Why Warriors shouldn't be concerned after Game 1 loss vs. Raptors

Why Warriors shouldn't be concerned after Game 1 loss vs. Raptors

Editor's note: Grant Liffmann (@grantliffmann) is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders, which airs on NBC Sports Bay Area 90 minutes before each home game and 60 minutes after every game. Each week, Grant will drop his Outsider Observations on the state of the Dubs.

For the first time in the Steve Kerr era, the Warriors played an opponent in the NBA Finals that was not the Cleveland Cavaliers. They also played their first Game 1 on the road, and also lost Game 1 of the Finals for the first time. That is a lot of firsts, so it is no wonder why there is a segment of fans that are concerned about the Warriors being in foreign territory (pun intended).

The question is, did you expect the Warriors to sweep the NBA Finals? If not, then it is perfectly reasonable to think that the Raptors would win at least one game at home. The Raptors are a great team, comprised of long, athletic, skilled players that are in unison on defense and always pushing the ball in transition.

In Game 1, they showed to be exactly that. Toronto forced 17 turnovers, leading to 17 points, while scoring 24 fast break points. The Warriors, meanwhile, seemingly played with some rust after such a long layoff. They were simply lazy and ineffective in their transition defense, and were often scattered and confused in their defensive rotations, leading to multiple wide-open Raptors three's.

More often than not, Game 1 of any playoff series is a "feel out" game, where both teams learn how the other plays. The Warriors had very little experience playing against the Raptors, so it is not crazy to think they were caught off-guard a bit. What the Warriors have proven throughout their historic run, however, is that it is much easier to win a "feel out" game when at home. Dating back to the 2015 NBA Finals, the Warriors had some serious dogfights with the Cavaliers in Game 1's, but pulled out victorious in the end, partially due to their home-court advantage.

In 2015, the Warriors won Game 1 of the Finals in overtime after Kyrie Irving suffered a serious knee injury. In 2016, the Warriors beat the Cavs at home in Game 1 despite the Splash Brothers struggling from the field. Game 1 in 2017 was a bit of an outlier, as the Warriors came out and routed Cleveland. Last year's Game 1 was the infamous J.R. Smith debacle that eventually led to the Warriors narrowly escaping with an overtime victory. The Warriors won all four games at home, but a few of the games were a lot closer than many remember.

Last night's game was a tightly contested game until the very end. Despite their defensive struggles, the Warriors fought and clawed to stay in the game. Behind a raucous Toronto crowd that was bringing incredible energy, the Raptors pulled out the victory.

The Warriors are quite confident that they have learned from their Game 1 mistakes, and they believe that they're in a good position to win Game 2 and steal home-court advantage.

[RELATED: Warriors should see Raptors as toughest NBA Finals foe]

With Kevin Durant's rehab coming along and DeMarcus Cousins getting his conditioning back, we will know a lot more about this series after Sunday's game. So until then, relax and enjoy a fun series.

NBA rumors: 'Growing belief' second bubble with Warriors won't happen

NBA rumors: 'Growing belief' second bubble with Warriors won't happen

Remember when it looked like the NBA was on the verge of building a second bubble in Chicago for the eight teams not invited to Orlando?

Well, don't expect that to come to fruition.

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

"There is growing belief among the NBA’s eight franchises not in Orlando that a second bubble site being built for minicamps and intrasquad scrimmages will not happen," sources told The Athletic's Shams Charania and Sam Amick. "There is pessimism about in-market minicamps for group workouts happening as well."

Warriors coach Steve Kerr in early June made it very clear that his preference was to get all of Golden State's players and coaches together for workouts at Chase Center.

"We're not interested in a summer league," he said on a conference call. "If what we're talking about is some kind of minicamp and some of the other teams are interested in playing games -- we would not be interested in doing that.

"And I've talked to a couple of the coaches about that. Every team has its own unique set of circumstances, and I definitely understand that a lot of the teams involved are younger and more interested in getting game action for their players.

"But we're in a different space and people understand that. We'd be more interested in practice time."

But it appears the Dubs won't be allowed to do that either.

