The NBA MVP still played like he was in the finals four months ago, scoring 40 points to lead the Golden State Warriors to an 111-95 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on their season opener.
Curry put on a shooting clinic, hitting seven of his first nine shots with four 3-pointers for 24 first-quarter points. He finished 14 for 26 with seven assists and six rebounds in a rematch of the first round of the playoffs that Golden State swept 4-0. It was his 10th career 40-point game.
Oracle Arena hosted an incredibly warm Pre-game ceremony wherein the Warriors received their Championship rings. The 40-year draught was brought to an end where the lonely 1974-75 championship banner had a shiny new 2014-15 championship banner unveiled besides it. It was a proud moment for the Warriors organization and the Bay Area fans. Coach Steve Kerr attended the ceremony and then left for the locker room to rest his surgically repaired back as interim Luke Walton coached the team. After the game, Curry admitted he missed coach Kerr and hoped that he’s back as soon as possible.
He also mentioned that Kerr still guided Walton on the strategies and that coach Walton was doing a good job temporarily filling Steve Kerr’s big shoes. This match was interesting because we saw two of Steve Kerr’s assistant coaches from last season face off against one another. Ex- Assistant Coach for the Golden State Warriors Alvin Gentry assumed the New Orleans Pelicans Head Coach position this season.
Warriors Center, Andrew Bogut was playing in great form with his protective mask on (broken nose), making all his 6 shots from the field along with 5 assists. However he accidently had a head collision with Pelicans Forward Dante Cunningham. Bogut suffered stitches for the laceration to his right eye and Cunningham was evaluated for a concussion.
Splash Brother Klay Thompson didn’t have a great first game recording 9 points, 7 turnovers and 5 fouls. He seemed a little off, missing all his 3-point attempts but we’re sure he’ll get back to his champion mode as we get into the swing on things. The Warriors were incredible at moving the ball around and we could feel Steve Kerr even though we couldn’t see him. Most of the players on that roster have really a good court vision, mixed with high Basketball IQ and no respect for selfishness. The players have a tendency to make that extra pass to find the open player which significantly raises their field goal percentage. To make matters worse for the Pelicans, the Warriors shot 91% from the free throw line as opposed to their 70%.
Pelican Star Forward Anthony Davis had a pretty disappointing start to the season. The two-time NBA All-Star and Blocks Leader, was New Orleans’ biggest chance against the Warriors. He made an ugly 1 of 15 to start the game and concluded with 4 of 20. The big man got a lot of contact in the paint and scored more than half his points from the line. He finished the game with a team-high 18 points, 6 rebounds and 2 assists. New Pelican Kendrick Perkins had a respectable game as a starter making 5-5 field goals and getting 4 rebounds. He looked fitter than his Cavalier days and it was clear that he had worked on his post game. The Pelicans with an underperforming Davis were definitely no match for the reigning champions, but they still put up a respectable fight showing they were good as a team under Gentry’s leadership.
Player of the Game – Stephen Curry
If you’re going to score 40 points, get 7 assists and 2 steals, there isn’t going to be much of a debate on who the Player of the Game is. The MVP Point Guard also recorded the most points scored by a reigning MVP in an opener since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1972. Stephen Curry scored a career high 24 points in the first quarter and he did that effortlessly. It almost seemed unfair the way anything he shot from anywhere was going in whereas the star on the other team wasn’t able to get a shot in from the paint. At times he didn’t even bother to reach the perimeter line and just drowned 28 feet shots like they were free throws. Defense doesn’t really matter in this case because Curry shoots in the blink of an eye. It doesn’t matter if he’s off the dribble, if he’s double teamed, or if he just recovered from a fall; he can just drown a shot in any situation. Curry made a statement showing that he got better in the offseason and there’s more to come when he makes clutch 4th quarter plays against stronger teams.
Check out Curry’s 40 points in his season debut: