Defending champion Warriors lose preseason opener to Nuggets

ABS-CBN Sports on Oct 01, 2017 01:33 PM
Defending champion Warriors lose preseason opener to Nuggets
Denver Nuggets' Nikola Jokic drives the ball past Golden State Warriors' Draymond Green during the second half of a pre-season NBA basketball game Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

By Janie McCauley, Associated Press

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Kevin Durant drove through the paint for a quick one-handed slam. Stephen Curry dazzled with his dribbling and pulled up for quick 3-pointers that weren’t quite as accurate as usual.

The Golden State Warriors still looked like the dominant team they were in winning a championship just a few months ago, even in a 108-102 preseason loss to Denver on Saturday night.

The Warriors have 12 players back, including all five starters. But they don’t have their shooting touch yet, going 4 of 33 from deep. Their four All-Stars were a dismal 1 for 19.

NBA Finals MVP Durant scored 10 points in nearly 24 minutes, Curry had 11 in the NBA’s preseason opener.

Warriors and Nuggets players stood through the national anthem, a week after President Donald Trump rescinded his White House invitation to Curry and his team. Warriors coach Steve Kerr indicated before the game he didn’t expect any kind of protest.

“It wasn’t a discussion or a decision,” Draymond Green said. “We said what we had to say. Everybody knows where we stand. We don’t need to do anything else to show where we stand. Everyone knows where we stand.”

Paul Millsap had 22 points and 11 rebounds in his first game for Denver. Nikola Jokic added 12 points and six rebounds, making 7 of 10 free throws. Emmanuel Mudiay had 19 points and six assists off the bench.

Kerr only planned to use his starters 20-25 minutes with an international trip ahead. The Warriors were set to leave Sunday for China, where they will play a pair of preseason games against Minnesota.

Golden State rookie Jordan Bell had a nice alley-oop dunk in the third quarter from Green, who received his Defensive Player of the Year trophy from Ben Wallace just before tipoff.

New Warriors forward Omri Casspi was away from the team for the Jewish high holiday of Yom Kippur, and so was analytics guru Sammy Gelfand.

“I talked to him a couple days ago. Sammy Gelfand also will not be here tonight as he observes the holiday as well,” Kerr said. “Whatever each person needs to do then obviously we afford them that right. It’s an important holiday for people of the Jewish faith. Omri has our full support.”

Golden State played a September game for the first time since facing Portland on Sept. 30, 1980, in Seattle. This marks the Warriors’ third trip to China after playing there previously in 2008 against Milwaukee and ’13 against the Lakers.

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