In every game preview this year I’m going to list keys to victory for the Warriors. And the next day I’ll revisit those keys to see how they did, in a segment I’m calling “Back to the future.”
But it’s only one game.
Still, one game is all we have to judge. Let’s see how the Warriors did with my pregame keys to the game.
Key #1 — Disrupt KD and Kyrie
The key: Disrupt Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving enough that the Nets offense doesn’t get in an unstoppable groove.
The outcome: The Nets scored their first points of the game on an Irving jumper. Their next points came on a Durant three. After that it was short jumper by KD.
When the first quarter dust had settled, it was emphatically clear that Irving and Durant were running the show.
The Warriors are banking on Andrew Wiggins and Kelly Oubre Jr. being strong defensive contributors this year. It doesn’t get much harder than defending Durant and Irving, their respective matchups, but it still wasn’t a test they passed.
KD and Kyrie combined for 48 points on 17-of-32 shooting, despite playing just 25 minutes each.
It was their game, and the Warriors were just playing in it.
Grading the key: 1.5/10
Key #2 — Role players shooting
The key: Role players make their threes.
The outcome: Wiggins went 2-of-6 from beyond the arc. Oubre went 0-of-6. Brad Wanamaker, Kent Bazemore, and Jordan Poole all went 0-of-1. There were a few bright spots: Mychal Mulder went 2-of-2, and Damion Lee, Eric Paschall, and James Wiseman went 1-of-1, but the Warriors need Oubre and Wiggins to deliver from distance if the offense is to function.
It didn’t happen.
Grading the key: 2.5/10
Key #3 — Survive Steph’s bench minutes
The key: Play scrappy when Steph Curry is out, tread water in those minutes.
The outcome: Technically the Warriors did decently at treading water when Curry was on the bench. In his 30 minutes, Golden State was outscored by 23 points. In the 18 minutes he sat, they were outscored by just three.
But the bulk of that success came in garbage time, as the Dubs outscored the Nets in the final frame.
Still, the bench held their own during Curry’s bench time to start the second quarter. It wasn’t pretty, but then again I asked them to be scrappy for a reason.
Grading the key: 5.5/10
Better luck Friday.