In 48 minutes, the aura of invincibility around the greatest collection of talent in NBA history vanished. After nearly four months of being gassed up as an unfair Super Team, the Warriors got smoked by the Spurs, 129-100, and it was the best thing that could have happened to this team.
The pressure is off. Could they set another record for NBA wins? Hey, Steve Kerr said all summer they wouldn’t shoot for it, but what would have happened if the Warriors started 24-0 again, or were 36-2?
Not a worry.
The ball-sharing questions? Gone. As evidenced by giving up 129 points at home and getting pummeled, that won’t be an issue at all. Offense wasn’t the problem. It won’t be.
The Warriors will need to focus on defense – two years ago they were ranked 1st in defensive efficiency, so they can do it again – and keeping teams off the glass. Both issues were glaringly obvious on Opening Night.
See, there are legitimate things to work on, no matter how Super this team is.
The blowout was such, that no matter what happens in the coming weeks and months, everyone will point to that game – see, this team isn’t the greatest team ever, they got crushed at home by 29 and some guy named Jonathon Simmons scored 20 points!
When the Warriors get hot, and peel off 10 or 15 wins in a row – and they will, this is a given – all Steve Kerr has to do is pop in this tape, and show how embarrassingly bad they were at boxing out and how sloppy they were with the ball (16 turnovers).
Watch the handshake and hug between Steve Kerr and Greg Popovich at the end of this video. You can almost hear him saying, THANK YOU, I needed to bring these guys back down to earth. Thanks Pop.
And I know they’re professionals, and I know they’ve been to the Finals twice in a row, but when you’re sitting at home all summer, listening and watching and reading about how you are the heaviest favorites to win the title since Michael Jordan’s 1998 Bulls, it’s easy to let that get to your head.
It’s much better for this kind of blowout to happen now rather than in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals.
The Warriors had a penchant for getting blown out last year: they lost by 25 in Dallas (Golden State was 28-1 at the time), lost by 18 in Detroit, were clubbed by 32 in Portland, and hammered by 17 against the Lakers. None of those teams were a threat to beat the Warriors in the postseason. The blowouts were glossed over. Eh, laid an egg. Happens.
The fact that Golden State’s opening night loss came at home, in front of a national TV audience, makes it an even better loss than all of those last year combined.