WELCOME BACK. It seemed like the Finals just ended, but here we were back four months later at Oracle watching Steph the Magnificent do it again. After a special and elaborate ring ceremony (and title banner unveiling) where Adam Silver and Warriors owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber distributed rings to the team and staff, the Dubs went about starting their title defense by dispatching with Anthony Davis and the Pelicans fairly easily.
The crowd was raucous and confident but I don't think anyone in the building expected Steph to pour in 24 points in the first quarter. Everyone knows Steph can shoot, but the part that is so fun for me is when here at home he CARRIES the game in his own palms. The atmosphere during those periods of Curry "flow" is why I love Warriors games these days. The first quarter/half seemed like one of the longest I can remember. Curry finished with 40 points, seven assists, and six rebounds. Hope this portends for a long and victorious season ahead.
Chris Webber, Marv Albert, Marc Stein, Jon and Rick Barry, Bill and Luke Walton, Adonal Foyal and Jerry West were all on hand. The moment that moved me, though, was seeing TNT's Craig Sager back on the sideline after fighting his second bout with cancer. His orange outfit and courageous smile stood out more than his gaunt body. When the Warriors announcer introduced him in the second half, the crowd stood in appreciation. Good stuff.
As for the other players besides the MVP, Anthony Davis was totally befuddled with Draymond Green and the Warriors defense. He was 1-for-15 at one point and finished with a 4-for-20 "lack of shooting" and wasn't a factor in the game at all. Andrew Bogut and Fetis Ezili combined for a solid contribution (25 points/9 rebounds) from the center spot for Golden State. Finals MVP Andre Iguodala, who went to Germany this summer for injections in his knees, had good hops but not much else. In his debut with New Orleans, Kendrick Perkins had probably his highest scoring quarter in five years and then inexplicably, he sat for the rest of the game. Ish Smith was really effective with 17 points and nine assists. Continuing their unselfish play, the Warriors had 29 assists on 41 made field goals.
One final note is about Alvin Gentry, whose picture I have included because I was so impressed with him. He started the festivities on the Warriors bench because he received a ring for assistant head coach of the Dubs last year. As the new head coach for the Hornets, he was continually frustrated by knowing the Warriors plays as they happened ("stop gap coming" he would scream) but was unable to get his players to anticipate where to be in order to defend the play. From my seat near the visitor's bench, I rapped with him much of the game and watched him communicate with his players and coaches. Good listener, very solid individual. I wished him a successful season on my way out and he patted me on the shoulder and said thanks.
I don't know if the Warriors will repeat this year, but they certainly had a good swag on to start the 2015-2016 season. All I know is we won last year and no one can ever take that away from us. Go Dubs!