Davis was brilliant in his 18 minutes, scoring 22 points and pulling down 10 rebounds. James was equally impressive, notching 15 points and eight assists in 17 minutes. The Warriors were led by Stephen Curry’s 18 points in 17 minutes, while rookie Jordan Poole caught first in his first game, finishing with 17 points on 4-for-9 3-point shooting.
Here are five takeaways from the preseason debut for the Warriors and Lakers.
LeBron and AD are a problem
It’s one thing to envision it — it’s quite another to see it in action. LeBron James and Anthony Davis had immediate chemistry in their first official game as teammates, with James running the show while Davis finished possessions with his vast offensive repertoire. We haven’t seen Davis play since last March, so you may have forgotten just how good this guy is. His stat line in just one half of basketball should tell you all you need to know about his other-worldly talent level. On paper, LeBron and AD complement each other perfectly, and in practice it looked even scarier.
These are the Warriors, right?
It’s understandable because of all the roster turnover, but the Warriors looked lost and confused on both ends of the floor on Saturday. Several defensive miscues led to wide open alley-oops and 3-pointers, while players found themselves in the wrong spot on offense more times than you could count. Draymond Green cautioned fans that the first preseason game wouldn’t be pretty, and fromto the final whistle — he was right.
A lot has been made of Anthony Davis not wanting to play center — which seems to be his most logical use in the modern NBA — but the advantages of playing him alongside JaVale McGee in the starting unit were obvious. The length and rim protection were absurd, and the Lakers often found either Davis or McGee (or both) mismatched against a smaller player in transition, leading to plenty of lobs and dunks. It may not work against all lineups, but putting McGee (or Dwight Howard) next to Davis could be a nightmare on both ends for opponents.
Slow start for D-Lo
The Warriors signed D’Angelo Russell to pick up some of the scoring slack for the absent Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson, but his Warriors debut was rough. Russell shot 2-for-9 from the field and 0-for-4 from 3-point range, including a couple shots that weren’t even close. It’s going to take a while for Russell to acclimate himself to the new offense, but needless to say he’s going to have to knock down shots for Golden State to be successful this season.
Long way to go
As fun and tempting as it is to jump to conclusions, we have to keep in mind that there is much ground to be covered before the start of the season, let alone the playoffs. Because of development, transactions and injuries, the rosters we see in the preseason might not even resemble those we see at the end of the season. But still, seeing stars like LeBron, AD, Steph and Draymond on the court in actual competition reminds us that the NBA is officially back. Let the fun commence.