Instant Replay: Warriors 103, Hornets 96


Instant Replay: Warriors 103, Hornets 96


Oracle Arena -- Jarrett Jack isn’t as candid as his teammate Carl Landry.

The tandem that has been so good off the bench for Golden State both had standout games against their former team as the Warriors defeated the New Orleans Hornets 103-96 on Tuesday night at Oracle Arena.

Jack scored 14 points and tallied 10 assists while Landry scored 16 points and added nine rebounds.

When Jack was asked about playing against the team he spent the last two seasons with, he took the political stance:

“It’s just another game,” said Jack, who recorded his first double-double of the season. “I’ve played against former teams and had emotions involved before but not so much now. I’m older, you just look at it as another game.”

But when Landry, who is more animated and forthright in front of a microphone, was asked if he believed Jack’s restrained comments, the forward simply grinned, laughed and spewed his truth:

“Not for me, and I don’t think it was for him,” said Landry, who also played for New Orleans the past two seasons. “No, not at all. Jarrett was extra amped up and I was too. We didn’t need a five-hour, we didn’t need a speech; we didn’t need anything like that. We were ready to play – yesterday.”

Warriors coach Mark Jackson called it before the game. He said in his pregame news conference that, while they might downplay it, both Jack and Landry had a little more “juice” before the game.

“They played big for us,” Jackson said. “Obviously, as a former player, I understand playing against a team you used to be with. You can tell their energy level this morning was different.”

When the game was tied at 92-92 with just more than three minutes remaining, it was Landry who went to the floor for a steal, followed by an aggressive offensive move to the basket by Jack that led to two made free throws. The Warriors never lost the lead from that moment.

The Hornets had come back to tie the game late after the Warriors had held a comfortable lead for most of the night. The Warriors built a double-digit lead in the first quarter and led 59-50 at half on 55 percent shooting.

Of course, it wasn’t just the bench. David Lee continued to shine. The star forward scored 26 points on 10-for-16 shooting and added nine rebounds and four assists. His streak of consecutive games with 20 or more points and 10 or more rebounds did come to an end, just one rebound shy.

Lee spoke after the game about the difficulties of playing at home after a long road trip.

“One of the hardest games to play in the NBA is the first game back home after a road trip and getting back on west coast time,” Lee said. “These aren’t excuses, it’s just the fact of the matter.”

Jackson said that he received a text from former teammate and NBA great Reggie Miller after the game congratulating him on a hard-earned home win after a long, successful road trip.

Stephen Curry shot 5-for-13 from the field for 13 points, adding five rebounds and three assists. Klay Thompson scored 19 points, included 3-for-8 three-pointers.

With the win, Golden State improves to 17-8 for the first time since 1991-92.

Ryan Anderson scored 28 points off the bench and Anthony Davis recorded his third career double-double with 15 points and a career-high 16 rebounds.

Rookie center Festus Ezeli returned after missing Saturday night’s game in Atlanta with a right knee contusion. Ezeli scored two points and grabbed six rebounds in 10 minutes. Andris Biedrins, who would have started in his place if Ezeli could not go, did not play any minutes.

Rewind: Opener brings painful reminder nothing's given for Warriors

Rewind: Opener brings painful reminder nothing's given for Warriors

OAKLAND – Kevin Durant drove to Oracle Arena for his Warriors debut Tuesday night, walked in feeling good and quickly got quite the horrific surprise.

The San Antonio Spurs started knocking on the door to the place and didn’t stop until they owned it.

The Spurs barged in and took what they wanted, everything from points and rebounds to wine and shaving cream. And the Warriors, as if bound and gagged, mostly watched helplessly in taking a 129-100 beating.

“A nice little slap in the face,” Steph Curry summarized.

“We got punched in the mouth,” Draymond Green acknowledged before adding the real takeaway line, “which I don’t know if it was quite a bad thing for us.”

This brutal flogging ends talk of a historically great start resembling that which the Warriors managed last season in winning their first 24 games. This puts to rest any cloak of invincibility for which they might have been being fitted, whether in their minds of those of their fans.

The Warriors were mugged on the glass, losing the rebounding battle 54-35, with San Antonio snatching 21 on offense and turning them into 26-4 advantage in second-chance points. The bigger, slower Spurs even outscored the Warriors 24-20 on the fast break.

“I’m sure we’ll be motivated for our next game,” coach Steve Kerr said. “I think our guys were embarrassed. I know I was.”

If embarrassing seems a bit strong, this surely was nothing less than a night of utter public humility. The curtain came up on opening night and there was CEO Joe Lacob shifting and twisting in his courtside seat, like a man getting teeth extracted without anesthesia, watching his Dream Team was destroyed.

“I didn’t have them ready to play, obviously,” Kerr said.

