Yahoo: They still have plenty of stuff to figure out, but the Golden State Warriors at least turned the tides of a brutal start to the season on Monday.
The Warriors topped the New Orleans Pelicans by a score of 134-123 in a game they never trailed and led by as much as 29 midway through the fourth quarter.
The Warriors first win came in a way many imagined as the team’s composition became clear in the offseason. Stephen Curry and D’Angelo Russell led the way on offense with 3-pointers and drives into the paint while Draymond Green held everything together, registering a 16-point, 17-rebound, 10-assist triple double.
Unexpectedly contributing was bench player Damion Lee, who scored 23 points with 11 rebounds. It was a game that saw most players’ stats get juiced against a Pelicans team that loves to push the pace and therefore increase the number of possessions to log stats.
It’s the Warriors first win of the season, but they still have plenty to prove if they want to avoid snickers about their dynasty being completely dead.
Can the Warriors pull it together this year after first win?
Doom and gloom was in high supply at the beginning of the season for Warriors fans used to seeing their team inflict pain against all opponents.
The team’s season started with a thud by losing 141-122 against the Los Angeles Clippers in the first game at the shiny new Chase Center in San Francisco. Disappointment turned to panic when the team followed that up by getting blown out 120-92 by the rebuilding Oklahoma City Thunder.
Simply put, the team looked bad. Yes, Kevin Durant and Andre Iguodala left the building and Klay Thompson is still out for the foreseeable future with an ACL tear. But the team still supposedly had an MVP-level player left in Curry and past All-Stars in Green and Russell.
The team’s depth at the wing was brutal (read that sentence about them needing Damion Lee to score 23 to win again), and their top two centers — Kevon Looney and Willie Cauley-Stein — both have yet to log more than 10 minutes in a game so far due to injury. No player in the team’s starting lineup was taller than 6-foot-6 on Monday.
The question for the Warriors remains if they can survive with such a top-heavy team, with Curry and Russell creatively dominating the offense and ideally not getting worked over on defense. Head coach Steve Kerr has already said giving Curry a James Harden level of usage won’t be the answer, nor should it be (a significant amount of Curry’s value comes from his off-ball movement and gravity).
It was only one game against a Zion Williamson-less Pelicans, but at least the Warriors quickly showed they can control a game the way they want to.