The excitement of a new NBA season quickly turned to frustration for the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday night, as the new-look Brooklyn Nets cruised to a 125-99 win at Barclays Center.
Brooklyn’s Kyrie Irving led all scorers with 26 points on 10-of-16 shooting, while former Warrior Kevin Durant added 20 points and five rebounds. Stephen Curry led Golden State with 20 points and 10 assists, but only shot 7-for-21 from the field, including 2-for-10 from three-point range.
“I just didn’t like our level of competition,” said Warriors head coach Steve Kerr. “Both Kevin and Kyrie really just kind of had their way in that first half. The lack of physicality and competition was the most disappointing thing.”
Added Curry: “I think we got a little frustrated with our shots not falling in the first quarter. We had some good looks and missed a bunch of them and it kind of deflated us a little bit. And that, in turn, took our edge off on the defensive end, and against a team like that, they’re going to expose you.”
The Warriors were without three-time All-Star Draymond Green, who is recovering from a muscle strain in his right foot — Eric Paschall started in his place and struggled, finishing with just six points and one rebound.
Rookie center James Wiseman was the one bright spot for Golden State, notching 19 points on 7-of-13 shooting and six rebounds in his NBA debut. The number two overall pick started at center and played 24 minutes.
“He played really well,” Kerr said. “He looked great out there. I would’ve preferred a game where we actually were in the game and playing at a competitive level, but obviously, we got crushed tonight. But James showed exactly why we’re very excited about him.”
Andrew Wiggins couldn’t find his scoring touch, shooting just 4-of-16 from the field for 13 points. Kelly Oubre wasn’t any better in his Warriors debut, finishing with six points on 3-of-14 shooting.
As a team, Golden State shot a miserable 37.4 percent from the field, including 10-for-33 on three-pointers. The Nets finished at 45.7 percent from the field and connected on 15 of their 35 three-point attempts.
Brooklyn jumped all over Golden State right from the opening tip, using an early 21-5 run to sprint to a 23-9 lead. The Nets led by as many as 21 points in the first half and took a 63-45 lead into halftime.
Brooklyn kept pouring it on in the second half, opening the third quarter on a 17-4 run to extend the lead to 80-49. They led by as many as 38 points in the fourth quarter, ultimately winning by 26.
“We got our butts beat across the board,” Curry acknowledged. “(It’s) one game — we’ll figure it out. Don’t want to put too much on this one. We’re still figuring each other out.”
Added Kerr: “I’m disappointed with the outcome and the effort, but it doesn’t change the way I feel about this team,” Kerr said. “I feel really good about where we’re going to be a couple of months from now, but right now we’re nowhere close to being a good team and that showed.”
The schedule doesn’t get any easier for the Warriors, who next travel to Milwaukee to face two-time reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks on Friday. Without a significantly better performance, Golden State is staring at an 0-2 start to the season.