Golden State Warriors (0-0, 0-0 Road) vs New Orleans Pelicans (0-0, 0-0 Home)
How to Watch?
Date: Friday October 28th, 2016
Location: Smoothie King Center, New Orleans
Time: 6:30 PST
TV: ESPN and CSBA Radio: 95.7 THE GAME
This game absolutely could not come sooner.
The Warriors dropped their home opener bigly, in what I’m assuming was simply to test the reflexiveness of Warrior fandom hand-wringing. Test results: yeah, one game is enough.
And under the circumstances, hysteria wasn’t entirely inappropriate. It wasn’t enough that they lost; it’s that they laid an egg so mammoth that it could have hatched Godzilla’s firstborn. While sloppiness, growing pains, and opening-night jitters were all to be expected, getting entirely dismantled in a way that potentially exposed deep and insurmountable flaws in the makeup of this team, this supposed superteam of charlatans and —
Okay okay. One game! Calm down! This is still the team we all thought they would be, one with unprecedented offensive capabilities, great experience and depth, star power, brashness, and supernova potential, but also with a dearth of rim protection, big man depth, and — especially when facing the most ruthless of coaches in Gregg Popovich, who will reveal your weakness and exploit it until your embarrassing demise — below-average rebounding, and maybe below-average hustle.
But hey. The Warriors’ three-point shooting was anomalously poor, their typically dependable bench leader Andre Iguodala stunk up the joint, and they were playing a man in Kawhi Leonard who looked like he could have given GSW a run for their money if he played them one on five. Luckily we don’t have to see him every night.
Oh, instead we get Anthony Davis, a guy whose stat line looked like someone accidentally added up three other players’ numbers. 50 points, 16 rebounds, seven steals, five assists, four blocks, three kittens saved from a burning house, one dragon slain, and a side of fries. Anthony Davis played like someone who would do absolutely everything to win.
And, sadly, he did not. The Pelicans dropped their opener in Denver, 107-102.
After an injury-riddled underperformance in 2015-2016, the Pelicans retooled with some names that only Basketball Twitter could get excited about: E’Twaun Moore, Solomon Hill,
Justin Holiday [AUTHOR EDIT: Oh yeah, “J Holiday” is JRUE, whom I’d completely forgotten about], and Terrence Jones. Even if this squad proves to be overachievers, I think it’s fair to say that this is not an ideal scenario for a small-market team with a cornerstone player who should be chasing championships throughout his prime, but instead will be chasing the 8th seed and staring at unmet potential, on and off the court.
The Pelicans and Anthony Davis, OKC and Kevin Durant, and this current Warriors squad underscores the tenuousness of NBA success and the importance of positioning one’s team to make that move toward championship contention as soon as that window opens. Oklahoma City was SO close to bullseyeing that womp rat, but they missed their shot, made a few decisions that hurt them from getting further, ran into some bad luck with injuries, and boom — Durant opts to try a different path. One with a rooting interest must be vigilantly concerned with Davis’s future, and I do not envy them one bit.
But our championship-contending superteam got blown out in the home opener and we’re all puckered up tighter than a snare drum? I think we can be thankful for what we have: a Godzilla of a team the likes of which has never been seen. For all we know, this Spursian dismantling is the most drama we’ll experience all season long, with nary another concern on the horizon until June.
Then again, this window doesn’t last forever. It has the potential to last longer than most championship runs, but it can just as easily end in a flaming ball of whatcouldabeen. So yes: concern is warranted. I can’t wait to play some more games so that we can forget all about it.