Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr during the first quarter against the Los Angeles Lakers on October 12, 2018 at SAP Center in San Jose, California. (Chris Victorio / Special to S.F. Examiner)

Golden State Warriors set to open season with ring night, banner raising

By C.J. Peterson
Special to S.F. Examiner

OAKLAND — For the third time in four years, the Golden State Warriors will open the season as champions. From raising a new championship banner to receiving “obscenely beautiful rings,” according to head coach Steve Kerr, Tuesday will be a special night for Golden State.

“Tomorrow will be fun. It’s a huge night, an emotional night and a night to celebrate,” said Kerr after the team’s Monday practice. “But then you have to tip it up right after. And that’s the challenge. You’ve got to make that transition from celebrating to competing just like that.”

What the Warriors have going in their favor on Tuesday night against the Oklahoma City Thunder — aside from the absence of Russell Westbrook — is the fact that they’ve been through this same scenario twice before.

In 2015, Golden State opened their season against the New Orleans Pelican with a 111-95 victory at Oracle Arena. Last year, the Warriors were edged by the visiting Houston Rockets — a team purpose-built to defeat them — in a 122-121 thriller. The two teams would meet again in the Western Conference Finals.

“[The pregame] is a distraction from the game itself.” said Warriors All-Star forward Kevin Durant. “It’s a great distraction, don’t get me wrong, but when you’re trying to play a basketball game, right before you have to focus on something else, It’ll throw you off a little bit.

“But especially if you’ve experienced it more than once, I think guys know what’s coming and are ready for the moment.”

This year, the Warriors will welcome Durant’s former team, the Thunder. Westbrook, Oklahoma City’s starting point guard, will not play due to a nagging knee injury that’s kept him sidelined for the entire preseason.

Without one of the league’s most dominant and polarizing players on the floor, some believe that things may be shaping up for a textbook trap game.

“I don’t think so,” said Kerr at the thought. “I think that’s more of an issue in the regular season, maybe you’re in the meat of the season. Opening night, there’s always extra energy, and ring night, even more so. It shouldn’t matter who’s out there [for the other team].”

As the Warriors get ready to open the 2018-19 season with a three-peat aspirations in mind, getting past the actual game itself will be the first hurdle to get over while still enjoying the moment of celebrating as champions.

“That’s probably the last time we’ll openly celebrate that championship like that because it’s a new season,” said Durant. “But you have to lock back in really quick and we’ve got a lot of smart, high-IQ players, a lot of geniuses on this team that can snap back really quick.”

Notebook:

– The Warriors ran a full practice on Monday afternoon with 100-percent participation. The only player listed on the team’s injury report was backup point guard, Shaun Livingston (foot).

According to the team, Livingston is listed as questionable for Tuesday and will likely be a game-time decision.Golden State WarriorsKevin DurantNBARussell WestbrookShaun LivingstonSteve Kerr

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

The admissions process at the academically competitive Lowell High School is set to change this year due to coronavirus restritions. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Lowell’s selective admissions process put on hold this year — and more changes may be in the works

School board votes unanimously to use normal student assignment lottery for competitive school

Dr. Vincent Matthews, superintendent of the San Francisco Unified School District, said Tuesday that student would not be back in school before the end of this calendar year. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Superintendent: City schools will not reopen before the end of the year

San Francisco public schools won’t reopen to students for the rest of… Continue reading

San Francisco will allow bars selling drinks, and not food, to begin serving customers outdoors under health guidelines going into effect next month. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SF becomes first Bay Area County to move to least restrictive COVID-19 category

Change to ‘yellow’ will allow more indoor dining and fitness, reopening non-essential offices

City officials want to install more red light cameras but the process is costly and time consuming. (Shutterstock)
Transit officials push for more red light cameras

SFMTA says ‘capital crunch’ and dragging timelines make expanding the program cumbersome

Police release an image a cracked windshield on a Prius that Cesar Vargas allegedly tried to carjack. Vargas, who was shot by police a short time later, can be seen in videos jumping on the windshield and pushing a Muni passenger who disembarked from a bus. (Courtesy SFPD
SFPD releases videos of deadly police shooting

Cesar Vargas killed after reports of carjacking with knife

Most Read