Warriors takeaways: What we learned in preseason-opening loss to Lakers

Warriors takeaways: What we learned in preseason-opening loss to Lakers


SAN FRANCISCO -- Draymond Green warned us this would happen.

In the Warriors' first game at Chase Center, the team made good on all the concerns that NBA observers had entering the season, losing 123-101 to the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday night.

Golden State's thin frontline was outworked by Anthony Davis -- who finished with 22 points and 10 rebounds in 18 minutes in his Lakers debut -- while guard D'Angelo Russell struggled from the field in his first game with the Warriors. 

On Thursday, Green hinted the Warriors had a long way to go to find cohesion. Less than 24 hours later, his team proved his words true.

Here are the takeaways from Golden State's first preseason game.

Steph scores, but D'Angelo doesn't

Stephen Curry looked to christen the new building in perhaps the only way he knows how: attempting a long 3-pointer near midcourt 22 seconds into the contest. The shot didn't hit the rim -- it air-balled -- but Curry found a rhythm, finishing with 18 points, three rebounds and two assists in 18 minutes of duty. Curry's offense was needed as the Lakers jumped to an 11-0 advantage. 

While Curry played well, Russell struggled, finishing 2 of 9 from the field and a team-worst minus-24 in the contest.

With Klay Thompson out until at least the All-Star break, the Curry-Russell tandem will have to work for the Warriors to stay in contention. Russell has All-Star talent, so it would be easy to chalk this up as a one-off performance. 

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Little size, big problems

Entering the season, Golden State's frontcourt was expected to be thin. And with Willie Cauley-Stein, Kevon Looney and rookie Alan Smailagic out Saturday, struggles came as expected.

Through the first 24 minutes, the Warriors were outrebounded 34-26, as Davis -- the Lakers' prized summer acquisition -- bullied Golden State's frontline on most possessions. Omari Spellman also mustered just six points on 2-of-9 shooting from the field for the Warriors.

Without Kevin Durant, the Warriors' margin for error is thin, and there's no bigger sign of that than in their frontcourt. To remain in contention for an eighth consecutive playoff berth, they'll need more from their unproven frontcourt, and performances like Saturday's cannot happen.

Rookies gauged

With Smailagic out, Eric Paschall and Jordan Poole were the only rookies to suit up for the Warriors. Poole showed flashes, scoring eight of his 17 points in the second quarter, including a 3-pointer. Meanwhile, Paschall played solid, finishing with 11 points, three rebounds and 3-of-7 shooting from the field.

In the small sample size, there wasn't much to take from either player's performance that we didn't already know. Paschall put in yeoman's work similar to his college career, and Poole isn't afraid to shoot under any circumstance -- a refreshing sight, and one we haven't been accustomed to seeing from recent Warriors draft picks.

Nets players free of coronavirus symptoms, but Kevin Durant might be delayed

Nets players free of coronavirus symptoms, but Kevin Durant might be delayed

Good news. The four Brooklyn Nets players who had tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19) are now free from symptoms.

Nets general manager Sean Marks announced Wednesday during a conference call with reporters that all members of Brooklyn's traveling party had completed a two-week quarantine. Even so, they will continue to abide by social-distancing guidelines.

"As it pertains to the team," Marks said (via ESPN's Malika Andrews), "I sense -- like all of us, like the rest of New York and really the rest of the globe -- we're trying to deal with this as best we can."

The Nets were scheduled to face the Warriors at Chase Center in front of no fans on March 12, but the NBA indefinitely suspended the season the previous night after two Utah Jazz players became the first in the NBA to test positive for the coronavirus. Upon returning to Brooklyn from San Francisco, the Nets paid a private company to test the team for COVID-19, which revealed that four players had tested positive.

Of those four players, three were asymptomatic. According to Marks, however, the lone player exhibiting symptoms has since recovered.

Former Warrior Kevin Durant admitted he was one of the four Nets to test positive for the coronavirus. He hadn't played all season while recovering from a torn Achilles, and was already ruled out for the duration of the 2019-20 campaign. While Durant might have some extra time on his hands these days, it's possible that the season being indefinitely paused could delay his return to game action.

The same goes for Brooklyn point guard Kyrie Irving, who underwent shoulder surgery on March 3. Though they are able to continue their respective rehabilitations, they obviously don't have access to the practice facility, which could slow the process.

"I couldn't give an answer on when they'll play this season," Marks said. "I don't think it's fair to those athletes nor the performance team to put a timeline on it. I think everyone is dealing with bigger, far more pressing things."

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Marks insisted he would have a better idea of each player's respective timeline in another three weeks to a month, when he hopes to have more clarification about the NBA's plans to resume the season.

Of course, there's no guarantee that will happen, either.

Steph Curry explains how he's above average in 'Tour de Warriors' race

Steph Curry explains how he's above average in 'Tour de Warriors' race

Warriors players can't go to Chase Center to work on their game while the NBA season is indefinitely suspended due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

They can't use the team facilities to ride the bike, or hop on the treadmill or use the elliptical.

And not everybody has exercise equipment at home.

But those who do have been able to work out together ...

... virtually.

Ben Cohen of The Wall Street Journal has the details:

(Steph Curry) does have a Peloton bike at home. As it turns out, he’s not the only one: The Warriors have been going for a group ride in the morning.

The invitation goes out on a Slack group -- Curry admits to skipping one class because he didn’t see the message -- and then a maniacally competitive bicyclist named Draymond Green attempts to destroy everyone around him, according to a person familiar with the rides.

“In the Tour de Warriors,” Curry said, “I’m above average, but I’m not on the podium yet. I have to figure out how to get there. There’s always something to shoot for.”

It's not a surprise to hear that Draymond is competitive during these sessions, as he has been a regular at SoulCycle for quite some time.

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“You walk out feeling sweaty, feeling good like you got a workout in, but it doesn’t put much strain on the body," the three-time NBA champion told NBC Sports Bay Area's Kerith Burke about one year ago. "Sometimes it’s good to get away from the game of basketball or the typical weight room.

“You’re working out with a different group of people, you’re all on rhythm, trying to stay on the beat with each other. When you add music to a workout, it’s fun. I do it a lot with my fiancée, and we have a good time. We sit next to each other. She’s really good at it.”

As for Steph -- knowing how competitive he is, don't be surprised if we learn that he wins the "Tour de Warriors" on the regular very soon.

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