Opening Night Recap: Golden State Warriors vs. Brooklyn Nets

Opening Night Recap: Golden State Warriors vs. Brooklyn Nets

by December 23, 2020 3 comments

Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are still very good at basketball. Steph Curry is also still good at basketball, but the Brooklyn Nets showed their firepower in a dominating win over Curry and the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday night. 

The Nets had a 15 point lead by the end of the first quarter, and the duo of Durant and Irving combined for 36 points by halftime. The two finished the contest with 22 and 26 points respectively, and the Nets never stressed throughout the game. Coming off of an Achilles injury, there were questions about how healthy Durant would be, and those doubts were silenced quickly on opening night. 

Warriors’ Struggles

Golden State struggled offensively the entire evening. While Brooklyn was out in transition and pushing the fast break, Golden State settled for contested three pointers and missed their open shots when they were available. They shot 36 percent from the field and 26 percent from three, which will not play with Klay Thompson out for the season. 

In his first regular season game since the wrist injury he suffered last season, Steph Curry looked off. His 20 points led the Warriors in scoring, but a 7-for-21 shooting performance from the field and 2-for-10 from three-point range is not the typical game that Golden State needs from Curry in order to be successful. 

Most importantly, the Warriors also struggled mightily on the wing. Andrew Wiggins and Kelly Oubre Jr. combined for just 19 points on 7-of-30 from the field. Add seven turnovers to their stat line, and the Warriors’ wings could not make anything happen offensively. Oubre Jr. had a few nice dunks, but the energy from his slams could not translate to any momentum for Golden State. 

Bench Play

Caris LeVert showed the Nets and the Eastern Conference that even when Durant and Irving are out, the Nets have a true scoring threat on the floor. His 20 points, nine rebounds and five assists ignited the bench unit and ensured that Brooklyn did not lose their momentum even when their stars were out. 

The bright spot of the evening for Golden State was the performance of No. 2 overall draft pick, James Wiseman. The rookie looked as explosive and dynamic as ever in his time with the starters, though his energy led to some rookie mistakes and defensive mishaps. During garbage time in the fourth quarter, Wiseman led the offense and ended with 17 points and six rebounds in his NBA debut. 

“He literally fell off the turnip truck last week. And, he went out and got 19 points in his first NBA game in 24 minutes,” said Kerr of Wiseman.

After recently singing a two-way contract, Juan Toscano-Anderson played exceptionally well in his 13 minutes off the bench. Toscano-Anderson provided four points, two rebounds, two assists and two blocks in a well-rounded performance that was defined by the hustle of a two-way player who wanted to show Steve Kerr why he belongs in the league. 

Looking Ahead

In his first game as an NBA head coach, Steve Nash led the Nets to a dominating win that cemented everyone’s thoughts of Brooklyn being a top contender in the Eastern Conference. 

“Steve has a lot of basketball experience, and that bodes well for the whole team. Just having that knowledge for the game, walking the sidelines and that stuff he will get used to as time goes on,” said Durant. 

The Warriors now prepare for another national spotlight matchup on Christmas Day against the new-look Milwaukee Bucks. Before the season, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr discussed the prospect of facing the East’s top two teams right away. 

“I don’t mind at all starting against two of the best teams in the league. Let’s take on the best and see where we stand before we push forward,” said Kerr. 

Brooklyn will enjoy their first win and prepare for their own Christmas Day matchup with the Boston Celtics. Kyrie Irving will return home and try to show the Celtics what they are missing out on, while Jayson Tatum, Kemba Walker and Jaylen Brown will try and knock off their division opponents for the first time this season.

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MJ is the host of "Next Man Up w/MJ Hurley" and "eXamining the XFL" MJ is also a reporter at Fansided for Oakland A's and at XFL Board.

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