© Mary Holt-USA TODAY Sports
While the Bay Area sports world prepared for opening day and spun itself into fits over who the San Francisco 49ers will draft as their next franchise quarterback, the Warriors played a basketball game.
It was not what you’d call a beautiful game. As Warriors broadcaster Bob Fitzgerald said, “If you like fun, pretty basketball… turn the channel.”
And that’s what it was; an ugly, disjointed game. Turnovers, fouls, injuries and inefficient shooting all cost the Warriors in a 116-109 loss to the Miami Heat.
Draymond scores, but team turnovers, fouls negate efficiency
Coming into this game, the Warriors were 8-1 when Green scored 10 points or more. Thursday night was one of the outliers in that dataset. Green was as aggressive as you’ll ever see him offensively.
He pushed the pace, was typically pervasive in passing lanes, and did just about all that could possibly be hoped for or expected, finishing with 16 points (7-of-13, 1-of-3 from three), 10 rebounds, 8 assists, 4 steals and 4 turnovers.
Wiggins, as we mention below, settled down in the second half, but had a hell of a first half and overall defensive game, finishing with 23 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists and a ridiculous 3 blocks.
Oh, and Stephen Curry, despite 10 first-half points and a sore tailbone, finished with 36 points (9-of-19, 5-of-11 from three, 13-of-13 from FT) with 11 rebounds and 3 assists.
The problem with all that is the Warriors’ remaining scorers combined for 34, including nine from a now-sidelined Jordan Poole. Oh, and they turned the ball over 20 points to the Heat’s 12, and fouled 26 times to the Heat’s 22. While those margins might not seem chasmic, it put the Warriors in a hole they simply didn’t have the firepower to climb out of. Miami’s defense and size wore on them, too, with a 26-12 second-half rebound disadvantage a prime example of how attrition played into the loss.
Hot start for Wiggins, but not much help elsewhere
For two quarters, it felt like Andrew Wiggins was taking over. He had 18 first-half points and six threes. With just 10 first-half points from Stephen Curry, that seemed like a viable recipe for success in the second half.
But Wiggins was quiet in the second, scoring just five more points. It was one of those frustrating Wiggins moments when he’s as dominant as anyone, and then disappearing. He started to get aggressive late, drawing back-to-back trips to the line.
At least Wiggins was productive, though. Kelly Oubre, while his usual energetic self on defense, was unable to get anything going offensively, finishing with 8 points on 4-of-11 shooting and 0-for-3 from three.
That, combined with a four-point, just horrendous night from James Wiseman, left Stephen Curry and Draymond Green grasping at straws.
Brutal health game
It truly was one of those ugly, gritty games. And that’s worthwhile when it ends in a win. But it didn’t, and the Warriors paid a price for that style. In the first half, Curry landed directly on his tailbone, and was clearly in pain for some time.
In the second half, Jordan Poole turned his ankle and immediately had to come out. Kevon Looney, with an ankle injury of his own, quickly followed suit and went directly into the locker room with a team trainer.
With no real other center option aside from Wiseman and Poole one of the few offensive sparks off the bench, that could leave the Warriors in dire straits if either of those injuries are more than a handful of games.