The back-to-back world champion Golden State Warriors were victorious on ring night against the limping rival Oklahoma City Thunder, 108-100. Two-time MVP Stephen Curry got the season started right with 32 points, 8 rebounds, and 9 assists. Two-time Finals MVP Kevin Durant flexed his considerable basketball abilities on his former Thunder teammates, with 27 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 assists.
The Thunder were missing former MVP Russell Westbrook and defensive stopper Andre Roberson. But their defense was stout as always, swallowing the Warriors up when they got too loose with the basketball, forcing the Dubs into 44% shooting from the field (27% from downtown) and 20 turnovers.
The Warriors received their championship rings and unveiled their new title banner. Did you know the rings’ sides feel like bristles to represent the brooms the Warriors gave the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Finals last year?
Curry rattled off 19 points and 5 rebounds after two quarters, dancing around OKC defenders like he’s the greatest point guard alive. Which he is. Durant delivered 15 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists early. He also crossed the soul out of Jerami Grant on a basket that was unfortunately nullified by a foul call on Shaun Livingston.
That's just not fair, KD. pic.twitter.com/HxW0DE1gr5— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) October 17, 2018
Thompson chipped in 10 points early on; he showed a propensity to aggressively attacking his defender off of the dribble. Green had 9 rebounds and 5 assists by the half.
Dennis Schroeder had 12 points, and 6 rebounds in the first two stanzas for OKC. Paul George struggled early, failing to penetrate against the stout Warriors’ D, and floundering into 1-for-8 shooting for the half.
Warriors 57, Thunder 47.
The Thunder swung the tide with a 22-9 run to start the third period to snatch a 69-66 lead. OKC’s length and activity on defense forced the Warriors’ out the easy rhythm they enjoyed during the first half. Also, veteran leader Andre Iguodala left the game and did not return.
Andre Iguodala's left calf tightness in game #1. Not ideal for the Warriors. Same leg he had the knee issue in the playoffs.— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) October 17, 2018
The Thunder deserved credit for a gritty effort...but the champs appeared to play with their food, jacking ill advised shots and flinging Globetrotteresque passes all about. As the limited Thunder gave their best shot, it seemed that the Warriors’ focus wavered and they impatiently tried to put on a pyrotechnic show for their fans. To OKC’s credit, they punished the champs for not playing carefully. George corrected his first half struggles, scoring 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting in the third.
Andre Iguodala has to be hurting. He'd be in the game by now to put an end to this disorder.— Monte Poole (@MontePooleNBCS) October 17, 2018
The Warriors took a narrow a 83-79 advantage into the fourth quarter. That’s when their young big men asserted themselves on both ends of the court. Looney had a sequence where he put-back slammed a Durant miss, and then forced George into a 24-second shot clock violation. Damian Jones stonewalled Steven Adams on a deep postup, and followed that stellar defense up with a strong finish in traffic on the other end. The Warriors weren’t getting bullied in the paint, and still retained the athleticism to guard OKC’s ball-handlers.
Both teams found buckets hard to come by late, but the Warriors superior talent held their rivals at bay late in the 4th quarter to secure the win.
George finished with 27 points on 23 shots. Schroder has 21 points on 19 shots. Adams tallied a double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds.
Green led the Warriors in rebounding with 13, while also chipping in 5 assists and 3 steals. Looney had a double-double off of the bench with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Thompson scored 14 points on 5-of-20 shooting, 1-for-8 from beyond the arc.
Wellp, that was the last opening night in Oracle. Always good to get the win, especially on ring night. The Thunder’s defense is legit, as usual, but without Westbrook they never had the offensive punch to really scare the champs.