Warriors

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.

How Steph Curry feels watching brother Seth in NBA bubble restart

How Steph Curry feels watching brother Seth in NBA bubble restart

Seth Curry has gotten accustomed to watching his brother Steph make deep runs in the NBA playoffs year after year, as the Warriors advanced to the NBA Finals in each of the past five seasons.

But 2019-20 saw the script flipped for the Curry family, as Seth and his Dallas Mavericks will be among the eight Western Conference teams in the 2019-20 postseason, while Steph and Golden State finished at the bottom of the West standings, going 15-50 before the NBA's suspension of the season in March.

“For most of my career, I’m usually the one who’s been home watching Steph late in the season,” Seth told the New York Times' Marc Stein. “Now it’s the other way around and I’m still at work. I can tell it’s a little tough on him.”

[BALK TALK: Listen to the latest episode]

Steph did tell Stein that he's felt a bit of "FOMO" about the Warriors not being among the 22 NBA teams initially chosen to play in the NBA's restart in Orlando, Fla.

“Obviously I was happy to see basketball back on TV, but that first week I had major FOMO (fear of missing out),” he told The New York Times' Marc Stein on Sunday night. "Once you see Bron (LeBron James) and Kawhi (Leonard) and P.G. (Paul George) go at it, and you remember how much fun it is to play in those types of games and that kind of level, you miss it badly."

The two-time MVP played in just five games this season after breaking his hand early in the season, and with fellow Splash Brother Klay Thompson missing the entire season while rehabbing from a torn ACL, there wasn't much hope for a return to the NBA Finals this season.

[RELATED: Why Bazemore-Warriors reunion in free agency makes sense]

Hypothetically getting nine months to recover before the 2020-21 season will be critical for Thompson and Curry after so many extra postseason games over the past five years.

It's not surprising that the hyper-competitive Steph would be a bit jealous of his brother, but he also told Stein he could see himself trekking to Orlando with his family to watch Seth and the Mavericks if they can advance out of the first round of the playoffs.

Warriors' Steph Curry 'had major FOMO' when NBA bubble games started

Warriors' Steph Curry 'had major FOMO' when NBA bubble games started

This probably won't come as a surprise to you, but Steph Curry truly enjoys playing basketball.

Crazy, right?

The three-time NBA champion -- who was limited to just five games during the 2019-20 NBA season because of a broken left hand -- misses competing against the best players in the world.

So when the seeding games in the Orlando bubble began July 30, Steph was a little conflicted.

“Obviously I was happy to see basketball back on TV, but that first week I had major FOMO (fear of missing out),” he told The New York Times' Marc Stein on Sunday night. "Once you see Bron (LeBron James) and Kawhi (Leonard) and P.G. (Paul George) go at it, and you remember how much fun it is to play in those types of games and that kind of level, you miss it badly."

Unfortunately for the two-time NBA MVP, it's unclear exactly when he will get a chance to take the court again with actual stakes on the line. With the coronavirus pandemic still raging, nobody truly knows when the 2020-21 campaign will begin.

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

But whenever next season does commence, he and his teammates will be ready to rock and roll.

“Our roster kind of speaks for itself in terms of what me, Klay (Thompson) and Draymond (Green) have been through, and what we’ve got left in the tank,” Steph told Stein. “But it’s on us to use this time wisely.

"It’s just unchartered territory, whether you’re in the bubble or not.”

[RELATED: Why Bazemore-Warriors reunion in free agency makes sense]

As for the aforementioned FOMO, how is the 32-year-old dealing with it?

"Curry said he relies on all the bonus family time he’s getting with his wife, Ayesha, and their three children, business endeavors and then special occasions like Sunday’s P.G.A. outing," Stein wrote.

And when it comes to business endeavors, Steph reportedly soon will be getting his own brand at Under Armour. So having some extra time on his hands to handle those details certainly can't hurt.

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