The Brooklyn Nets Kevin Durant (7) goes for the throw down against the Golden State Warriors Kelly Oubre (12) as Eric Paschall (7) watches at Barclay Center in Brooklyn on Tue Dec 22, 2020 (AP News photo)
By Jerry Feitelberg
The Golden State Warriors opened the 2020-2021 season on a sour note Tuesday night against the Brooklyn Nets at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The Nets blew the game open in the first quarter, and the Warriors could never catch up as they lost by a score of 125-99.
It was a tale of two teams. The host team, the Brooklyn Nets, under the tutelage of new head coach Steve Nash, presented themselves as legitimate contenders for the Eastern Conference crown. They added two superstar players, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant.
Irving joined the club after a turbulent history when he was with the Boston Celtics. He didn’t play much last season as he suffered a shoulder injury. Durant, the former Warrior, also did not play last year due to an Achilles heel injury.
Durant entered the game hoping to show everyone that he was back and that he could return to his status as one of the best players in the NBA. D’Andre Jordan holds down the center position for Brooklyn.
Spencer Dinwiddie, who averaged 20 points a game last year, was the other guard. Forward Joe Harris adds punch to the lineup as he is an excellent three-point shooter. The Nets’ second unit has two players that could be starters elsewhere. Caris LeVert is one of the best sixth men in the league. Jarrett Allen is very tall and is a rim protector.
On the other hand, the Warriors were hoping to show the NBA that they were on the road back to respectability. They had the worst record in the NBA last year. Steph Curry played in five games before being injured.
Klay Thomson also missed the entire year with an ACL injury. Klay will miss this year with an Achilles heel injury. Draymond Green did not play Tuesday night due to a sore foot. He is expected back soon.
The Warriors’ first-round draft pick, nineteen-year-old James Wiseman, was making his debut in the NBA. He did not play in any preseason games and just three games in college. His excitement level must have been very high.
Kelly Oubre, Jr and Andrew Wiggins were playing with Curry for the first time. Questions abound about how they would fare against a team like the Nets. The answer Tuesday was not favorable. Neither one had a good game.
The Warriors offense seemed to be out of whack. One game does not make a season. The Warriors coaching staff know that it takes time for a team to gel. The Warriors have so many new players. Most of them are young and haven’t played together as a team for any time.
The Warriors took the lead when Steph Curry tallied the first bucket of the night. The Nets, behind Durant and Irving, overwhelmed them in the first quarter. Durant and Irving scored 20 of the Nets’ first 21 points.
The Nets finished the first quarter with a 40-25 lead. The Warriors could not find a way to stop the Net’s offense. James Wiseman, a rookie, has a lot to learn about playing in the NBA.
The Warriors did play somewhat better in the second period. The Nets outscored them 23-20 to finish the first half of play with an 18-point advantage. Irving scored 24 for Brooklyn. Durant and LeVert each had 12. Curry led the Warriors with sixteen. Wiggins had eight. Wiseman kicked in with seven.
The Warriors were looking to turn things around in the third quarter. That didn’t happen as the Nets continued to hammer them. The Nets outscored them by ten points to increase the lead to 28, 99-77. The Nets’ head coach Steve Nash did not have to play Durant or Irving in the fourth quarter. The Warriors did win the quarter 28-26. It was too little, too late. The Nets win 125-99.
Game Notes and stats: Steph Curry led the Warriors with 20 points and ten assists. James Wiseman finished his debut with 19 points and six rebounds in 24 minutes of playing time.
Many of his points came in the fourth quarter when the game was out of reach. Kelly Oubre had a tough night. He did make two sensational dunks, but nothing else worked as he finished with just six points and seven rebounds. It was not for lack of effort. Andrew Wiggins had thirteen.
Kevin Durant played 24 minutes and looked like the Durant of old. He knocked 22 points to go along with five rebounds and three assists. Kyrie Irving tallied 26. He connected on four three in 24 minutes of action. Caris LeVert had 20. Jarrett Allen’s line was eight points and seven rebounds.
The Warriors travel to Milwaukee to play the Bucks on Christmas Day. It will be Game Two of the four-game road trip. The schedule has not been kind to the Warriors as the Bucks are among the best teams in the Eastern Conference. The game will start at 11:30 am.