Finally found some non-Giants (they won the World Series, in case you weren’t aware) time to slog through a viewing of last night’s 95-77 win over the Kings, a game in which the Warriors committed 22 turnovers and still won the giveaway/takeaway battle by a margin of +4. The Warriors and Kings combined for 58 personal fouls — hopefully the officials are setting an early tone that will mellow out a bit as the season goes on, because 1.2 fouls per minute is gross.
Golden State’s offense seems to be a work in progress, as one would expect at this stage. However, there were several good signs from Steve Kerr’s first game (and victory) as an NBA head coach.
The defense didn’t depart with Mark Jackson
Not only did the Warriors force those aforementioned 26 turnovers, they held the Kings to 30.8% from the field and 14 points in both the third and fourth quarters. Stephen Curry had six steals.
They won without hitting threes
The Warriors weren’t buried in the first two and a half quarters of this game, despite starting 1-for-15 from beyond the arc. They were down two at halftime to a vastly inferior team, but they were in position to roar ahead when they clamped down defensively and finally started hitting from deep (they went 5-for-12 on threes the rest of the way).
Speights looks like a new Mo
Marreese Speights came into last season really out of shape, something Jackson mentioned on a near-weekly basis. Speights now looks considerably lighter than he was a year ago, and he scored 16 points on 8-of-13 shooting in just 18 minutes. It helped that David Lee was out and DeMarcus Cousins was in foul trouble throughout much of the second half, but it was a good sign for the Warriors’ backup power forward just the same. He only scored 16 or more points four times last season in 79 games.
Draymond Green picked up where he left off
12 points, 10 rebounds (on a night where the Warriors got killed on the glass early), and the highest +/- on the team. Not a bad spot start for Green, the player I’d start over Harrison Barnes on a regular basis when the team is in #FullSquad mode.
Barnes’ night wasn’t a total loss
He shot 3-for-10 and missed all three of his three-point attempts, but he seemed to focus his attention on grabbing rebounds as the game progressed. Another reason why I think Green should start over Barnes: the play where Barnes filled the lane and dunked off a pass from Andre Iguodala in transition. If Iguodala’s job is to facilitate, maybe Barnes should run with him in the second unit instead of picking up the scraps left by Curry and Klay Thompson (just a thought).
Speaking of Barnes, today the Warriors announced that they picked up the 2015-16 (fourth year) options for him and Festus Ezeli. Ezeli could probably see a spot on that list of positives above, as he scored five points in eight minutes while committing four(!) fouls. It wasn’t an amazing performance, but he didn’t get hurt. Small victories. Barnes will make $3,873,398 next season, a raise of about $800K. Ezeli will make $2,008,748, a raise of almost $900K.
The Warriors also told the world that they will NOT exercise the third year option ($1,151,760) for Nemanja Nedovic, the only player to get a DNP-Coach’s Decision last night. With Curry, Thompson, Shaun Livingston, Leandro Barbosa, Justin Holliday, Andre Iguodala and presumably Brandon Rush ahead of Nedovic on the guard/wing depth chart, Nedovic’s NBA career may never get going in Oakland.