Warriors' loss to Lakers in Chase Center preseason debut was predictably ugly

Warriors' loss to Lakers in Chase Center preseason debut was predictably ugly

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Warriors unveiled their new palace Saturday night by doing very few of the things that made them great and many of the things that reiterate their newness, as well as that of Chase Center.

There were sloppy moments and woeful shooting and more defensive lapses than they’d commit in most any week of the previous five seasons. There was an acute rebounding deficit, the Warriors going minus-eight in the first half and minus-11 for the game.

They opened by missing their first 10 shots, the first of them a Stephen Curry air ball.

“I was just going to shoot it up, christen Chase Center the right way,” Curry said. “Obviously, I didn’t want an air ball. But I thought it was fitting to take a wild shot like that and get everybody excited.”

The Warriors closed the night with a 123-101 loss to a Lakers team that, to be honest, treated the early moments of this preseason opener as if it were Game 1 of a postseason series and they were intent on setting a relentless tone.

And all of it, every single minute offered by the Warriors, was oh so predictable.

These Warriors have been together as a team for less than a week, and some players and coaches still are uncertain if they’re calling the right person by the right name.

As if that weren’t enough of a change following five years of relative stability, some of the Warriors have been dropped into completely new surroundings foreign to the game-day routine they’ve adopted for years. They barely know how to get to Chase Center, much less how to find anything once they step out of the locker room.

“It’s still weird,” Curry said. “You’re used to certain sights and sounds, just the routine from pulling up to the parking deck and to our locker room and all of that type of stuff. And you get out to the floor and you want to feel like it’s normal, but it’s not.

“We’ve got two more preseason games to get a little more familiar before the 24th [opening night], but it’s beautiful. It’s got a lot of potential to create an amazing environment, an amazing homecourt advantage. I’m excited about the possibilities. Again, just getting used to it. We need some reps, and tonight was a good step.”

A good step? More like a necessary step. Prior to warming up ahead of the 5 p.m. tip-off, the Warriors had been on the Chase Center floor exactly once. They practiced on it Friday simply to become semi-familiar with the floor and the sightlines. Depth perception is another matter, because it can’t be measured without fans in the seats.

There were 18,064 (a sellout) in the house, some there to see Lakers superstars LeBron James and Anthony Davis, who quickly took command of the proceedings, pushing Los Angeles to leads of 11-0, 23-7 and 33-16 late in the first quarter.

For the Lakers, this was another road game. It just happened to be in a building they’d never seen. They kept it simple and played basketball.

The Warriors, however, had to adjust to the sight of James and Davis as Lakers teammates and ignore the pomp, as well as that new-house smell. For some, like rookies Jordan Poole and Eric Paschall, this is the only NBA arena they know; both played well. For the coaching staff, as well as veterans such as Draymond Green and Curry, this was a night three years in the making.

A night they know opens a new chapter for the franchise.

“It was great,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said of the Chase Center unveiling. “Really good energy. A packed house. The crowd was fantastic. It seemed like everybody, including the players and coaches and officials, everybody, was sort of looking around. We’re all so used to Oracle, and we’ve had so many great memories of Oracle, the first night here just felt strange.

“It still feels strange, being up here, instead of our cozy little room across the hall at Oracle.”

[RELATED: Watch Steph sink first Warriors basket at Chase Center]

It all felt strange, from Kerr’s room-to-room pregame search for his assistants, to the Curry air ball, to the uneven vibe of the crowd, to the fact that the Warriors never led. That’s a new look and, even in a preseason game, not one that's positive.

“We haven’t found our rhythm yet. And our routine,” Kerr said. “And that’s going to take some time.”

No doubt, Coach. No doubt.

Why Warriors' next 10 games offer chance to encourage somber fan base


Why Warriors' next 10 games offer chance to encourage somber fan base

If any stretch of the season is ideal for the Warriors to toss their starving fans four or five crumbs, it is the next 10 games, beginning Monday night against the Grizzlies.

Reason No. 1: The Warriors are about as healthy as they’re going to be for at least the next three months. They could suit up 12 players against Memphis.

Reason No. 2: They’re at home for eight of the next 10 games, and the only back-to-back set comes on the last weekend of December.

Reason No. 3: They’re staring directly at the best opportunity they’ll have this season to string together three consecutive victories.

Reason No. 4: The trade market swings wide open on Dec. 15, and productive players are vastly more attractive to teams seeking someone able to help in the second half of the season and, possibly, the playoffs.

And it doesn’t hurt that from a realistic and long-range viewpoint, a solidly competitive three weeks could build good habits without sacrificing the likelihood of finishing with a record that would assure a premium lottery pick. There will be plenty of games marked with an “L.”

