NBA Preseason: Warriors lose opener to Nuggets; T-wolves ease past baby Lakers
Denver Nuggets 108-102 Golden State Warriors
First preseason game of the NBA schedule and the defending champions dropped a game to the young and upcoming Denver Nuggets. Hold on, it's the preseason so nobody batted an eye and rightfully so.
Nonetheless, a loss is a loss and a huge reason for the L was the Warriors disastrous 4-for-33 (12.1%) shooting on three-pointers. Probably in anticipation of their trip to China but none of their superstars logged heavy minutes, with Kevin Durant logging in the most, playing 24 minutes. Even in limited minutes, Draymond Green was the stat sheet filler with 4 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists.
Golden State will now take the long flight to China to play two games against the Minnesota Timberwolves on October 5th and 8th.
The Nuggets applied the same strategy (of limited minutes) as their free-agent signing of Paul Millsap flexed his muscles this game. The 11-year veteran caught fire late in the third quarter, fueling the team's 16-2 run to close the third quarter. The run eventually became the difference maker. Millsap scored 22 points (16 in the third quarter), grabbed 11 rebounds and shot 63.6% from the field, including 4-of-6 on long-range shots. Combine Jokic's exciting game alongside the all-round talent of Millsap and the Nuggets offense looks scary good.
Denver next faces the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday night (Tuesday IST).
Minnesota Timberwolves 108-99 Los Angeles Lakers
A lot of talk surrounding Lonzo Ball and the rebuilding Lakers but the star-studded Minnesota Timberwolves played spoilsport in their preseason opener.
Ball in a game-high 36 minutes of playing time had only 5 points, dished out 8 dimes, grabbed 7 rebounds while shooting a poor 2-of-9 from the field. The team as a whole didn't shoot well either particularly from three-point range (16.7). A silver lining from this game, though, was Kyle Kuzma, the Lakers' late first-round pick. He scored 19 points and grabbed 5 rebounds while shooting 75% from the field.
Lakers next play the Nuggets on Monday (Tuesday morning IST).
Meanwhile, for the Timberwolves, all of their young players had a go in the game for about 20-odd minutes. Veteran Jimmy Butler played just 12 minutes, once again most probably just a precaution with their 2-game China trip in the next week. Taj Gibson played the most minute (28) and had 18 points and 9 rebounds to show for. The team took over the game and comfortably led all the way after they outscored the Lakers 31-20 in the second period.
Timberwolves are now headed to China to play the Warriors there on October 5th and 8th.