Steph gonna Steph as Warriors lose, but handle their business in preseason opener

Reigning champs fall 114-110 to Wolves to begin exhibition play

Karl Buscheck
September 29, 2018 - 7:52 pm

At 5:38 pm Pacific Standard Time, the familiar California Love (Rusko Remix) blared through the speakers, an unfamiliar voice announced the lineups, the flamethrowers — perched atop each stanchion like dual Westerosi dragons — belched fire and the Warriors, as they always do, danced in the key.

The lights turned on and it was time to go.

Basketball, at least the preseason variety, was back.

Before the Warriors opened the exhibition schedule with a 114-110 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves on a warm Saturday night in Oakland, an out-of-town reporter made the mistake of asking head coach Steve Kerr the wrong question.

How, he wanted to know, do the Warriors prepare for the Timberwolves, who are ascending but whose most-veteran star, Jimmy Butler, has already informed the club he wants to be traded — preferably to the Miami Heat.

Kerr hit him with the truth.

“Honestly, we don’t,” Kerr said.

“It’s the first game of the preseason,” the eigh-time champ continued. “We don’t prepare for them. This is totally different from a regular season game. We will probably use the last game or two in the preseason to go through our regular season routine where we would have a shootaround, do a game plan and show a pregame video of the other team and go through matchups.”

Stephen Curry started the evening with his typical pregame routine, punctuated with his tunnel shot, per usual.

He missed all five attempts. Once the game began, he drilled his first four triples. Curry, like fellow starters Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson, were there to get 20 minutes of good work.

Mission accomplished.

The fifth starter, Damian Jones, has as much to win, or lose, as any player in the preseason. Kerr was measured in his assessment of Jones and rivals Kevon Looney and Jordan Bell.

“I thought Damian did a good job with the starters," Kerr said. "I thought he gave us energy and pace and that dive threat to the rim. And I thought Loon anf JB were good. JB had a couple mistakes in the second half, but all in all, I was pleased with the effort.”

DeMarcus Cousins, who, if all goes to plan, will take the center spot from Jones or whoever ends up occuplying it in the interim, was having about as much fun as an injured dude can. He stationed himself at the end of the bench, trademark headband on and decked out in full warmups. Cousins bounced up when anonymous Warriors hit shots and dispensed wisdom to Jones and others amid timeouts.

"The only thing we talked about last week was that we wanted him out on the bench with the guys," Kerr explained. "We wanted him out on the bench with the guys and he wanted to be there. So, it's not like we had to twist his arm."

"We want him out there, sitting next to his teammates and sitting next to coaches, communicating and seeing how it all works with us. He was really communucating with Damian quite a bit tonight, helping him out. It was good to see."

"It's going to be hard for DeMarcus, just having been out for so long and now just trying to fit in to a new team, not being able to get out there yet. So, I'm really happy. The more he's around the guys, the more he's comfortable in our setting, in our environment, the easier his entry will be when he does come back."

Curry and Durant highlighted the opening quarter, knocking down five of their first six triples, combined. Andre Iguodala highlighted the second the second, catching the lob from Quinn Cook in transition and throwing down the vicious dunk.

The action thereafter was unmemorable, which is just as well when it’s preseason game No. 1 and you’re the back-to-back champs.

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