Defense of their second NBA title in three seasons begins in earnest Tuesday night, when the Warriors invite the reconfigured Houston Rockets into Oracle Arena.
There will be a pregame ceremony in which the Warriors will receive their championship rings.
The Warriors, who believe the additions of Nick Young and Omri Casspi will result in improved the bench production, are coming off a season in which they led the NBA in scoring offense, with the Rockets finishing second.
Houston made considerably more adjustments over the summer, acquiring perennial All-Star point guard Chris Paul and rugged forward PJ Tucker.
Warriors by 9.5
MATCHUPS TO WATCH
Stephen Curry vs. Chris Paul: These two veterans, both headed for the Hall of Fame, have been at war for the better part of a decade, with Curry gaining in decided edge in recent years. That was when Paul was the leader of the once-hated Los Angeles Clippers. With Paul moving to Houston, it will be interesting to see if a change in scenery means a different type of battle. The winner likely decides the outcome.
Klay Thompson vs. James Harden: Familiar from their days as prep stars in Southern California, these two, by most accounts, are the top two shooting guards in the league. Though Harden assumed the point role last season, he’ll have greater latitude to generate his own shot now that Paul is on board.
Warriors: F Omri Casspi (R ankle sprain) is listed as probable. F Andre Iguodala (back strain) is listed as out.
Rockets: No injuries listed.
RECENT SERIES HISTORY
The Warriors won three of four meetings last season and have won 12 of the last 15 regular-season meetings overall. They also have won eight of the last 10 meetings in the postseason.
THREE THINGS TO WATCH
THE SCOREBOARD: Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni implies this will be a shootout. Warriors forward Draymond Green responds by saying one team (the Warriors) plays defense. It’s conceivable the teams could combine for 75 3-point attempts. The scoreboard could blow out before the final buzzer.
THE NEW GUYS: Because he is in constant motion and feels the angles, Casspi seems to be a good fit for the Warriors offense. Young is coming along, but admits he’s still learning the nuances of the offense and feeling out his teammates. It may not be fair to expect much in Game 1, but their work is sure to be examined.
THE POMP: There is the celebration of a championship, the ceremony in which rings (and the ultra-elaborate boxes) will be presented, and the adoration of a sellout crowd. The Warriors are becoming veterans at being celebrities, but what happens when emotions are part of the equation?
“I saw what happened last year when San Antonio just drilled us. Saw that we were able to recover. So whatever happens, it’s just one game.” --Warriors GM Bob Myers on opening night nerves