So, just yesterday I wrote some shit detailing the sole reason why this year’s NBA season was going to be seemingly unwatchable: the gotdamn Super Friends, formerly known as the Golden State Warriors, were going to defeat the living shit out of anything breathing that dared to bounce a fucking basketball. You might as well have renamed Oracle Arena the Hall of Justice. It wasn’t a matter of if the vaunted Warriors would return to The Finals but rather when, and how they would redeem their brick-shitting ways from a year ago.
Well, that veil of supremacy was shredded last night when the Spurs paid a visit to the Bay Area. It wasn’t just that the Warriors lost. Super Teams — namely the 2007-2012 Boston Celtics, 2010-14 Miami Heat, and the 2014-present Cleveland Cavaliers — generally take awhile to gel. The Warriors may have only lost one game during the preseason, but those games are pointless. Coaches aren’t game planning the same way they would as if it were the regular season, you know when winning actually counts. Plus, the Warriors still must acclimate their style to fit one of the league’s best players given the absence of Harrison Barnes. Spacing is critical to the Warriors’ offense and Durant isn’t relegated to corner threes and sneak rebounding duty. It was the way they lost; a 29 point drubbing at home to the old-ass, boring-ass Spurs.
Durant, Curry, and Green put up some decent numbers (71 points combined shooting 27 of 51 from the floor and pulling down 25 rebounds) but Thompson never found a groove, and Pachulia was nothing more than a statue of human flesh. Moreover, the Warriors shot a horrendous 21% from behind the arc, which is concerning when you consider they shot 42% during their 73-9 campaign last year. The Spurs made the Warriors uncomfortable forcing Curry into four turnovers against four assists, and they never allowed Golden State to settle into a comfortable rhythm. Plus, their bench was about as Casper as it could get as the starters accounted 84 of the team’s 100 points.
San Antonio, on the other hand, did whatever the fuck they wanted to do on both ends of the floor. Kawhi had a career day scoring 35 points, while LaMarcus Aldridge dominated the paint with a double-double (26 points, 14 rebounds). Popovich’s crew bodied the shit out of the Boys From The Bay garnering 17 more boards than the Warriors. And the bench, headlined by unknown reserve Jonathon Simmons, put up a whopping 43 points.
There were moments when it seemed like the Warriors would string together one of their signature twenty-something point runs, but the Spurs never allowed to happen. They enforced their will from the start and capitalized on Golden State’s miscues.
For a team that was widely considered to go undefeated into the New Year, it’s jarring that they’re suffering their first defeat on opening night at home. While the expectation is that Kerr will eventually lead this group to The Finals, he’s going to have to tinker a few things before that dream is realized.
If there are any highlights from this ass-whooping — and there aren’t many — it’s that at least the Warriors don’t have to have to endure the ticking time bomb that would have been the pressure of living up to last year’s historic start. Additionally, Durant may be the go-to scorer the Warriors desperately need when their shooting strokes betray them.
In the meantime, the Spurs are not only unfrightened by the Warriors, they’re simply not having that shit. (I’m sure David Lee is happier den a mug right now having just beat the brakes of his former team.) Which makes this NBA season interesting again.