OAKLAND -- Missed shots, open looks coming up empty. Passes into crowds, sometimes at the feet of 7-footers, becoming turnovers. And then there was the dribbling, one man sometimes reducing four teammates to passive observation.
That was the Warriors on Tuesday night, getting away with being far less than their usual selves and still winning a game they tried to give away.
“It happens,” Stephen Curry said after the Warriors peeled scratched out a 108-100 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder.
“But you can’t get bored of winning, and finding ways to finish it out. It’s the NBA. A win is a win. We’ve got to call out those mistakes as we try to get better.”
Draymond Green, trying too had to create something special rather than settle for the basic, committed six of the team’s 20 turnovers. Though he grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds, he didn’t dodge his miscues.
“We turned the ball over a ton, myself being Exhibit A, just kind of forcing it,” Green said. “We’ve got to let the game come to us. Hit singles, not home runs. When we do that, the home run play just seems to happen. You’ve got to let it happen and like I said, that will come with time and in getting in more of a rhythm.”
The Warriors at times looked like a team of strangers -- or imposters. Klay Thompson, scorching the nets in preseason, missed 15 of his 20 shots, and seven of his eight attempts from beyond the arc.
“We kept shooting ourselves in the foot with turnovers,” Kevin Durant said. “Then Klay . . . when is Klay going to miss that many open threes?”
Most of the third quarter, when the Warriors typically give opponents 12 minutes of hellfire, was a disaster. Their 10-point halftime lead (57-47) was gone in less than four minutes, the Thunder opening the second half with a 22-9 burst, forcing Kerr to call a timeout with the Warriors trailing 69-66 and 7:16 left in the quarter.
“They came out attacking us and we were kind of on our heels,” Green said. “That’s a very good basketball team over there. They started making shots and were feeling good. We had several chances in that first half where we probably should have went up 20 points, and we didn’t. Turnovers, offensive rebounds. They were only down 10 at half and they came out swinging.”
The Warriors didn’t really find themselves. They were dribbling when they usually move the ball. They were standing still when they usually are moving. They were rushing up shots when they’re usually passing teams silly.
“We had a lot of mistakes,” Curry said. “They played well, especially in the third quarter trying to make it interesting. We understand the process of building up, we have a lot of things to work on, details both offensively and defensively, but a win is a win. Got to keep it moving.”
The Warriors, simply on their wealth of gifts subdued a Thunder team that was without starting guards Russell Westbrook (R knee arthroscopic surgery) and Andre Roberson (L patellar tendon surgery).
So, to be clear, OKC’s performance was more about pluck than talent.
As for the Warriors, they were precisely as not advertised. Kerr has been indicating that the first couple weeks could look choppy. Game 1 surely did, and they’ll have to be better to have success when going on the road this weekend.