What we learned as Durant is that the Suns are spoiling CP3’s Warriors debut

What we learned as Durant is that the Suns are spoiling CP3’s Warriors debut originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO – Opening night at Chase Center was a roller coaster of runs that ended with the Warriors losing 108-104 to the Phoenix Suns.

The Warriors shot just 35.6 percent from the field and made just 23.3 percent of their 43 3-point attempts. They also had an outrebound rate of 60-49 and only had 18 assists. The first game of the 2023-24 season was exciting, but not pretty, as the Warriors scored just 18 points in the fourth quarter while the Suns scored 28 points.

Klay Thompson struggled to begin his contract yearscored 15 points on 6 of 18 shooting and went 3 of 11 from beyond the arc.

Steph Curry battled foul trouble and led the Warriors with 27 points on an uncanny 8 of 20 shooting and was 4 of 14 on 3-pointers. Chris Paul began with Draymond Green, who sat out and filled the penalty box with 14 points, nine assists and six rebounds. Like the rest of his teammates, he was far from shooting the ball himself.

The Suns’ star shooting guard Devin Booker topped all scorers with 32 points, and Kevin Durant dropped 18 points first game in front of fans back in San Francisco.

Here are three takeaways from the Warriors’ season-opening loss.

CP starter

Paul’s regular-season debut as a Warrior and his first game against his former team began with him taking Golden State’s first shot of the night, an errant, fading jump shot in the paint. Later in the first quarter, he showed his experienced skills by taking over the attack while Durant held him back.

That same acumen was on display early in the second quarter when Paul forced a foul from Drew Eubanks, but the point guard struggled to find his shot. Paul missed all six of his shot attempts in the first half, but he wasn’t the only one. The Warriors shot 31 percent (18 of 58) in the first half and 26.1 percent (6 of 23) from 3-point range.

The pass-first point guard finally found his first shot with 6:49 left in the third quarter, making it a one-point game. His second goal was a three-point play that gave the Warriors their first lead since there were six minutes left in the first half.

Paul’s second half performance, like the rest of the Warriors, was night and day from the first half and was one of the main reasons the game went down to the wire. The starting five played 10 1/2 minutes together and were a plus-5, outscoring the Suns 27-22.

Moody’s Instant Impact

With 4:20 left in the first quarter, the deficit was seven points, Warriors coach Steve Kerr turned to his second unit and Moses Moody took his chance from the jump. Moody immediately grabbed a defensive rebound and blocked Eric Gordon less than a minute later. Within the next 40 seconds, Moody stole a bad pass from Booker and converted it into two points on a fastbreak layup.

Moody had seven points, two rebounds, a steal and a block at the end of the first quarter. His contributions resulted in the Warriors and Suns tied at 28 points each, and Kerr kept Moody on the court early in the second quarter and was the Warriors’ leading scorer at halftime with 11 points.

Although Moody wasn’t needed as much in the second half, his 11 points and three steals, the most of his career, were always important.

The third quarter Warriors return

A key missing ingredient for the Warriors last season was their lack of dominant third quarters out of halftime. In Game 1, the Warriors showed no mercy in those crucial 12 minutes.

The Warriors outscored the Suns 40-19 in the third quarter, and the way they did it was even more impressive. Curry scored seven of the Warriors’ first 15 points in the third quarter, but then went to the bench after picking up his fourth foul. Chris Paul and Gary Payton II came. The Warriors had a 25:5 lead over the Suns in the first seven minutes of the game.

And along the way, they also went on a 12-2 run with Curry on the bench. Paul played nine minutes in the third quarter and scored 10 points, as well as grabbing four rebounds and providing two assists. The Warriors as a team shot 52.2 percent overall in the third quarter and scored 14 points at the free throw line.

The difference was that they faltered in the fourth quarter, but without the excitement in the third quarter, the Warriors wouldn’t have even had a chance.

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