OAKLAND — Less than two hours before the lights started flashing and the Oracle roared to life, Steve Kerr got to work on tamping down the expectations for his super team.“This is not last year,” the Golden State Warriors head coach insisted during his pregame press conference on Tuesday evening. “This is totally different.”
In the 120-75 beatdown of the Los Angeles Clippers, it looked, felt and sounded exactly the same.
“Even though it’s preseason, we wanted to set the tone for how we want to play,” Kevin Durant said. “Tonight was a good test and we’ve just got to keep building on it.”
The Warriors jumped out to a 25-7 advantage in the first quarter and never looked back . Klay Thompson led the team with 30 points, as he went 10-for-14 from the field — including 6-of-9 from beyond the arc.
“I’m a basketball head,” said Durant, who’s still getting used to his up close look at the likes of Thompson, Steph Curry and Draymond Green.
“When Steph made the move, I turned into a fan. When Klay got hot, I turned into a fan. When Dray went to the rim and got the dunk, you really enjoy those plays.”
Before the thrashing, Kerr had cautioned that there were still fixes that needed to be made.
“It’s very plain to see, we have a ton of work ahead of us,” Kerr said. “We’re nowhere near where we need to be and where we’re going to be.”
The glass is one of those areas where Kerr still wants to sees his team improve. Without Andrew Bogut, Festus Ezeli and Mo Speights, the squad is significantly smaller than it was a season ago.
Durant plans to help bridge the gap, saying earlier in the day that he’d like to average a double-double.
Durant went for 21 points and pulled down seven boards in 24 minutes against the Clippers, but Kerr had to be asked twice before answering if averaging a double-double is a reasonable target.
“I guess I didn’t answer that the first time,” Kerr joked.
“Yeah, I think it’s realistic. I think it’s a great goal. I’m pretty sure he’s going to get the double on the scoring side.”
Like his coach, Green knows how important rebounding is to the Warriors’ high-powered offense.
“It all starts on the defensive end for us,” Green said. “So, it’s going to be key one through five — one through 15 — really whoever’s on the floor to defend, so we can get the rebound and get out and run.”
— Before the game, Clippers head coach Doc Rivers discussed whether his team had been a viable contender in the Durant sweepstakes this summer.
“We had a shot for sure,” Rivers said. “I mean, I think anybody who probably had a meeting had a shot at him. So, I don’t know how realistic it was, but I don’t think he’s the type of guy to hold meetings and not really think he was considering you.”
— Kevon Looney (strained groin) missed the game. Kerr wouldn’t offer a timeline for a return, simply saying Looney is “day-to-day.”
— Kerr praised the Clippers, pointing out that the team has plenty of continuity–unlike his.
“To me, they’re one of the teams that are real contenders for the championship.”
— The Warriors honored Speights with a video tribute during a first-quarter timeout. Speights led the Clippers with 14 points.