By now, the Golden State Warriors are really good at unveiling championship banners and handing out rings. The opening night of the NBA season is becoming a tradition in the Bay Area, as three of the last four opening nights have involved a nationally televised game in which Golden State has passed out rings and hung a banner celebrating the prior year’s NBA championship.
Every party runs the risk of getting spoiled, though, and while the Warriors’ night wasn’t ruined, it wasn’t for a lack of trying. The Oklahoma City Thunder — playing without Russell Westbrook, who is still recovering from a procedure on his knee during the offseason — scratched and clawed and were gigantic pains in the neck for the defending champions. By the time the dust settled, Golden State kicked off its season with a hard-earned 108-100 victory.
This weird thing happens when the Warriors play at Oracle Arena, especially when they’re in a big game. There’s this perpetual expectation that something is going to happen that leads to them running their opponents off the floor. It’s a sense that gets heightened at halftime, especially when it feels like Golden State just spent a half toying with their food before they inevitably pounce.
That was the case on Tuesday night. The Warriors went into the locker room up 57-47 behind 19 points from Steph Curry, 15 points from Kevin Durant, and 10 points from Klay Thompson. They were doing stuff like this. You have seen it before.