Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry steals the ball from Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif., on October 17, 2017. (Stan Olszewski/Special to S.F. Examiner)

Warriors produce 4th-quarter collapse, as Draymond leaves early

OAKLAND — The confetti fell but Kevin Durant’s shot didn’t — at least not in time — as the Golden State Warriors suffered a bizarre opening-night loss to the Houston Rockets on Tuesday at Oracle Arena.

Durant’s would-be game winner was called off after the referees determined that the forward’s jumper had left his hands after the final buzzer, sinking the Warriors to a 122-121 loss.

“I thought it had a chance,” Durant said. “But I knew it was a little late. I knew it was cutting it close.”

The fourth-quarter meltdown, which saw a 12-point lead evaporate into a one-point defeat, also spoiled Nick Young’s electric debut.

In 26 minutes off the bench, Young went for a team-high 23 points — 20 in the first half — connecting on six 3-pointers.

The trouble began when Draymond Green disappeared down the tunnel at the end of the third quarter — not be seen again. Midway through the fourth, the team ruled Green out for the rest of the contest with a left knee strain.

“He tweaked his left knee, head coach Steve Kerr said. “That’s all I can tell you.”

Durant was slightly more expansive.

“Not having him out there definitely sucked,” Durant said with a laugh.

Durant added that’d had the chance to speak with Green in the locker room.

“He said he was alright,” Durant explained. “So, that’s good enough.”

At the time of Green’s departure, the Warriors had opened up a 101-88 advantage. With the defensive mastermind absent, the Rockets pushed back into the game, beginning the final stanza on a 7-0 run before thundering all the way back.

“As soon as he went out of the game things went south for us,” Kerr said. “We just couldn’t get any traction.”

The Warriors commanded a 71-62 lead at the break — despite MVPs Durant and Stephen Curry combining for 15 points and only a pair of triples. The Warriors were 11-for-17 from beyond the arc in the opening half.

On the night Durant secured his first ring, the reigning Finals MVP went for 22 points, shooting 8-for-16 from the field. Curry chipped in 22, with 17 coming the the second half.

Filling up the box score, but feeling the pain

Before exiting early, Green, last year’s defensive player of the year, left his fingerprints all over the opener. Green grabbed 11 rebounds, dished 13 assists and tallying nine points in 28 minutes.

“He was our best player tonight,” Kerr said. “He was the guy bringing the energy and the life. We didn’t have much energy from most of the group tonight.”

What happened to Klay?

Klay Thompson was locked in to begin the night. The three-time All-star drilled his first three long-range efforts, posting 11 points in five minutes. His fourth 3-pointer didn’t fall until the 6:46 mark in the fourth.

1st off the bench

Rookie Jordan Bell was the first Warrior to sub in, checking in for Zaza Pachulia at the 6:11 mark — a substitution often earmarked for JaVale McGee. Bell hit his first bucket 33 seconds later.

“He played with energy,” Durant said. “So, it’s the start of a great career for him and we’re excited to have him.”

The former Oregon Duck played 12 minutes, accounting for eight points — two of which came when Green found him for a monster alley oop, just inside a minute fore the end of the third quarter.

11 in 11

Kerr shuffled in 11 players in the first 11 minutes of 2017, as Bell, Young, Shaun Livingston, Omri Casspi, Patrick McCaw and Kevon Looney all entered off the bench in the opening quarter.

Kevon at the death

With Green and Andre Iguodala both ailing, Looney, the seldom used forward, got some run during fourth-quarter crunch time. McCaw subbed in for Looney with 1:59 left in the game and the Warriors clinging to a one-point advantage.

Where’s JaVale?

The backup big man/Oracle cult hero didn’t appear in the opener.

Casspi out

Casspi, who tweaked his right ankle sprain, also saw his night end early.Andre IguodalaDraymond GreenGolden State WarriorsHouston Rocketskevin durant jordan bellKlay ThompsonNBAStephen Curry

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

Diners sit outside Caffe Greco in North Beach on Monday, June 15, 2020. (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

Organizers of the San Francisco International Arts Festival had planned to use parts of Fort Mason including the Parade Ground, Eucalyptus Grove and Black Point Battery to host performances by about a dozen Bay Area arts groups. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Arts festival sues city over permit denial

Organizer says outdoor performances should be treated like demonstrations, religious gatherings

Most Read