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Warriors vs. Nets Preview: And so it begins

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The Dubs are starting the season with a spicy matchup against KD’s new team.

NBA: Playoffs-Houston Rockets at Golden State Warriors Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The day we’ve finally been waiting for is here. The sun has set 287 times since the Golden State Warriors last played a game, and now they’re given the task of kicking off the 2020-21 NBA season.

The quest for 72-0 begins tonight. Let’s get it.

Game deets

Who: Golden State Warriors (0-0) at Brooklyn Nets (0-0)

When: 4:00 p.m. PT

Last games: Warriors beat Sacramento Kings 113-105 (preseason), Nets beat Boston Celtics 113-89 (preseason)

Projected starting lineups:

Warriors: Steph Curry, Kelly Oubre Jr., Andrew Wiggins, Eric Paschall, Kevon Looney James Wiseman
Nets: Kyrie Irving, Spencer Dinwiddie, Joe Harris, Kevin Durant, DeAndre Jordan

The story

You don’t need me to hype up this game to you. It’s the Warriors season opener. It’s their first game in more than nine months. It’s their first meaningful game in the standings in 14 months. It’s their first game against Kevin Durant since the 2016 Western Conference Finals. It’s Durant’s first game period in a year and a half.

There are too many exciting elements to craft much of a typical game story. This game isn’t about Matchup A or Matchup B. It’s not about the Warriors defense vs. the Nets offense, or vice versa.

It’s about basketball. Sweet, beautiful, Warriors basketball, back in front of your eyeballs.

Players to watch

Warrior to watch: Steph Curry.

Curry is a life staple for every Golden State fan, which makes it even crazier to think about how little we’ve seen of him recently.

Curry has looked like himself in the preseason, even if the shots haven’t always been falling. He’ll be asked to carry a heavy load, and he looks willing and prepared.

The Warriors margin for error is slim this year. They need Curry to be an MVP candidate to win games. And we’re all very excited to see that happen.

Net to watch: Kevin Durant.

KD will be returning to the court for the first time since tearing his Achilles in the 2019 NBA Finals while with the Warriors. So much has changed since then, most notably the name on the front of his jersey.

The real questions will be answered during the regular season, but in the preseason Durant looked like the all-world scorer we know and love; the injury didn’t seem to have impacted him at all. That may be bad news for the Warriors in terms of winning this game, but it’s good news for everyone who loves basketball.

Matchup to watch: Kevin Durant vs. everyone who defends him.

The Nets have started with a small lineup in the preseason, which features Durant at the 4. That means that, were the Warriors healthy, Draymond Green would have been naturally matched up on him.

The Warriors — specifically Green — are not healthy, and he’ll miss the game. That means Golden State will either have to put his replacement, Eric Paschall on KD, or go with some cross matchups to get Andrew Wiggins or Kelly Oubre Jr. defending Durant.

If I had to guess, Wiggins will spend the bulk of the time matched up with Durant. It will be a huge test for Wiggins, whose defense has earned high praise from Kerr in recent days.

Keys to victory

  • Disrupt Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving enough that the Nets offense doesn’t get in an unstoppable groove
  • Role players make their threes
  • Play scrappy when Steph Curry is out, tread water in those minutes

Let’s go Dubs.