The Warriors survived a Halloween scare from the Suns and escaped the desert with a 87-85 Opening Night win. Carl Landry came up huge down the stretch, scoring 12 of his team-high 17 points in the fourth quarter in a game that saw the long-awaited Warriors debut of Andrew Bogut (8 points, 6 rebounds, 19 minutes). Landry led a strong performance from a bench unit that included 14 points from Brandon Rush and 10 points and seven assists from Jarrett Jack. Klay Thompson added 16 points for the Warriors, who return to action for their home opener on Friday against the Grizzlies. A limited amount of lower level tickets are still available and the first 19,000 fans in attendance will receive an Opening Night T-Shirt, courtesy of Kia.
On tonight’s game:
“We continue to grind it out, to compete, to execute. We made some mistakes, we missed shots but if you would have told me coming in that David Lee and Steph Curry would go 4-30, I’d say we’d be in trouble. D. Lee didn’t have it offensively took two charges, made two plays to Carl Landry. Steph didn’t have it offensively, was out of sync, seven rebounds, Klay Thompson, eight rebounds; Just a great overall effort. B. Rush carried us in the first half. When you talk about winning you’ve got to be willing to sacrifice. You can’t want to win on your terms; you have to win on the team’s terms. A player like Andrew Bogut, didn’t play but ready to come in down the stretch. Whatever we need, we have a group of guys that are buying in.”
On getting back on the court:
“It’s been a long time coming for me; it’s been 9 months since I’ve played basketball competitively. I felt great, body felt great. I felt like after the first three minutes when my wind was down a little bit, I felt great. Early on in the game it was kind of tough. Once I pushed through that and got my second wind I felt great. Obviously they limited my minutes tonight so I wasn’t too happy about it but as long as we get the win man.”
On tonight’s game:
“I think it was just defense. We made a run on the offensive end but since we’ve been in training camp, Coach Jackson and his staff have put an emphasis on defense and getting stops and that’s what we try to do. My teammates did a good job of finding me in positions to make buckets, so guys are going to have nights like that where shots don’t fall but that’s where you have a good team like we do, a deep team. We’ve got guys that can make plays.”
AWAY WE GO
Golden State is 27-39 all-time in season-opening games, with nearly identical winning percentages on the road (12-18, .400) and at home (15-21, .417). The Warriors are opening the season on the road for the first time in exactly 11 years, when they traveled to Portland on 10/31/01 to play the Trail Blazers (an 87-92 loss). Golden State has lost six of its last seven lid-lifters, and has dropped the last four on the road, last winning an opener away from home on 11/4/94 at San Antonio (123-118).
Wednesday's game will be the ninth time in franchise history that the Warriors have opened a season against the Suns, meaning 13 percent (9-of-67) of the Warriors’ season openers have come against Phoenix. The next most common opponents in Dubs’ openers are the Lakers and 76ers (all as the Syracuse Nationals), who the Warriors have faced six times. In the previous eight meetings with the Suns, the Warriors are 2-6, and winless (0-5) in openers in the desert. However, Golden State has won two of the last three openers against Phoenix, including the last such occurrence on 10/31/00, a 96-94 Warriors triumph.
REGULAR SEASON PREP
The Warriors finished the preseaon with a Western-Conference best 6-2 record, matching their win total from 2006 (6-1) for their most preseason wins since the Elias Sports Bureau began tracking preseason records in 1995. Only Toronto and Philadelphia had as many preseason wins as the Warriors this season.
ALL EYES ON BOGUT AND CURRY
There's no question that the biggest factor to Warriors success this season will be health. Stephen Curry sat out the final two preseason games after spraining his surgically repaired right ankle in Portland on October 19. Sitting Curry was a precautionary measure, and he is expected to play in Phoenix on Opening Night. Andrew Bogut, however, continues in his recovery from surgery to his left ankle. He didn't play at all in the preseason but has been cleared for full-court and contact drills in practice. There's no question that both players will have big roles for the Warriors this season, and we'll provide updates on their status as soon as they become available.
Five of the most notable Warriors bloggers were asked the same set of six questions, and all of their answers have been posted on warriors.com. To access this discussion and submit your own thoughts on them, click here.