Prior to the 2016-17 NBA regular season tipping off, all the talk was about the ‘new’ Golden State Warriors with Kevin Durant. However, a team from Texas reminded the league they still will be a force to be reckoned with as they transition to a new era.
Kawhi Leonard scored a career-high 35 points as he led the San Antonio Spurs to a 129-100 rout of the Warriors inside Oracle Arena on Tuesday night in the season opener for both teams.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o25VvpaWaNA]
LaMarcus Aldridge had 26 points and 14 rebounds and Jonathon Simmons added 20 points off the bench for San Antonio, who open a season for the first time in 19 years without Tim Duncan.
San Antonio led by 11 points after the first quarter and a Simmons three-pointer at the end of the first half pushed the lead to 18 by halftime.
So yes, the Spurs sent a message to the rest of the NBA to open the season.
”If there was an outcome I wasn’t expecting, it was this one,” Spurs guard Manu Ginobili said. ”A 29-point lead against a team like them? I truly didn’t expect it.”
The Silver and Black’s scrappy defense forced Golden State into 16 turnovers. The Warriors finished 7-of-33 from three-point range (21 percent) and trailed by as many as 29.
Golden State (0-1) was led by Durant’s 27 points and 10 rebounds in his Warriors debut. Reigning MVP Stephen Curry added 26 points on 9-for-18 shooting and 3-for-10 from downtown. Klay Thompson struggled, scoring just 11 points and finished 5-of-13 from the field.
”No, I didn’t see losing by 29 points,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. ”It’s going to be an ugly tape to watch. … I think our guys were embarrassed tonight. I know I was.”
The other debut: Pau Gasol made his Spurs debut, scoring two points in just 18 minutes.
Up next: The Spurs are now 1-0 on the season and will return to the court on Thursday when they face the Sacramento Kings at 9:30 p.m. inside the brand new Golden 1 Center.