The reconstructed Warriors met the refurbished Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night, and the early evidence indicates change is in the air.
The Warriors ended the night with a 123-98 loss to a team they’ve dominated in recent postseasons. Falling behind by 20 in the first quarter, the Warriors spent the rest of evening trying and failing to catch up.
Draymond Green’s first appearance of the season was of little help to the Warriors. Playing at home for the first time was of no help at all.
By the fourth quarter, coach Steve Kerr raised the white flag and went into full experimentation mode. It seemed like the thing to do.
James Wiseman left the game with 3:21 remaining after turning his right ankle. He walked off under his own power, with a slight limp and was examined afterward. Kerr said he expects Wiseman to play Sunday against the Blazers.
Here are three takeaways from a home opener the Warriors would like to forget.
Green’s energy was, from the opening tip, typically high and contagious. That was about it for encouraging signs.
His game clearly was rusty, which could be attributed to not playing in the NBA since last Feb. 29. The net result was Green not being very productive and not having his usual positive effect on teammates.
When Draymond went to the bench with 7:04 remaining in the first quarter, the Warriors were down 17-7. He played nearly 18 scoreless minutes, contributing four assists, four rebounds and one steal. Green was minus-18 for his effort.
Though it was his first game of the season, it was apparent that his integration into this team is very much a work in progress. And that progress is bound to have some ugly moments.
The Rebounding Issue, Part IV
If the Warriors thought they solved their rebounding problems when they posted a 19-14 advantage in the fourth quarter in Detroit on Tuesday, they were wrong.
If they thought Green’s return would further solidify that weakness, there was no sign of it in this game.
Though the Trail Blazers are among the bottom 10 rebounding teams, 10 different players grabbed at least one. They finished with a 60-51 advantage on the glass.
That the Warriors have been out-rebounded in all five games, by double digits in three of them, points a blame finger at their defense. Their shooting is not good enough to overcome that. Not right now, and perhaps not at all this season.
Burned beyond the arc ... again
The first three teams the Warriors saw this season -- the Brooklyn Nets, Milwaukee Bucks and Chicago Bulls -- all shot better than 40 percent from deep, with Milwaukee hitting 54.1 percent. The defense was slightly better in Detroit but the Warriors still ranked dead last in 3-point field goal defense heading into 2021.
If this game is any indication, they might live at the bottom for a while.
Portland shot 70.0 percent from deep in the first quarter and 47.1 percent through the first three quarters, when there were moments with at least a semblance of competition. They finished at 46.5 percent (20 of 43) at the end.
This level of shooting accuracy is not sustainable by the Blazers. Moreover, it’s catastrophic for the Warriors, who can’t rationally consider themselves a playoff team until they’re able to plug this gigantic hole.