Let’s take a game-by-game look at the next 10:

Monday night: Grizzlies at home

Under Steve Kerr, the Warriors once went 145 games without back-to-back losses. With Grizzlies' team engine Ja Morant coping with a balky back – he has missed the last four games – this is an excellent chance put some life in Chase Center with their first consecutive wins this season.

Win probability: Very high.

Wednesday night: Knicks at home

It’s the Knicks, on their first swing through Western Conference, on the second night of a back-to-back set. Enough said.

Win probability: Very high.

Friday night: Jazz away

Even with the tremendous Warriors teams of recent seasons, playing at altitude on the road was never a walk. Mike Conley’s hamstring is barking, but Emmanuel Mudiay is playing well.

Win probability: Very low.

Dec. 15: Kings at home

The first meeting this season between Kerr and former assistant Luke Walton, and also the first reunion of former Kings center Willie Cauley-Stein and his former teammates. One question: Can Cauley-Stein bring intensity? Another question: Who can guard Sacramento gunslinger Buddy Hield?

Win probability: Medium.

Dec. 18: Trail Blazers away

Tough place to win with Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. Tougher to win without them. The Dame-CJ-Melo trio poses problems for a Warriors defense than can be exploited. This game will need the best of Draymond Green at both ends, and some loud offense from Eric Paschall.

Win probability: Low.

Dec. 20: Pelicans at home

Will Zion be back? It doesn’t look likely. Has anybody seen Derrick Favors? New Orleans is a mess right now, and a turnaround in the next couple weeks seems unlikely.

Win probability: High.

Dec. 23: Timberwolves at home

Minny is one of only four teams to beat the Warriors at least once in each of the last four seasons, and those Warriors were four levels better than this year's squad. Coach Ryan Saunders seems to have unlocked the secret to Andrew Wiggins’ potential. But this is the second of three straight games in the Pacific time zone.

Win probability: Medium.

Dec. 25: Rockets at home

The simple game plan is to keep James Harden off the free-throw line and force Russell Westbrook to launch jump shots. If either fails to find a rhythm – and there’s a decent chance of that – the Warriors can pull off the upset.

Win probability: Low.

[RELATED: Warriors reportedly "not pushing" to trade D-Lo right now]

Dec. 27: Suns at home

The Suns are dealing with the growing pains that come with a new coach determined to change the culture. They’re quite good some nights, quite unsightly on others. But they have two players, Devin Booker and Kelly Oubre Jr., that are capable of causing problems. Big man Deandre Ayton will back by then and will have had a couple weeks of conditioning.

Win probability: Medium.

Dec. 28: Mavericks at home

It was widely believed the Mavericks might be good enough find a low seed to the playoffs, but Luka is trying to take them even higher. It’s Luka Time, and the Warriors – on Night No. 2 of a back-to-back – must be at their best to avoid being another canvas for this kid’s wizardry.

Win probability: Low.

NBA rumors: Warriors 'not pushing' to trade guard D'Angelo Russell now

NBA rumors: Warriors 'not pushing' to trade guard D'Angelo Russell now

When the Warriors acquired D'Angelo Russell as part of Kevin Durant's sign-and-trade with the Nets this past offseason and signed the star point guard to a four-year, $117 million contract, it seemed like a bit of an odd fit.

How would Russell fit with fellow point guard Steph Curry? What about when shooting guard Klay Thompson became healthy? More than anything, it looked like Golden State added a great trade asset. 

But the Warriors reportedly are in no rush to trade D-Lo. 

“If it is something that they’re going to do quickly, like before the end of this month, I wouldn’t say they’re pushing for it,” one NBA general manager recently said to Heavy.com's Sean Deveney. “Maybe they have a deal in mind, maybe they’re sitting on something and laying low. But I’d be surprised.

"That’s not how they’d approach it, I’d think. You want to create a market if you are going to trade a player like him, you want to pit teams against each other, drive up the price. You don’t want to lock into one deal. But the market thing, that’s not really happening yet. They’re not pushing the market for him.”

If the Warriors do indeed have a trade in mind, they soon can start taking calls. The NBA's collective bargaining agreement prohibits the Dubs from parting ways with Russell until Dec. 15. 

Since acquiring the All-Star, general manager Bob Myers has made it clear the Warriors aren't trying to get rid of Russell. 

"We didn't sign him with the intention of just trading him," Myers said to reporters on July 15. 

Russell has been a bright spot on the 5-19 Warriors when healthy. He has been limited to only 12 games while dealing with a sprained right thumb, but has averaged a career-high 22.3 points, 6.2 assists and 3.8 rebounds per game. 

[RELATED: Why R.J. Hampton and LaMelo Ball might interest Warriors]

The Warriors truly won't be able to evaluate the 23-year-old's future with the team until he has played more with Curry and the rest of the injured Dubs.

Golden State has until the Feb. 7 trade deadline to move Russell, but as of now, that doesn't seem to be at the top of the team's priority list.