The Golden State Warriors’ first preseason game of the year started off on an exciting note. Right before tipoff, reigning Defensive Player of the Year Draymond Green was presented with his trophy for the award. Much to the surprise of Green, the person presenting the trophy was his boyhood idol and four-time recipient of the award, Ben Wallace.
After that, things took a noticeable step backwards. The Dubs’ starters looked sluggish and sloppy against the energetic Denver Nuggets, traits that are hardly surprising this time of year. The team mustered just 21 points in the first quarter, and looked very rusty doing so.
The bench helped restore order to make it a close game at halftime, but the second half started just as the first did, until about halfway through.
Then Jordan Bell happened.
In his first minutes of the game, the rookie instantly made his presence known on both ends of the court:
It’s only one game, but in the fight for backup center minutes, Bell looked a bit more comfortable and talented than last year’s first-round pick, Damian Jones.
Jordan Bell's feel for the game already evident. I predict at least he's ahead of D. Jones this year in rotation.— Nate Duncan (@NateDuncanNBA) October 1, 2017
After Bell’s spark, the Warriors’ starters sat, and it was all downhill from there. Paul Millsap caught fire, and the Nuggets ended the quarter on a 16-2 run. Golden State was never able to catch up in the final frame, and lost by a score of 108-102.
Ugliness abounded in the box score. The team shot a paltry 4-33 from downtown, with the starters going 1-19. Stephen Curry led the team with just 11 points, and the squad committed 14 turnovers to just 18 assists.
On the one hand, it’s hard to win a game with those stats. On the other hand, it’s also something that should worry absolutely no one.
The Dubs will now get straight on a plane to China, where they’ll take on the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday, October 4.