What we learned as Warriors win final preseason Japan game originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
From the sights and sounds and shrieks from fans to adventures in dining, the Warriors enjoyed their trip to Japan. As for the basketball, the two games against the Wizards looked like much-needed scrimmages.
The Warriors managed to make the most of it, though. Their 104-95 victory over the Washington Wizards on Sunday afternoon at Saitama Super Arena gave them a sweep of the two preseason games.
Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, Andrew Wiggins and Kevon Looney played only the first half, all between 15 and 17 minutes. Curry led Golden State scorers with 17 points, on 7-of-13 shooting, including 3-of-8 from distance.
Patrick Baldwin Jr. and Moses Moody each added 12, leading the second-half comeback.
Neither Klay Thompson nor Andre Iguodala played in either game, as the Warriors plan to ease them into the action over the next couple weeks before the opening night clash against the Los Angeles Lakers on Oct. 18 at Chase Center.
Here are three observations from the getaway-day game:
Draymond letting it fly
The frequency, effectiveness and relevance of Draymond’s 3-point shooting has become an annual preseason storyline with the Warriors. It’s sure to resurface again after his performance in this game.
Green played 17 minutes and made 2-of-2 from beyond the arc, one from the top of the key and the other off the right wing. There was no hesitation, no hitch and plenty of confidence.
Both swished as naturally as they might off the fingertips of Curry or Thompson.
The most important aspect of this is not that the shots went in; that’s a tiny sample size. What was pertinent was the comfort with which Draymond launched. His form was impressive, his release smooth, as if he shot a few thousand triples over the summer.
The Warriors know enough to accept that Draymond’s 3-balls are a bonus. They make them a little bit harder to defend. If they start going in, the Warriors are a lot harder to defend.
PBJ is more than a sandwich
The Warriors have been quietly giddy about what they saw from Baldwin Jr. during summer workouts and pickup games. Two games into the preseason, we understand why.
After scoring seven points in eight minutes in the first game on Friday, Baldwin scored 12 in 17 minutes on Sunday. The rookie drilled his first three 3-pointers, displaying the accuracy that has team officials buzzing, and finished 4-of-5 from deep.
When the Warriors drafted the 6-foot-10 forward in the first round, No. 28 overall, they believed they were getting a lottery-level talent – despite Baldwin’s poor freshman season at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and disastrous performance at the NBA’s draft combine.
The early belief, as Baldwin sat out summer league activity while recovering from an ankle injury that nagged him over the past two years, was that he’d spend most of his rookie season with the G-League Santa Cruz Warriors. He still could.
But if he continues to impress with his court command and keeps fluttering 3-pointers through the net, he’ll push for NBA minutes.
Early Christmas in Japan?
The Warriors are known for their shooting, their ball movement, their pluck, their joy. And turnovers, the most consistent of their few bad habits.
On this night, they handed out possessions like $10 coffeehouse gift cards at the office.
Insofar as it was easy to write off the sloppiness in the preseason opener, when Golden State had only one more assist than turnovers, 18-17, the reasonable expectation was they would be markedly better this time around.
Nope. The Warriors committed 15 in the first half – when most of the starters were on the court. It was the reserves who took better care of the ball, as Golden State committed only five giveaways after halftime. They finished with 20.
Reason for worry? Maybe. Probably not. But it’s far from ideal.