The Golden State Warriors returned to the court Monday night for the first time as NBA champions.
Leandro Barbosa scored 15 points, Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry added 14 points apiece, and the Warriors defeated the Toronto Raptors 95-87 in front of a sell-out crowd of 18,223 at the SAP Center in San Jose.
“I was just really proud of the fans we have,” Thompson said. “That was an amazing turnout for a preseason game. It was unbelievable.”
“It was definitely good to get out there on the court against some other people,” Draymond Green said. “Overall, a lot of guys got on the floor. A lot of different lineups, so that was good. We did some things well and we got some things we can get better at.”
The Warriors appeared to be in midseason form already. The offense shot 50 percent from the field, 41.2 percent from 3-point range and had assists on 29 of 35 field goals. The defense held the Raptors to 37.6 percent from the field and 25 percent from beyond the arc.
“The effort was great which is what we wanted to see,” Interim head coach Luke Walton said. “It’s the first preseason game. We know it was going to be sloppy (17 turnovers). We felt like we did some things really good and we’ve got some great performances from some players like (James Michael) McAdoo. McAdoo was incredible tonight.”
McAdoo converted back-to-back 3-point plays in the middle of the fourth quarter to help the Warriors pull away for good. He finished with 10 points and two steals in 13 minutes. McAdoo’s energy and versatility on defense won praises from Walton.
“Defensively, he was incredible,” Walton said of McAdoo. “He was switching on the point guards. He was talking. He’s done that all training camp. To be honest, he was doing it last year too. We were just such a deep team and we were having so much success we had a tough time getting him minutes on the court. As a staff, there were many nights we sit there and meet and talked about where we can get this kid in.”
“It’s tough to switch on some of these guards that are good,” McAdoo said. “But I’m really proud of myself of being able to do that.”
Another player who impressed was Barbosa, who missed two days of training camp due to visa issues. Barbosa was 7-of-9 from the field and showed off his Brazilian Blur speed.
“I don’t even know how old LB is,” Walton said. “We’ve been playing in the league against each other most of our careers and I can barely run up and down the court anymore. We drew up an isolation play for him and he blew by someone that was probably eight years younger than him. I don’t know what he does in the offseason, but he’s in great shape and he looked great tonight.”
With the first 10,000 fans entering the arena receiving a special Sharks-themed Stephen Curry bobblehead, fans lined up outside the “Shark Tank” hours before the game. It was also the first time in 15 years the Warriors played in San Jose.
“It was awesome,” Thompson said. “It really gave me the chills. So I’m just happy we won it in front of them.”
Curry played 19 minutes before fouling out with 6:25 left in the third quarter. The MVP shot 5-of-7 from the field, including 3-of-5 from 3-point range. Per Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle, this is the second consecutive preseason opener Curry has been disqualified.
“He might have been a little anxious,” Thompson said of his Splash Brother. “He was probably nervous just like me with the crowd in there. It was disappointing because no one wants to see that man on the bench. He’s such a showman.”
The Raptors, playing the second game of a back-to-back set to start the preseason, rested All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry (groin). Newly-acquired DeMarre Carroll led Toronto with 15 points. Norman Powell scored all 13 of his points in the fourth quarter. DeMar DeRozan had 12 points and four assists. Jonas Valenciunas added eight points and 10 rebounds.
The highlight of the game came on a fast break late in the first half, Curry threw a behind-the-back-pass to Thompson, who passed the ball down low to Green, who kicked the ball back out to a wide-open Curry for a 3-pointer from the right wing. Before the ball even made its flight down, Curry turned away and high-fived Andre Iguodala on the bench.
Up next: The Warriors head to Portland and the Moda Center to take on the Trail Blazers Thursday night.