Presumably, the Golden State Warriors will face adversity in a basketball game this year. It’s safe to assume it won’t be every night that the Bay Area franchise wins by 45 points against a Western Conference heavyweight. Klay Thompson probably doesn’t make six 3-pointers, and Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant most likely don’t add a combined 35 points on 10-of-18 shooting in every contest. There will be games when the offense sputters and the team struggles to secure rebounds and protect the rim (ie. versus Toronto last week).
But on Tuesday night at Oracle Arena, the Warriors’ dream season took it’s initial step towards realization in a 45-point throttling of a Pacific Division “Superteam.” If this game was any indication, the rest of the NBA had better prepare for a nightmare of an opponent.
Here are 10 thoughts on a meaningless preseason game:
1. It was only a preseason game, and the LA Clippers’ very first of the year. Neither team’s rotations are set, and players on both sides were still finding their sea legs. But still. At one point last night, the Dubs were up 89-36 in an actual NBA game, and mostly against the Clippers’ starters. That’s the potential lethal quality of this Warrior’s plus-KD squad. When everything is clicking — when the defense is swarming the passing lanes and snatching rebounds; when Draymond is bringing the ball up in transition, scrambling the opposing defense; when Steph and Klay and KD are bombing away from distance with nary a hand in their face — this team is going to be win, and win big.
2. Here’s the Dubs’ 2016-2017 offense in a nutshell. Two guys jump at Steph. Steph waits for JJ Reddick to react. Reddick has to decide in a split second whether to leave Klay open in the corner for a three or Durant open at the top for a three. Reddick sticks with Klay so Steph passes to KD, who’s wide open. Splash.
3. Oh, hey, it’s mobile Steph Curry! Remember when he couldn’t move like this in the playoffs?
4. KD is very long. On a couple of instances where he needlessly jumped at a shooter, he was still able to contest the shot because of the sheer length of his arms. It’s like he’s playing basketball while holding two broom sticks above his head.
5. In one innocuous play in the first quarter, Zaza Pachulia caught the ball on the perimeter and drove towards the rim before passing the ball out to an open teammate on the wing. Not a big deal … except it’s been years since we saw a full time center pass the ball on the move for the Dubs. Bogut is a fantastic passer but does most his damage out of stationary positions. And Festus probably feels about passing the way I do about an Ike’s Place sandwich: nope, not sharing. Zaza’s ability to swing the ball on the run should add another fun wrinkle to Kerr’s pass-heavy offense.
6. Steph’s scoring (30.1 ppg) might come down a notch this year, but I’d expect his assists average to improve. There are going to be open shooters (not named Harrison Barnes) every time he drives towards the basket.
7. I’m looking forward to the Ian Clark-Patrick McCaw Minutes Battle Royale. Early word out of camp was that Clark was showing flashes, but McCaw, at 6″7′, has the length Kerr covets and is a smart passer with a semi-respectable stroke (36% threes at UNLV, 2-of-4 in preseason).
8. A big part of me wishes the Warriors would’ve found a way to keep Mo (who signed for the minimum with LA). Dude was always good for funny quotes and ear-to-ear smiles after a three-point bomb.
9. A bit of tricky editing, but it’s always good to laugh at the coach’s son.
10. It’s still so weird to see Kevin Durant in a Warriors uniform. It’s like waking up and finding out the captain of the cheer team is now your girlfriend. What did I ever do to deserve this?