“The first game, you want to come out and protect your home court with the energy of the home opener to live throughout the game,” Curry said. “And we didn’t do anything to let that happen.”

Curry's numbers were not awful, at least not in the grand scheme of things. He posted 26 points, four assists and three rebounds – but added four turnovers.

And Durant, who started the game 4-of-4, delighting a crowd that had visions of 3-pointers raining from above, also submitted a glossy stat line, finishing with 27 points, 10 rebounds, four assists, two steals and two blocks.

But the Warriors were dragged across their own floor. Oracle Arena has been their sanctuary for two full seasons, during which they posted a 78-4 record.

The best they can do now is 40-1.

“No one is satisfied with the way they played tonight, especially myself,” said Klay Thompson, who scored 11 points on 5-of-13 shooting. “In the long run, this will benefit us. It’s a long season, and not everything is going to be perfect from the jump.”

So, no, the season is not over. Not even close. Remember, LeBron James’ debut with the Miami Heat six years ago ended with an 88-80 loss, followed by seven more losses in the next 16 games.

But it’s always alarming when someone storms into your house, looks you in the eye and takes what they want.

Opening night for the Warriors delivered a painful reminder that regardless of how imposing they might be or how many All-Stars are on the payroll, nothing will be given. Effort and desire, as they discovered, can be more than a great equalizer.

The Warriors now know that victory is not preordained, that if they want the glory and the spoils they believe to be theirs, they will have to prove it. Every night.

Spurs show early superiority over Warriors with sum of their parts

Spurs show early superiority over Warriors with sum of their parts

The Golden State Warriors wasted no time dismissing one of the 95 Narratives for this season – namely, the one that has them gunning secretly for 82 wins.
In a game very reminiscent of last January’s 120-90 win over San Antonio, the Warriors played the role of “90,” or to be more specific, “100” in a richly deserved 129-100 mauling. They provided a fiercely anticipatory and Beyonce/Jay-Z-enriched crowd everything they came to see – in the Spurs.
Kevin Durant? Did swell. Won a lot of hearts. Draymond Green? Had bursts of good and moments of not. Stephen Curry? Numbers but not a lot of impact. Klay Thompson? Didn’t shoot well, and didn’t do much else to mitigate that fact.
But the real failures came not from the individual components but the sum of their parts. A disrhythmic offense that highlight moments obscured too infrequently, an undistinguished defensive effort across the board, no bench presence of any kind, a casual attitude toward possessions in general and an almost dogmatic refusal to engage in rebounding skirmishes – in sum, they exhibited a severe pre-title hangover nine months before the fact.
So with all that as prelude, coach Steve Kerr attacked the media horde with a squinty-eyed “Anyone got any good jokes?”
And knowing that nobody did – at least none better than the game that had just been concluded -- he got down to the duties of the postgame presser. He broke the ice with the throwaway platitude (“I didn’t have them ready to play, obviously”), the dismissive swat (“I think they were embarrassed tonight. I know I was”), the quick nuts-and-bolts analysis (“We missed easy shots, didn’t get a lot of loose balls, second efforts, third efforts, and we didn’t play with much physicality”), said the collective performance was massively inadequate at best (“’Strength In Numbers,’ it’s got to be about the group”), and the one dagger that will be the emphasis of Wednesday’s unpleasantness (“We didn’t really look engaged, like we were taking for granted that things were going to go well”).
Which brings us to the box score, where the locals were outrebounded, 54-35 (20-8 on the offensive end), outscored on second chances (24-4), and crushed by the non-starters (54-16 points, 24-6 rebounds). Durant had a less effective game than Kawhi Leonard, Green had a less impactful game than LaMarcus Aldridge, and Curry and Thompson were not as dynamic as second-year shooting guard Jonathon Simmons, local deadeye Patty Mills and the forever-young Manu Ginobili.
In short, it was not a coming-out party for the new dynasty, but a reminder that this is not last year, or the year before, and the Warriors are not nearly the finished product they seemed to present in 2014-5 or 15-6.
Their rotation is still a work in progress, and their combinations are even further away still. Kerr has been saying as much all summer and fall, and logic supports the fact that all teams take time to coalesce.
This is not to say they are going to be minus-29 bad; that would be, well, typical morning-after media analysis, for all fetid air that is worth.
But tonight was a good bucket full of icy well water to everyone’s sensibilities. Just as a year ago, the Warriors have been crowned champions by far too many amateurs before the rite of succession has even begun, and Kerr just received all the fodder he needs to drive home an early-season rebuttal to the ones most in need of hearing it: His players.
As for anyone else who needs to hear such a lesson – well, narratives don’t die that easily. The Warriors are the most covered team in NBA history (imagine the Bird Celtics or the Showtime Lakers in this era), and their failures will resound as much as their triumphs, and it’s all background noise come April 15.
You know, when the season actually starts.