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Warriors roll toward season opener after Laker-filled preseason

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Friday night’s preseason finale against the Los Angeles Lakers wasn’t pretty.

But if how the Warriors have played this preseason is any indication, that’s going to be a familiar refrain this season.

Friday night’s preseason finale against the Los Angeles Lakers wasn’t pretty.

But if how the Warriors have played this preseason is any indication, that’s going to be a familiar refrain this season.

Golden State technically won this “game” 124-103 Friday night. Now all eyes shift to Thursday when the regular season begins.

This story has been updated with quotes and post-game material from the Warriors’ locker room at Oracle Arena.

In their fourth and final meeting the Lakers sat eight players, including their four of their probable starting five. Yet it looked like Anthony Davis and LeBron James could have been on the court, as Los Angeles reserves dominated a Warriors lineup that wasn’t resting any healthy bodies.

Everyone not named Stephen Curry got outplayed by someone named Devontae Cacok. Their defense looked highly suspect and got burned for backdoor layups and gave up a ton of open 3’s.

Eventually the team—or more specifically Curry—took control of the game and put the Warriors comfortably on top of the shorthanded Lakers. Curry would finish with 32 points in 33 minutes, and that looks like it’s going to be the theme of this Warriors team.

They’ll try and play their team-oriented, ball movement offense to start games, and then Curry is going to realize he’s going to need to get selfish, score 30-plus points, and singlehandedly keep the Warriors in most games.

When the Warriors had Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson, Curry’s movement off ball and setting screens were deadly. But it doesn’t have close to the same effect running around backscreens from Jacob Evans and Glenn Robinson III.

The other piece to this is D’Angelo Russell, and how his game translates to the Warriors style. He scored 29 in his preseason finale, but most of those came on isolation plays, or out of the pick-and-roll.

Russell said he felt comfortable on offense but defense is where he needs to get better:

“I just made shots. There’s a lot of things on the defensive end that I want to get better at. Figuring out the coverages that we’re playing and getting accustomed to those things.It’s easy to make shots in this league, it’s more about doing other thing.”

So far this preseason Russell has not been very effective as a catch-and-shoot player. His shooting touch hasn’t been there, and he always seems to want to dribble at least once before putting up a shot. But out of the pick-and-roll, he’s looked comfortable and smooth.

Kerr said that Russell’s ability as a pick-and-roll ball handler necessitates putting him in that action more:

“He’s just such a skilled player that no matter what happens, he’s going to find his way into 20-plus points. And he’s a tremendous passer so putting him into high screens and letting him pick people apart, he’s going to find the flow.”

And that’s something that’s going to take Russell, Curry and Kerr a while to recognize. That’s been what this preseason has been all about. For all the defensive sequences and sloppy offense that have been absolutely rough to watch and left Warriors Twitter in a state of panic, it’s the realization of what works and more importantly, what won’t work with this new roster.

Curry said that the preseason is always interesting, but it’s taken on a higher importance this year:

“To get to know each other, start to implement what awe are trying to do to make us successful. At the end of the day you’re always just looking forward to that first game though… There’s some defensive things we need to work on, but just have that excitement for when the games actually count.”

That roster became clear Friday when Kerr announced the team would waive Alfonzo McKinnie in order to keep Marquese Chriss. Chriss forced the Warriors into this with the way he’s played during this preseason.

He’s shown an ability to be an athletic rim-runner as well as a surprising playmaking ability with his passing. Plus, with all the injuries at center, he is essentially is the Warriors only playable big. Kevon Looney looks like he’ll be able to play in the season opener, but it’ll be up to just him and Chriss to hold down the five spot.

With McKinnie now gone, Kerr said the starting small forward will be Robinson, who’s looked decent in his time with the starters. He won’t rebound nearly as well as McKinnie, but is probably better than him in just about every other area.

