quarter on a baseline KD J over Blake Griffin. THe person content to sit back and enjoy the show was Steph. Outside of breaking Brandon Bass’ ankles on a vintage “Hey, I can move sideways without pain again!” move, he took just 4 shots in the 18 first half minutes to go with 5 assists.
Beyond that, the main takeaway of this massacre was the ridiculous ease with the GSW generated open looks. There was rarely any trick plays or anything decidedly difficult. They backdoor cut, backscreened, and made sure to space the floor smartly around all PNRs. The avalanche of open shots was almost intoxicating. Guarding these Warriors isn’t so much a pick your poison but a buffet of torture devices with which you are forced to choose in preparation for your own death. And perhaps the most painful one? The Death Lineup 2.0 on the open floor.
Completely rendering opponents useless in transition, a fivesome of Dray flying down in transition flanked by Steph and KD, with Klay in the corner, and Iguodala streaking towards the rim, the 2016-17 Golden State Warriors are the Showtime Lakers on the world’s finest and most exotic assortment of HGH.
With the defense locked in like a mid-May playoff game and the rotations run by both coaches like a Christmas day rivalry affair, the Warriors took the opportunity to run the smackdown the rest of the NBA has been bemoaning since 7/4/2016. Steve Kerr and the rest of his team pass the first test, albeit it being an open-note practice exam, with flying colors. There will be strifes, obstacles, and the inevitable downs that consume this team in the future.
But for one night, the first night of this new age, Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant’s Warriors unveiled a reckoning that’s poised to shake the NBA for a long time.
Marreese Speights got a rousing standing O and even nailed two treys. The Warriors got David West to replace him and they even look the same. Their game, however, is drastically different. The peaks of Speights will far outweigh West but West’s consistency, passing, and shooting are much more bankable on a game-by-game basis.
Blake Griffin seems to have lost at least a couple inches off his vertical and just doesn’t seem like the same physical specimen he was when he broke into the league.
Zaza Pachulia is cut from the same “play hard but pull lowkey dirty antics” like Andrew Bogut. He might not be able to finish but it looks like he will at least look at the rim. He even drew a shooting foul flopping off Chris Paul. Oh, the irony.
MVP Watch: Patrick McCaw hit a step-back 3.
Incredible crowd for a preseason game with postseason noise on KD’s first make and Steph’s crossover. By the fourth quarter, there was about 5 people left in the lower bowl.