I can only imagine how DubNation reacted after the Warriors’ 120-73 win over the Clippers last night:
I’ll admit that it can be pretty hard to look at the Golden State Warriors’ 47-point preseason home opener through an objective lens. But let’s give it a shot.
Before tip-off, head coach Steve Kerr told media that it will take this team much longer than anybody expects to mesh -- understandable for a team that has only been playing together for seven days.
“The game is all about familiarity and a year ago we came in here and it was roll the ball out, this is a continuation of 2015. We had virtually the identical roster,” said Kerr. “This is not last year. This is totally different.”
Looking at the box score from last night makes Kerr’s words seem like typical head coach rhetoric. But that is simply not the case.
The league’s reigning most valuable player, Stephen Curry, expanded on his coach’s thoughts after the game:
“We’ve got to remember that we’re still in the first seven or eight days of this so it’s going to continue to get better. Guys will get more comfortable and the nuances of what we do when there is not as much verbal communication on the floor, like knowing where to be, where to cut, where to screen and just how to keep things moving.”
Added Curry, “That will all continue to get better.”
Kerr also mentioned that Kevin Durant specifically still has a lot to learn in terms of spacing and movement, which are two major components of Golden State’s offensive success over the last two seasons.
“Definitely want to stay conscious of always moving, always trying to set screens to free up my teammates,” said Durant. “I let him [Kerr] know that it’s cool to coach me up.”
All-Star forward Draymond Green reiterated the same idea in saying, “It will definitely take a lot more than just two games to figure each other out, and we’ll continue to do that. But the one thing that we want to be a constant is player movement and ball movement. And that has to continue to be the focus.”
Sure, the Warriors dominated just about every facet of last night’s contest. The ball skipped around on offense, somehow always finding someone who was wide open. Then using their length and aggressiveness to wreak havoc on the defensive end.
But it was obvious from the tip that the Clippers were playing with close to zero energy. Last night was not only the Clips’ first game of the preseason, but the first game of a back-to-back exhibition set. Ouch.
But for whatever the Clippers lacked in spunk the Warriors made up for with some typical East Bay funk.
“The biggest thing was our defensive intensity,” Green mentioned after the game. “We stepped it up and did a great job. All in all, a really good job of defending and rebounding and when we do that we can get out and run and make things happen. If we want to reach our full potential, rebounding and defending is going to be really key.”
As the Warriors’ squad continues to gel, one player (un)-surprisingly has remained in his comfort zone all along.
“I think Klay probably has the least amount of transition to make with this new group,” said Kerr in his post-game press conference. “He even said it, ‘I don’t have to sacrifice anything.’ The other night in Vancouver, Klay took 13 shots and we looked at the tape, and I want to say on those 13 shots he took like 4 dribbles.”
“That’s the beauty of Klay’s game,” Kerr continued. “It’s so much easier to play on offense when you’ve got guys who don’t need to dribble. If you have too many guys who want to dribble and put the ball on the deck then it can bog down [the offense], so Klay really keeps things moving with his catch and shoot stuff.”
With the overwhelming firepower of Stephen Curry and now Kevin Durant, some thought Klay Thompson might get lost in the mix. However the acquisition of Durant might have been the best thing to happen to Thompson yet.
He will see more wide-open catch and shoot opportunities than he has ever before. Don’t be surprised if he ends up leading this team in scoring.
There was plenty of praise to go around last night. From Kerr commending newcomers Zaza Pachulia for his grittiness down low and David West for his fantastic passing and basketball awareness.
However, the Warriors won’t ride the high of a preseason blowout for too long.
“We nitpick, which is good,” said Curry after the win. “We still know that we have things to work on.”