Kerr described his new starter as rock solid:

“He knows his role, he understands it. He’s a good 3-point shooter, but he’s got more to his game than I realized. I always looked at him as a spot up 3-point guy, but he’s a good cutter, he understands our split game and our movement. And he’s enjoying himself out there.”

Defensively though, he’s not likely to bother any of the upper echelon small forwards that he’ll match up with, since he’s more of a two on defense. Kerr alluded to this and said he wouldn’t hesitate to put rookie Eric Paschall on those tougher matchups.

Up Next

The Warriors can’t escape those L.A. teams as they host the Clippers Thursday for opening night at Chase Center.

Notes

Draymond Green picked up a technical Friday night, showing that he’s rounding into regular season form there, too. … Jordan Poole rebounded from a rough shooting night to score eight points on 3-of-7 shooting off the bench.


Golden State technically won this “game” 124-103 Friday night. Now all eyes shift to Thursday when the regular season begins.

This story will be updated with quotes and post-game material from the Warriors’ locker room at Oracle Arena.

In their fourth and final meeting the Lakers sat eight players, including their four of their probable starting five. Yet it looked like Anthony Davis and LeBron James could have been on the court, as Los Angeles reserves dominated a Warriors lineup that wasn’t resting any healthy bodies.

Everyone not named Stephen Curry got outplayed by someone named Devontae Cacok. Their defense looked highly suspect and got burned for backdoor layups and gave up a ton of open 3’s.

Eventually the team—or more specifically Curry—took control of the game and put the Warriors comfortably on top of the shorthanded Lakers. Curry would finish with 32 points in 33 minutes, and that looks like it’s going to be the theme of this Warriors team.

They’ll try and play their team-oriented, ball movement offense to start games, and then Curry is going to realize he’s going to need to get selfish, score 30-plus points, and singlehandedly keep the Warriors in most games.

When the Warriors had Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson, Curry’s movement off ball and setting screens were deadly. But it doesn’t have close to the same effect running around backscreens from Jacob Evans and Glenn Robinson III.

The other piece to this is D’Angelo Russell, and how his game translates to the Warriors style. He scored 29 in his preseason finale, but most of those came on isolation plays, or out of the pick-and-roll.

So far this preseason Russell has not been very effective as a catch-and-shoot player. His shooting touch hasn’t been there, and he always seems to want to dribble at least once before putting up a shot. But out of the pick-and-roll, he’s looked comfortable and smooth.

And that’s something that’s going to take Russell, Curry and Kerr a while to recognize. That’s been what this preseason has been all about. For all the defensive sequences and sloppy offense that have been absolutely rough to watch and left Warriors Twitter in a state of panic, it’s the realization of what works and more importantly, what won’t work with this new roster.

That roster became clear Friday when Kerr announced the team would waive Alfonzo McKinnie in order to keep Marquese Chriss. Chriss forced the Warriors into this with the way he’s played during this preseason.

He’s shown an ability to be an athletic rim-runner as well as a surprising playmaking ability with his passing. Plus, with all the injuries at center, he is essentially is the Warriors only playable big. Kevon Looney looks like he’ll be able to play in the season opener, but it’ll be up to just him and Chriss to hold down the five spot.

With McKinnie now gone, Kerr said the starting small forward will be Robinson, who’s looked decent in his time with the starters. He won’t rebound nearly as well as McKinnie, but is probably better than him in just about every other area.

Defensively though, he’s not likely to bother any of the upper echelon small forwards that he’ll match up with, since he’s more of a two on defense. Kerr alluded to this and said he wouldn’t hesitate to put rookie Eric Paschall on those tougher matchups.

Up Next

The Warriors can’t escape those L.A,, teams as they host the Clippers Thursday for opening night at Chase Center.

Notes

Draymond Green picked up a technical Friday night, showing that he’s rounding into regular season form there, too. … Jordan Poole rebounded from a rough shooting night to score eight points on 3-of-7 shooting off the bench.


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