First things first: WELCOME BACK, NBA!
You’ve probably heard Kevin Durant played his first game as a Warrior last night. He looked odd in his new jersey. Almost as odd as Pau Gasol did in his new jersey. Those two weren’t the only people in Oracle Arena whose attire stuck out, however, as Steve Kerr and Gregg Popovich both had on colourful ties to show their support for sideline reporter, Craig Sager, as he continues his fight against Leukemia. On the court, KD would return to doing KD-type things quickly, scoring his first points as a Warrior, a Dirk imitation, a bit over a minute into the game, and would go on to finish the game with a diverse stat-line of 27 points, 10 rebs, 2 steals, and 2 blocks.
The Spurs were up 11 after the 1st Q and would extend that lead to 18 by halftime, in a quarter where Draymond air-balled a 3, which surely made Steve Kerr shake his head (we don’t know if he actually did, but he did later in the game), and seven turnovers for the Warriors (who averaged around 15/game last season). The Warriors, being the Warriors, would closen the gap with some 3’s, but it wouldn’t be enough as the Spurs responded with a 7–0 run of their own, sparked by none other than JONATHON SIMMONS. If you didn’t know who he was before the game, you sure as hell know who he is now. He would finish the first half with 15 points on 6/6 shooting, as well as the buzzer-beating 3-pointer over Kevin Durant to end the half. Not even Beyoncé and Jay-Z showing up could help the Warriors.
The 3rd Q was more of the same: the Spurs continued to be the Spurs, reminding us that they are the death machine, led by Kawhi “The Destroyer of Worlds” Leonard, as he wreaked havoc on the Warriors on both ends of the court. He would finish with 35 points on 10/21 shooting, 15/15 free throw shooting, and 5 steals. This quarter also saw Draymond get himself a technical after a dunk, yet another reminder that Draymond Green is not a robot. Oh, and Jonathon Simmons chase-down blocked Stephen Curry:
The Spurs would head into the final quarter up 20 and the quarter would end up being twelve minutes of garbage time, as indicated by Patrick McCaw registering nine minutes. Steph would finish with 26 points, LaMarcus would finish with 26 points of his own, to go with 14 rebounds, and both of their backcourt/frontcourt mates, Klay Thompson and Pau Gasol, would end the game with very forgettable performances as the Warriors would lose 100–129. Remember that home-game win streak (of 54 games and spanning two seasons) the Warriors had last season that made them seem invincible at home? This season they lost a home game on the first night of the season. It’s not all gloom and doom, though. For teams of this caliber, a jarring loss often becomes a blessing in disguise.
In other opening night news, the Knicks were also blown out, but that was less surprising, as the Cavaliers started their night by raising their championship banner and receiving their rings. And because the Knicks are the Knicks. LeBron would start the season off with a triple-double of 19 points, 11 rebounds, and 14 asts, and Derrick Rose would start his career in NY with a 17 point outing. The third, and best, game of the night would end up being everyone’s new favorite team, the Utah Jazz, taking on last year’s playoff darling, the Blazers. This game was close from wire-to-wire. Rodney Hood submitted his early dunk-of-the-year candidate, we got Joe Johnson’s best game (29 points) in about a season and a half, and Damian Lillard backed up his “I want to be MVP” declaration with 39 points, 9 rebounds, 6 asts, and, of course, buckets late in the game to seal the victory.
The 2016–2017 NBA season may not have started out with as big of a bang as we expected, but I don’t care. I’m just happy to have you back, NBA.