During the 2015-16 NBA season, the Warriors didn’t lose their first game until December. They reeled off an NBA record 24 straight wins to start the season before finally losing to the Bucks 108-95 on December 12. They didn’t lose their first home game at Oracle Arena until April 1 when they were defeated 109-106 by the Celtics. And while they did lose a few games in really ugly fashion—a 32-point loss to Damian Lillard and the Trail Blazers on February 19 was the worst of the bunch—they finished the season 73-9 and, more often than not, they were the ones dishing out the punishment to their opponents and dominating on the court. It's why they now have this hanging at their practice facility:
With all of that in mind, it was crazy to see what happened during the Warriors’ first game of the 2016-17 NBA season. Because they now have Kevin Durant in their corner, most people expected the Warriors to roll right over the Spurs and show the world why they’re the favorites to win the NBA title this year. But instead, San Antonio came into Oracle Arena on opening night and absolutely destroyedSteph Curry & Co. 129-100. Kawhi Leonard scored a career-high 35 points and proved that he’s ready to be the leader for the Tim Duncan-less team. LaMarcus Aldridge added 26 points and showed everyone why the Spurs would be crazy to even think about trading him. And some guy that most people had never heard of before, Jonathon Simmons, tallied 20 points and sent shockwaves through social media with an incredible chase-down block on Curry.
If the Spurs were looking to make a statement during their first game of the season, they sure did it. And they had lots of people on Twitter bashing the new-look Warriors for getting blown out in their own building during their first game together:
In hindsight, maybe we all should have seen this coming. The Warriors were 8-point favorites heading into their game with the Spurs, and based on everything Golden State accomplished at home last season, a win seemed like a foregone conclusion. But while the addition of KD to the Warriors’ roster does make them the favorite to win the NBA title this season, it’s going to take some time for this unit to gel. They’re not going to look like a finished product during the first game, first week, or even first month of the new NBA season. Even those within the Warriors' organization seem to understand this:
That didn’t make their blowout loss to the Spurs any easier, though. After the game, Warriors coach Steve Kerr said that he was "embarrassed" by his team’s performance. He also said that he didn’t think the Warriors came out with enough energy:
Curry said that he thought that the Warriors’ energy was "okay," but he admitted that Golden State still has a lot of "work to do" on both sides of the ball:
KD called the drubbing a "slap in the face" and said he thinks it woke his new team up:
And Klay Thompson said that what happened is "not the end of the world" and added that he expects the loss to be a learning experience:
Thompson is right—the Warriors' season-opening loss to the Spurs, bad as it was, is not the end of the world, despite what you might be reading on Twitter. There are still 81 more regular-season games left for the Warriors, and something tells us they’re going to figure things out between now and the start of the postseason. Hell, they could very well figure them out between now and the start of November. But at this very moment, it’s clear that, as Curry said, they still have some work to do—and this might not be the last time they get blown out by one of the top teams in the NBA while they're doing it.