It’s as if nothing has changed: The Golden State Warriors running over opponents while Stephen Curry looks like that MVP award only made him hungrier to win a few more.
It was the 10th time in Curry’s career he reached 40 points, this time doing most of the work in the first quarter. He had 24 by the time it was over and let his teammates carry the Warriors the rest of the way. He shot 14-of-26 from the field with “just” five 3-pointers. In his previous nine times reaching 40 or more, only twice did he make five 3-pointers or less.
This was a declaration of intent for the Warriors. A team that’s not the popular pick to win the NBA championship, and too often disrespected for their remarkable journey last season, from finishing way ahead of he rest in the regular season and to losing just five times over the course of the playoffs, ending with a trophy being lifted.
But just like a microcosmos to their championship run which was filled with encountering teams crippled with injury problems while the Warriors had no such issue all of last season (at least not to their key players), they faced a team limited by missing two starting players: Jrue Holiday and Omer Asik.
It doesn’t make the Warriors any less impressive. They handled Anthony Davis by holding him to just 4-of-20 from the field and keeping the Pelicans, now coached by so-called offensive genius Alvin Gentry, at 42.2% from the field. But as good as Curry looked and as cohesive and scary as the Warriors seemed like as a team, it was just the first game against an opponent that’s going to be a lot better once everyone comes back from their injuries.