Warriors begin title defense with 123-109 domination of Lakers

BY DANIEL GLUSKOTER

The Golden State Warriors opened their pursuit of the fifth championship of the Steve Kerr era with a commanding 123-109 win over the Los Angeles Lakers Tuesday night at Chase Center.

The Warriors were out of sync at times with both Klay Thompson and Draymond Green on minute restrictions. Still, they were able to overcome the residual of any hangover effect from the pregame ceremony that saw them receive their 2022 NBA championship rings before a sellout crowd witnessing the first banner raising at Chase Center.

©DANIEL GLUSKOTER
Members of the 2021-22 Warriors show off their NBA Championship rings prior to the start of their season opener Tuesday night at Chase Center.

”I’m thrilled with the win,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. ”Ring night is never an easy game and the first game of the season is usually filled with some nerves early on.”

Steph Curry led the way with 33 points on 10–22 shooting to go along with four three pointers, seven assists, six rebounds and four steals. His four point play with just over three minutes remaining put the Warriors up by 17, effectively ending the contest in a game that only saw one lead change.

Kerr added, “I think because Klay (Thompson) and Draymond (Green) were trying to limit their minutes trying to get them over the hump over the next few weeks, probably threw a wrench into the rotation. We haven’t had much rhythm. You saw that we had Klay out there early fourth with a group that they haven’t played together and you could kind of tell. We aren’t where we need to be, but we took care of business. It was a great win in front of our fans on ring night. I think all of our guys should go home be really happy and get a good night’s sleep.”

Andrew Wiggins added 20 points while Thompson poured in 18 in just 19 minutes of action. Center James Wiseman, making his first appearance since his 2020 rookie season after missing all of last year recovering from right knee surgery, had eight points and seven rebounds.

©DANIEL GLUSKOTER
LeBron James drives to the basket between Golden State defenders Donte DiVincenzo and James Wiseman during the Warriors 123-109 season opening win over the Lakers. James led Los Angeles with 31 points.

The Lakers, led by LeBron James and Anthony Davis, don’t remotely look like a contender with their current roster in their first season under new coach Darvin Ham. James just missed a triple double, finishing with 31 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists. Davis added 27 while Russell Westbrook contributed 19 points and 11 boards.

Next up, after three days of rest to savor their new jewelry and season opening win, The Warriors will play host to the Denver Nuggets Friday night in a rematch of the opening round of last season’s playoffs.

GAME NOTES:

Pregame ceremonies saw the Warriors get presented with their championship rings from the 2022 season in addition to the unfurling of the championship banner. Former Warrior Juan Toscano-Anderson, now with the Lakers, joined in the festivities. It was the Warriors seventh NBA championship, third in NBA history trailing only the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics (17 each).

Curry started his 14th NBA season in a Golden State uniform, passing Chris Mullin (13) for the most in franchise history. His 33 points were the second most he’s scored in a season opener.

The Warriors improved to 6-1 All-Time in home openers after winning a championship.

Donte DiVincenzo and JaMychal Green both made their Warriors debut.

About Daniel Gluskoter

Daniel Gluskoter is the Martinez Tribune's national music and sports editor and a Bay Area photojournalist who's work has been featured in Rolling Stone, Time Magazine and Sports Illustrated. He covered the 2008 Presidential campaign as a correspondent for United Press International and has travelled worldwide covering events ranging from numerous Super Bowls and Olympics to Live Aid and the Grammys.

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