“There’s nothing happening,” a general manager told The Athletic. “It’s a shame. It’s a huge detriment to these eight franchises that were left behind.”

[RELATED: Why Myers sees Dubs being motivated by Orlando bubble]

The Warriors' last game before the season was suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic was March 10. So if training camps for the 2020-21 campaign open Nov. 10 (it seems inevitable this date will get pushed back), that would be an eight-month layoff.

Golden State players are allowed to use the team facilities in San Francisco now, but there are safety restrictions and protocols in place.

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Should healthy Warriors be considered title contenders next season?

Should healthy Warriors be considered title contenders next season?

Some of the best, and let's be honest, worst, conversations regarding the Warriors reside on social media.

Strong voices and opinions of Dub Nation defend or criticize their squad, not afraid to share their thoughts with absolute authority. Many of these personalities live on Twitter, where everyone can be a general manager, coach, critic, troll and hot-taker. 

In the second installment of our Warriors Twitter Roundtable, we will share a five-part series of questions designed to touch on the major conversations floating around the Warriors Twitter world. Answering the questions will be a panel of some of the more prominent and revered voices within the community.

Part 1 had our panel name the five best players in the NBA. Here is Part 2.

With Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and Andrew Wiggins completely healthy, should the Warriors go into next season considered "contenders"?

@poormanscommish: I think Game 6 of the 2019 Western Conference Semifinals at the Houston Rockets, as well as the two series after that, proved the Warriors could do some damage without Kevin Durant. So even though the word “contenders” is subjective, I’ll just go ahead and say yes -- and it’s a “HECK YEAH!” if Kevon Looney is healthy, which I realize is a big “if”.

Here’s another guess: All the Warriors guys also feel that way, but they won’t ever publicly say that, so as to not throw KD under the bus (standard NBA fraternity stuff).

@samesfandiari: It depends who they sign around them. I feel confident saying they have the right foundation to be competitive, but they lack a full roster. If they sign two to three solid veterans, say Marc Gasol, I feel very comfortable at their chances vs. the LA teams or Milwaukee.

But until then, it's to be determined -- great foundation, close, but a few unknowns.

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

@Jannelle12: Yes, they should. Otherwise, why bother? Health is one thing. Them being rested is a given. What I'm looking at is motivation and after a lost season, they are very motivated.

Don't you think Steph has seen the disrespect? Klay? Draymond? They will be driven to return to contention, and I wouldn't bet against it. 

@AndyKHLiu: It depends what contenders mean. Can the Warriors win the title? Yes. Are they assured a Western Conference Finals appearance? Maybe.

It also depends how Joe Lacob and the front office creates around the margins. Let's say they don't bring anyone in better than the top four players. How much depth can they create? How do they judge risk on bringing in vets vs. high-risk talent/luxury tax players? 

Something tells me the Warriors do something crazy instead of sitting idly by and picking up safe veterans. The D'Angelo Russell and Andrew Wiggins trades tell us that the Warriors are willing to try off-the-wall ideas even during a pandemic. 

[RELATED: What Kerr learned about Wiggins from talking to Thibodeau]

@GSWReddit: The Warriors should be considered contenders next season, although they will have some major depth concerns they are going to need to address this offseason, and they definitely shouldn’t be considered the clear-cut favorites or close to it by any means. Teams like the Lakers and Clippers have significantly more depth alongside their star power and will probably be closer to a title.

The Warriors will have to try to bridge the gap in that department to be on more level terms, but with the core four they already have in place, they will be among the best teams in the league for sure.

My take (@grantliffmann): If the definition of a contender is a team's ability to contend for a title, then how can you count out Curry, Thompson and Green?

Health is the biggest factor in all of this. If a contender is defined by a team that has a great chance of winning the title, then the Warriors definitely will need roster upgrades with limited resources. Adding the right pieces on the trade exception and MLE, as well as through the NBA draft (including perhaps trading the pick), would give the Warriors a legitimate shot at being in the upper echelon of the teams with the best odds of winning the title.

Pretty impressive for a squad that was the worst team in the league just one year prior.