July 4th was a day of shock for most NBA fans. The biggest free agency decision since “The Decision” was set to be made that day, but no one was prepared for what would happen. Kevin Durant announced his intent to sign with the Golden State Warriors, a team that his Thunder failed to beat in the Western Conference Finals that very year.
If you happen to live under a rock and don’t know what I’m talking about, refer to this article: Kevin Durant Chooses the Bay; Shocks the World.
While some of you have already crowned the Warriors champions ever since, opening night in the NBA proved that the road won’t be easy. Like all the “Super Teams” before them, they will learn that no matter how much talent you have, it takes team chemistry to win championships. For proof of this, look no further than the San Antonio Spurs, who spoiled Opening night for Durant, and the Warriors.
The Spurs were able to expose a few 0f the Warriors weaknesses, most notably their interior defense. In order to sign Durant the Warriors were forced to release Andrew Bogut, their best rim protector. His presence inside will be missed this season.
Curry, Durant, and Green combined for 71 points, but the rest of the team was stagnant. The Warrriors bench only scored 16 points in the game, while the Spurs bench put up 54. They failed to get in any real groove making only 7 of the 33 three-pointers that they attempted in the game.
The Spurs on the other hand were incredibly efficient shooting 48% from the field, and 50% from behind the three point line. They finished the game with a Box Plus Minus of +29, while the Warriors finished at -29. Tim Duncan is gone, but the team has been left in good hands; Kawhi Leonard led the Spurs with 35 points and 5 steals, and LaMarcus Aldridge added 26 points and 14 rebounds.
For the Warriors it is a learning experience, as they will try to bounce back against Anthony Davis and the Pelicans on Friday.