Depending on whom you ask, the shortest offseason in Golden State Warriors history has officially ended tonight! Some would argue it doesn’t end until 22 days from now, others would say it already ended last week. Regardless, this was the first time in a (seemingly) long time we’ve got legitimate on-court proceedings to report on!
First and foremost: preseason basketball is all about health. News broke today of the first unfortunate injury tragedy, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist — it happens every year. In this regard, both the Warriors and the Toronto Raptors were WINNERS: as long as all ~30 players walk away from the game sans limp, there are no losers in a preseason game.
For those of you who only count wins and losses by the numbers on the scoreboard, the Warriors won, 95-87.
Tim Roye noted the Warriors' coaches accentuated their focus on a more organic offensive system; without rigidly structured offensive play calls. Early on, apparently, it appeared the players had only heard "no offense", missing 7 of their first 10 shots and falling behind 14-7 until Stephen Curry decided he'd seen enough and promptly hit two threes in a row.
Andrew Bogut, after reportedly losing 22 lbs after watching a documentary on sugar this offseason, started out active, with a missed shot, an unsuccessful lob (batted away), a batted-down pass to a cutting Harrison Barnes offensively; and a swatted pass on the defensive end in the first 6 minutes.
Dubs ready. pic.twitter.com/0IKhcPBrmy— Golden St. Warriors (@warriors) October 6, 2015
Marreese Speights was downright Speightsian, coming into the game and immediately absorbing shot attempts en route to inspiring a mini-run by the Warriors substitutes. Tim Roye noted Speights is trying to expand his game before Mo promptly dropped a dime (apparently) to a cutting Leandro Barbosa. 22-21, Warriors after the first quarter.
Jim Barnett: "You have to get back in your rhythm ... They're gonna be nervous." ... "Klay and Steph are shooting better than ever ... Jason Thompson has been very good in training camp this week."
The Raptors attacked Barnes in the post with Luis Scola. That matchup was close to a push. According to my sources (Badly Browned, in the gamethread), the Warriors were quick to double the post when Barnes was ISO'd against Scola.
The Warriors stabilized going into the second quarter, mostly through the calming, surgical, methodology of Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston, before Curry and Draymond Green went semi-nuclear at the end of the half, ballooning the lead up to 10.
Then Steph fouled DeRozan on a half-court prayer with 0.1 seconds left in the half. "Ref-You-Suck" chants rained down in a pre-season game. DeRozan cut the lead to seven heading into the tunnel, 53-46. The Warriors held the Raptors to 42% shooting in the half, while shooting 50% themselves despite a lethargic start to the game (wow, flashbacks).
Minutes into the second half, Cory Joseph coaxed Curry into committing an offensive foul off the ball, leading to Steph's fifth foul. Count me as grateful more than ever that Joseph is now out of the conference — what the Spurs gained with Aldridge, the Warriors gained with Joseph leaving the Spurs.
Barnes made his first field goal of the game on a lefty drive assisted by Green shortly after. In case you're wondering, Green is still good at defense, too, intercepting a Carroll pass for a Curry fastbreak layup moments later.
Steph Curry fouled out halfway through the third quarter, after 20 minutes of playing time--more than enough time to reaffirm that, yes, he's still Stephen Curry.
Barbosa continued his great night, shooting 6-8, and Andre and Shaun continued steadily controlling the game, pulling into the 4th building a 70-61 lead.
Warriors are playing their first game in San Jose in 15 years (since 10/13/00). At the end of the third, Golden State leads Toronto 70-61.— GSWStats (@gswstats) October 6, 2015
Into the early fourth, Speights was still being Speights on defense, and the Warriors' offense was still using horns and motion sets profusely.
Three minutes into the fourth, with a nine point lead, Roye characterized the game as "ragged", as the crowd lulled and the players and coaches were obviously weary from the first 39 minutes of competitive basketball played in over two months.
Around the middle of the fourth, James Michael McAdoo finished off a fastbreak with a strong and-1, then stripped a ball to force a 24-second violation, then finished through contact again to rope in six points and a forced turnover in a three-possession burst.
McAdoo exited the game with four minutes left and the Warriors up 11, with 10 points and a lot more reason to believe in his ability to become replacement level (or above) than just a few weeks ago, when GSoM was firmly divided over if his value was non-zero.
On the topic of showing a pulse, Rush continued to like, play basketball and stuff, well into the end of the 4th quarter.
The Warriors finished it off, without much excitement or the Raptors really making an earnest push.
The Knee-Jerk Reactions:
- Barbosa, at 3,192 years young, still has it. For those of you worried about Beep Beep's first step, and also disregarding sample sizes, fear not! He had a few nice drives in the first half and a couple threes overall.
- Harrison Barnes, whose every twitch on the hardwood is no doubt being appraised by Myers and co., looked meh (dare I say... replaceable?). Starting off 0-for-3, his best play of the first half was a drive-and-dish to Barbosa for a nice assist.
- Klay Thompson, who scored the first points of the game and six of the Warriors' first seven points, came in with his trademark unconscious shooter's mentality.
- Festus Ezeli, using his baby-soft hands, caught another pass in the paint for a solid score in the second quarter. The game may be slowing down for him in that respect.
- Brandon Rush hit a three, and Salt Lake City turned in its grave.
- Livingston didn't unveil the new 3 point look this game, unfortunately. Another case of the Boy Who Cried "Yeah, I've been working on my 3-pointer this offseason"? I'll give him the benefit of the doubt. But then again, fool me once, shame on Lee. Fool me twice...
- McAdoodle-******-doo. I didn't think he could become a contributor on this team. I'm far from convinced he will, but he reminded me tonight his career has a heartbeat.
- Progressive's Flo is somehow even more obnoxious in purely phonic form.
The Bubble Watch:
- If playing time and order of checking-in has any correlation to roster bubble order, Brandon Rush and Ian Clark have firmly laid down roots as the frontrunners to make the roster. Rush and Clark were the only of the Staten-Mitchell-Gordon-Eddie-Babb-Rush-Clark heptagon to see any first-half action in a game where the starters had a 25 minute cap.
Ben Gordon checked in and finished the final six minutes of the game, going 0-for-1.
The fact that none of the other four guys saw any burn with the starters hints that the coaching staff, despite management continually heaping players on them, have more or less solidified the final roster. More mixing and matching would have been indicative of a team unsure of its latter-half rotation.
Regardless, Rush outshined the other two players who got to see the floor.
Voices of GSoM:
Top 10 Gamethread Soldiers: