It was literally the same thing — the signs, the whiff of semi-illegal substance in the air, the people, the staff, the writers, everything about Oracle Arena remained just about the same.
My first time back since Stephen Curry pillaged Matthew Dellavedova's soul in the NBA Finals, the Golden State Warriors physical appearance remained as static as ever, the taped up floors sitting next to the court of the NBA champions, and the media room threatening to coll--okay, now I'm going a little too far. Yet the atmosphere remained comfortable. The outside touch bore the same feel but the shine sparkled brighter than ever.
Just hours earlier, Draymond Green lit into the critics, as Stephen Curry, Andrew Bogut, and Klay Thompson had done throughout the week. And perhaps I should have saved this for the first regular season game because those same Warriors went out
As for the game itself, the Warriors looked sluggish as a whole. There wasn't much cohesiveness on offense save for a couple fancy Steph passes throughout and the beginning stages of adrenaline basketball. Beyond that, the defense lagged way behind as it allowed rebound after rebound against an energetic combo of Kenneth Faried and Wilson Chandler. Thompson couldn't buy a bucket or space on offense and Bogut was no match with his size against Faried's quickness.
But forget all about that -- it's the preseason. The hunger and drive that possessed the Warriors to take apart and dismantle teams during meaningless games was noticeably absent, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. These aren't drones put on the basketball court to run the same plays and sets with the same intensity year after year, quarter after quarter. The same humanistic aspect of those biting quotes fell into the play exemplified in the blowout.
After the game, a downtrodden Luke Walton talked about a little bit about Harrison Barnes (day-to-day and he does not know yet if there are going to be tests but it doesn't sound serious as of now). He brought up that the last roster spot battle between Ian Clark and likely Ben Gordon will come down to who plays better in practice and not the scant minutes they play at the end of basketball games.
A minor, but still important point came when Walton specified that communication has been the difference between this year and last. It starts at the back end and he noted that there isn't the same amount of noise and cohesiveness. With two weeks before the season, the concern is starting to build but a team that's scaled the mountaintop is assuredly able to turn that switch on, no matter the worry at this point.
Quick thoughts on some players
Ian Clark looks much bigger and quicker than those Summer League days. Harrison Barnes looks like the exact same player in the minutes before he hurt his knee. Draymond Green is spending a lot of time jawing at referees. Klay Thompson needs a haircut, probably. Jarrell Eddie's release is quick. Festus Ezeli looks quick but still has mediocre hands and can't pass yet. James Michael McAdoo is light on his feet. Andre Iguodala looks aggressive and fresh. Leandro Barbosa does as well, funny considering he and Iguodala are the old vets around here. Shaun Livingston and Marreese Speights combined to shoot one three. Speights made one.
And another one, Stephen Curry went over to Mike Malone before the game, all smiles, for a handshake and hug. If you ever wondered if there was tiff between Malone and the players, yeah, that's not the case.
Walton comments on Lamar Odom
As an aside, Walton was questioned about Lamar Odom's incident and visibly shaken, he called him "a brother" and will send prayers hoping for the best.
Beyond that, not much happened on the court and in the locker room as interviews were cut rather short. To be up front, I'll be trying to incorporate more game quotes, sideline visuals, locker room going ons into my writing while hoping to keep the same type of analysis I've been providing the last couple years. If there is something you want to see me work on or just stop entirely, please throw them in the comments or tweet/email me. I took a bit of a break over the offseason and would love to start this season off on the right foot. One day, I won't be covering a championship team anymore and I might as well take advantage of this opportunity and all you great fans and readers to provide the best.