A thrilling two-game match between the Golden State Warriors and the Phoenix Suns sparked the NBA’s opening night, presenting an incredible sight.
The Golden State Warriors’ dominating opening game of 2023–24 against the Los Angeles Lakers made it clear that the Suns, the Warriors, and the defending champion Denver Nuggets were the main sources of drama and excitement.
Nevertheless, unbridled excitement doesn’t guarantee success, and the Warriors found themselves starting the season on a challenging note, succumbing 108-104 in a fiercely contested battle.
Right from the start, it was a thrilling affair as both teams provided early buckets and highlights. At first, the Warriors looked shaky, repeatedly turning the ball over and showing some early-game jitters that they eventually shook off.
Phoenix took an early 10-0 and 7-0 run and established a 24-12 lead. But the Golden State, led by a bench unit featuring Chris Paul, Gary Payton II, Moses Moody, Jonathan Kuminga, and Dario Saric, roared back, proving to be better than any reserve group preserved from the 2022-23 team.
Moody was solid on both ends, and some timely steals and well-timed buckets helped the Warriors draw level at 28-28 after the first quarter.
The second quarter continued to be exciting as the Warriors established a 35-30 lead early on, scoring 23-6 in the first two frames. But, unlike the previous season, when things went south early, they had to battle.
Devin Booker’s dead-eye shooting and Josh Okogie’s relentless hustle, along with some crafty moves by our old friend Kevin Durant, helped the Suns surge ahead, finishing the half with a 15-point lead.
Nonetheless, the Warriors showcased their trademark strong performance in the third quarter, as is frequently their style. Those who started the game received a new lease of life, especially when Stephen Curry took charge.
The team showed the courage and enthusiasm that was missing in the first half and turned a significant deficit into a lead with a lightning-quick 21-4 run in defensive prowess.
Paul and Moody led the bench unit, putting pressure on the Suns. Closing the quarter, CP3 took charge, and despite a valiant but ultimately unsuccessful defensive effort, the Suns ended the quarter with a big advantage of 40-19, securing a six-point lead.
Nevertheless, that marked the onset of the difficulties becoming apparent. Curry fell into his old habit of foolishness, and he had to be benched quickly. The Suns capitalized on an 11-point swing, taking the lead. As we neared the end, the game remained neck and neck, with both teams trading blows.
When the NBA announced the schedule a few months ago, this game was booked as the star showdown. With Paul, Curry, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, and Andrew Wiggins in the starting lineup, the Warriors started the game, while the Suns used Booker, Durant, and Bradley Beal in their starting lineup.
However, as we approached the game, neither Green nor Beal were available to play, leaving us wondering who would blink first: the Warriors without their quarterback or the Suns without their third head?
As it happened, it was the latter option that unfolded. The Warriors battled fiercely in the closing minutes, with a fight for aggressive rebounds – including two big boards by Jonathan Kuminga and a huge triple by Curry. But Booker, working the pick-and-roll with the new center, Jusuf Nurkic, went cold due to dwindling assets.
When the dust settled, it was an exhilarating contest, but the Warriors came up agonizingly close, ultimately falling short with a concluding score of 108-104.
As the game approached its conclusion, with the seconds dwindling on the clock, the Dubs squandered a vital opportunity for a two-point play, further amplifying the heartache as they fell victim to a heart-wrenching one-point defeat. Instead, they’ll have to settle for an entertaining defeat.
Curry took charge for the Warriors, tallying 27 points, though he grappled with his field goal accuracy, connecting on 8 of 20 attempts and managing 4 of 14 from long-range. Foul trouble curtailed his playing time to just 31 minutes.
Paul demonstrated why Golden State traded for him, as his nine assists in a single turnover birthed the ball-control game that Warriors fans don’t typically use, but Paul faltered in the clutch, missing all six of his three-point attempts.
Moody made a strong impression, hitting 4 of 6 shots and contributing 11 points. It’s entirely conceivable that he could log over 18 minutes of court time in the team’s forthcoming game.
Kuminga got off to a hopeful beginning, notching up 12 points, securing six rebounds, snatching two steals, and adding a blocked shot; nonetheless, by the end of the match, he had accumulated five fouls and committed two turnovers. But the most telling thing was that he was in the closing lineup over Wiggins, whose game was forgettable.
The Warriors had plenty of positives to build on, and an average performance should excite and motivate you. Losing to an NBA contender while shooting 23.3% from three-point range – mainly due to looking good – is disappointing but encouraging.
Furthermore, a multitude of errors and concerns demand attention and enhancement, and it’s imperative to discover expedited solutions. While Green can aid in rectifying certain aspects, sole reliance on him isn’t sufficient; it’s a collective endeavor.
With a three-game road excursion against the Sacramento Kings slated for Friday night, they presently have a two-day hiatus to initiate the necessary improvements.