Observations from Warriors' preseason opener

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Observations from Warriors' preseason opener

OAKLAND Of course its unfair to try to draw sweepingconclusions from one game, particularly when its an exhibition game. But letstry anyway.The Warriors opened up the preseason with a 107-96 victoryover the Sacramento Kings at Oracle, and here are a few observations:RECAP: Warriors top Kings in preseason opener
--Ekpe Udoh looks like a bona-fide NBA player. Not that hedidnt last season, but Udoh didnt exactly thrive under coach Keith Smart ayear ago. Udoh didnt rebound enough and was tentative with his face-upjumper.On Saturday night against the Kings, Udoh unveiled a littlebit of a post-up game, scoring two times in a row with his back to the basketin the first half once with the left and once with the right.
Of all the Warriors players, Udoh could be the playercapable of making the most strides from Year 1 to Year 2. Udoh finished with 10points and four rebounds in 26 minutes.--Klay Thompson didnt shoot the ball well on Saturday, butthats less important than the fact he seems like hell be able to squeezeshots off. Thompson isnt overly athletic, but hes got some spring in his stepwhen going to the basket.Fair or not, Thompson, a rookie, is going to be veryimportant to the team. The reason? Hes going to play. Hes going to have tobecause depth in the Warriors backcourt is a weakness.The other thing Thompson tried to do was go to the bucketonce he realized his shot wasnt falling. After starting out 1-for-6 from thefield, he finished 4-for-10.--Mark Jacksons sideline demeanor was calm for the mostpart. He spent about half his time sitting down and half his time standing up.Hes not a big yeller or screamer but does give plenty of instruction duringthe game.--For those expecting some kind of dramatic change out ofcenter Andris Biedrins, hey, its not going to come all at once. Biedrinscertainly wasnt bad, but he wasnt a huge presence, either. If theres onething noticeable about Biedrins its that he does seem to be expending a lot ofenergy, which means he helped get the Warriors a few extrapossessions.Biedrins finished with two points and five rebounds in 16minutes.--Hes not a Warrior, but Jimmer Fredette is worth keepingan eye on. Hes not much of a defender (what rookie is?), but he can shoot theball and has a knack for being able to get shots off.What he lacks in athletic ability, he makes up for in rangeand know-how. Question going forward for Fredette is whether hell ever be ableto hold his own against point guards or two guards on the defensiveend.Offensively, hes got no issues. He ended with 21 points on7-of-11 from the field.

Warriors All-Stars combine for 56 points, West wins

Warriors All-Stars combine for 56 points, West wins

BOX SCORE

NEW ORLEANS — Anthony Davis had an All-Star Game for the record books.

And on a night when Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant provided a glimpse of the past, Giannis Antetokounmpo showed he's clearly part of the future and a midcourt lob attempt from James Harden even went in, Davis absolutely stole the show.

He scored 52 points, 10 more than Wilt Chamberlain's All-Star record that had stood for 55 years, and the Western Conference beat the Eastern Conference 192-182 on Sunday night — the highest-scoring game in league history.

Davis made 26 shots and took 39, both of those also All-Star records. He even outdid Westbrook, who had 41 points in just 20 minutes — which ordinarily would have been enough to merit him what would have been a third straight MVP award.

Not this time. It was Davis hoisting the trophy, to the delight of his New Orleans fans.

"It was a lot of fun," Davis said. "My teammates did a great job of looking for me."

Durant had a triple-double with 21 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. Stephen Curry added 21 points for the West — where a subplot emerged as DeMarcus Cousins played only two minutes, prompting some speculation that a trade sending him out of Sacramento might be looming.

Antetokounmpo had 30 points for the East, with 12 dunks in his night. LeBron James scored 23 points to become the first All-Star to eclipse 300 in a career, Kyrie Irving had 22 points and 14 assists, and Isaiah Thomas scored 20 for the East.

Davis became the story that overshadowed The Story coming into this game, that being the Durant-Westbrook whatever.

And if there is any animus remaining between Durant and Westbrook, it was hidden. They passed each other the ball and slapped hands in the pregame layup line, and not long after Westbrook checked into the game the former Oklahoma City teammates provided one of the game's top highlights — a give-and-go, capped by Durant lobbing the ball to set Westbrook up for a dunk.

"OH MY GOD! WHAT JUST HAPPENED?" Curry shouted on the West bench, which moments later broke into celebration. Players jumped and threw hands skyward, Curry tossing a cupful of water onto a smiling Durant amid it all.

Draymond Green called the play "cute," and Westbrook and Durant seemed happy with it as well.

"It was a nice give-and-go, man," Westbrook said. "Good give-and-go. Made a good pass. I barely got over the rim, but it was a nice give-and-go."

Added Durant: "It was a great basketball play. He was open so I threw him the lob. He can jump really high so yeah, good play."

Some fans were shouting "De-Fense!" in the fourth quarter. West center DeAndre Jordan heard them, rising from his seat on the West bench to yell "No, no, no" back in their direction.

If those fans were serious, they were disappointed.

Westbrook scored 12 points — all on 3s — in a 63-second span late in the third quarter, coming off the bench and firing over and over and over again. And then he opened the fourth quarter with another 3, giving him 34 points in just under 14 minutes played to that point.

It looked like he was a cinch for MVP honors, until Davis scored 20 points in the fourth.

TIP-INS

East: Irving also led the East in rebounds with seven. ... Kyle Lowry scored 19 points and DeMar DeRozan added 16. ... No East player logged more than 24 minutes.

West: Curry took cover in the third quarter, comically hitting the deck face-first as Antetokounmpo went in for yet another dunk. So later in the quarter, Antetokounmpo went over Curry for a rebound slam — one that left Curry staring at the scoreboard for a replay. ... Kawhi Leonard had a steal and dunk in the opening minute, a defensive display that left West coach Steve Kerr in hysterics.

EMBIID CLOSE

Joel Embiid wanted to be in the All-Star Game, and he was close — literally and figuratively.

The Philadelphia star sat on the edge of the baseline next to the West bench, meaning he got to greet players throughout the night and share a few words with some at halftime.

CELEB WATCH

A huge roar greeted Jon Batiste, who performed "The Star-Spangled Banner" pregame, when he started the song.

It wasn't for him.

That happened to be the moment when John Legend — the halftime performer — and Chrissy Teigen were shown at their sideline seats on the video screens around the arena. And a louder cheer came not long afterward when Beyonce and Jay Z got on-screen.

Among the other celebs in the seats: Guy Fieri, Dave Chappelle, Julius Erving, Alonzo Mourning, Bill Russell, Oscar Robertson and The Roots.

UP NEXT

The next All-Star Game is Feb. 18, 2018, in Los Angeles, which will host for a record sixth time.

Thompson eliminated in first round of All-Star 3-point contest

Thompson eliminated in first round of All-Star 3-point contest

Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson will not repeat as the NBA All-Star Game's 3-point shootout champion. 

In need of 19 points, Thompson managed only 18 -- that allowed Kemba Walker to advance into the semifinals. 

Houston's Eric Gordon had the high score of the first round. He went on to win the championship -- besting Kyrie Irving.

Thompson has made 182 3-pointers this season which ranks him fifth in the league.