Warriors whip Kings 95-77 in season opener
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The only thing Steve Kerr lost in his coaching debut was his voice.
Stephen Curry had 24 points and 10 rebounds, Klay Thompson scored 19 points and the undermanned Golden State Warriors made Kerr a winner in his first game, shaking off a slow start to roll past the Sacramento Kings 95-77 on Wednesday night in the regular-season opener for both teams.
“I always laughed at Doc (Rivers) and (Tom) Thibodeau. Now it all makes sense,” Kerr joked, his raspy voice struggling to piece together words. “I got nothing left.”
The Warriors overcame the first hurdle of Kerr’s tenure — besides his wavering voice, that is — with a patchwork lineup that did just enough against their rebuilding Northern California rivals.
Golden State played without power forward David Lee (strained left hamstring) and reserve Brandon Rush (lower back spasms). Center Andrew Bogut also was limited to 18 minutes because of a migraine headache. He said he got on the floor with the help of undisclosed medicine and injections.
The Warriors went to a smaller lineup late in the third quarter and pulled away with a 22-4 spurt.
“Those are the games you have to win,” said forward Draymond Green, who finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds and played center during the decisive run.
DeMarcus Cousins had 20 points and 11 rebounds but was often stuck in foul trouble, and Rudy Gay scored 14 points for Sacramento in front of an announced sellout crowd of 17,317.
The Kings had more turnovers (27) than made field goals (24).
“I think it was at 5:40 in the third quarter when we were up by one, and we turned into the Keystone Cops,” said Kings coach Michael Malone.
The Warriors, who fired Mark Jackson as coach after a 51-win season and back-to-back playoff appearances, began a season of high expectations with a sloppy but satisfying victory. Golden State outshot Sacramento 44 to 30.8 percent, but had 22 turnovers and was outrebounded 50 to 44.
Both teams started so poorly that fans even turned their attention elsewhere.
Many crowded around luxury suites and press row to watch the ninth inning of the World Series on television late in the second quarter. Fans even erupted when the San Francisco Giants recorded the final out to beat Kansas City 3-2 in Game 7 for their third championship in five years.
Players and coaches looked around wondering what happened until the public address announcer informed the arena of San Francisco’s win. The Kings, who led 49-47 at the half, never got the home fans so enthused.
With Cousins on the bench in foul trouble, the Warriors took over with Green at center and Andre Iguodala at power forward. Marreese Speights also entered during the push and finished with 16 points.
“Give some credit to them,” Cousins said, “and some to us.”
RESUFFLED LINEUP: Harrison Barnes started at small forward for Iguodala, who came in as a reserve for the first time in his 10-year career. Iguodala had started all 807 previous games he played. Barnes started every game he played as a rookie but had a sophomore slump mostly coming off the bench behind Iguodala last season.
COURTSIDE KINGS: Kings owner Vivek Ranadive sat in a courtside sat next to his daughter and Hall of Famers Chris Mullin and Mitch Richmond, who are both team advisers.
LIVINGSTON’S DEBUT: Warriors backup guard Shaun Livingston made a surprising debut after missing all of the preseason recovering from surgery on his right toe. He played 3:40 and said he felt fine.
Warriors: The Warriors have won four of their last five season openers. ... Golden State went 4-0 against the Kings last season.
Kings: Sacramento had won 15 of its last 16 home openers, including eight straight.
The Warriors host the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday night.
The Kings welcome Portland on Friday night.