Aside from the location, you would think that this game was a re-run. For Warrior fans, you hope that it is.
Defensive prowess and rebounding (and injuries to some Sacramento Kings big men) helped the Warriors take this first match-up of northern California rivals. In their nine point victory two nights ago, the Warriors held the Kings to 34% shooting and forced them into 15 turnovers. The Warriors didn't fare much better, shooting a clip above 41% and a horrendous 3-20 from three-point territory.
But the fact that the Warriors were able to out-rebound a team that once had much more height and length shows that maybe this rebuilt Warriors team may actually be entertaining and competitive.
The Kings were not a good team last year -- coming out hot only to hit a funk when their roster was hit with injuries to some key players as well as experience and inconsistency. So, we should probably take these games with a grain of salt as they try to improve on their consistency from young and talented cornerstone pieces like Omri Casspi and Jason Thompson.
But the most important stat from their first game of consequence to this re-do was Jeff Adrien's defensive and offensive potential, captured by Marcus Thompson's rundown of the Warriors from the San Jose Mercury News:
Enter Jeff Adrien, a 6-foot-7, 243-pound rookie power forward. He had 11 points and 15 rebounds (seven offensive) in Sunday's exhibition win over Sacramento. What's more, he was physical, relentless and defensive-minded.
"That guy gets your attention in a hurry," general manager Larry Riley said. "He'll make you scratch your head. We've got six more games, so we'll see what happens."
The Warriors currently have one more roster spot open and it's unclear whether Adrien will stick. But Adrien's output so far maybe something to keep an eye on tonight as he battles for that final position. The matchup of big man rookies, Adrien versus DeMarcus Cousins, could be interesting for what could have been. Watching DeMarcus Cousins try to dribble behind is back with three Warriors swarming in front, side, and back of him (resulting in a turnover and a fast break on the other end) makes you both salivate and sigh in relief. How the Warriors defend against DeMarcus Cousins could be a barometer for how they might fare against the bigger men in the league.
Like Lin, Adrien looks like he's close to becoming another fan favorite and could possibly fill a major priority on this team: defense.