Warriors 31-point win over the Lakers is their largest ever on opening night and their largest over the Lakers since 1994— GSWStats (@gswstats) October 31, 2013
Note to the L.A. Clippers: that's how you open a season with marked with high expectations.
From the very first possession of the game with David Lee defending Pau Gasol well in the post, the Golden State Warriors controlled almost every aspect of the game in a rout of the visiting Los Angeles Lakers in front of a vibrant Oracle Arena crowd on opening night.
For the Warriors, the game was an early showcase of the weapons they have at their disposal. They were moving the ball well, despite a few early turnover hiccups. They held the Lakers to 16 points in the first quarter, despite things appearing a bit to easy for the Lakers in the low post at times. The bench came in late in the first quarter and actually expanded the lead, despite an extremely cold first few minutes.
I'm oscillating between thinking "That could not have gone worse" and "That could have been so much worse" #LALvsGSW— Silver Screen & Roll (@LakersBlog_SSR) October 31, 2013
From there, it only got more out of hand as the Warriors' beautiful offensive performance was complemented by a defensive effort that held the Lakers to just 39.3% shooting.
There's not a whole lot of analysis necessary for this one: the highs were like a long-held dream come true; the lows could be dismissed as still working out kinks. It was simply a sign that we were probably justified in our excitement for this season to begin. And as difficult as it is to say that someone has made a "statement win" in the first game of an 82-game season, the Warriors showed that they can destroy the teams they're supposed to beat.
Can the Warriors play a D'Antoni defense for the other 81 games this season? Getting pretty much any shot they want right now.— Fast Break (@GSWFastBreak) October 31, 2013
With that, a few notes from the game before turning our attention to the Clippers:
- Key statistic: The Warriors had 34 assists on 46 made baskets for 53.5% shooting. Anyway you slice it, that's beautiful basketball.
- You got a sense of what an important defensive presence Andrew Bogut is tonight when Jermaine O'Neal was matched up on Pau Gasol instead: Gasol didn't exactly get easy looks against O'Neal, but wasn't exactly stopped either; Bogut just doesn't give ground and really doesn't allow opposing posts to get whatever they want. That's not taking a shot at O'Neal, who generally played good defense - Bogut is just that much better. Even ignoring the offensive end of the court right now, Bogut will be worth every penny of that contract if he continues to play the way he did tonight. Accounting for the offensive side of the ball, his passing and ability to find backcutting teammates is why he's the perfect overall fit for this unit.
People keep asking about whether this team can pick up from where they left off last season with Andre Iguodala serving as backup point guard instead of Jarrett Jack. And I will continue to say that Iguodala's unselfishness and defensive versatility will more than make up for Jack's efficiency on no-no-no-YES shots. This was only one game, but you can see Iguodala's impact on this game even when he doesn't put up gaudy numbers: he pushes every player he's guarding to their weaknesses, rendering them almost entirely inept. Of course, this was the Lakers but it's not an uncommon occurrence of Iguodala and something I will take great pleasure in watching this season.
There isn't a whole lot we can take from this game about rotations or the bench quality against a team that looked generally incapable of stopping anyone, but I do think we have to wonder about how long Mark Jackson & staff will be playing lineups with four bench players in the future. They were actually able to extend the lead to 14 points with the bench in the game in the first half, which is a positive development.
People who know me well probably know that David Lee's...inattentive...defense could be as frustrating for me as Jarrett Jack's shot selection was last season. But let's give credit where it's due: Lee played great defense tonight. A large part of defense is just being in the right spot to challenge a shot, even if you don't get credited for it in the box score.The key tonight was that Lee got to those spots and just didn't back down. It's one game, but it was noticeable and worthy of appreciation at the very least. Let's not go overboard and say he's elite, but he wasn't a liability either, which is a good sign. But I was impressed enough to start thinking about him as the Warriors Wonder early on in this game.
Then Klay Thompson just took over.
Klay Thompson was just unconscious in the first half, a career-high 27 points for a half. He finished with a career-high 38 points in three quarters as the starters were able to get some rest before tomorrow night.
Klay Thompson's 27 first-half points are a career-high for a half. His career-high for a game is 32 (1/29/13 at CLE)— GSWStats (@gswstats) October 31, 2013
We haven't even seen the best of this team yet and likely won't for a while as long as Harrison Barnes (and Festus Ezeli) is out due to injury. This season is only going to get more entertaining folks and we've waited long enough that we deserve to revel in every single moment of it.
But y'all say the Clippers coming out the West eh?— Kobe's Kid (@TheFlyestHoopa) October 31, 2013