Rusty Warriors whip Wizards

SAITAMA, Japan (AFP) — Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said it was “fun to be part of” Friday’s pre-season opening win over the Washington Wizards in Japan, despite a rusty performance from the NBA champions.

The Warriors beat the Wizards 96-87 in front of a packed arena in Saitama, north of Tokyo, in the National Basketball Association’s first overseas game since the pandemic began.

The reigning champions missed more than two-thirds of their attempted three-point shots but Kerr said he saw “a lot of good stuff” from his team, who will attempt to win their fifth title in nine years when the new season begins next month.

“It looked like a game where both teams had had three or four practices — it was a typical first game of pre-season,” Kerr said.

“The players don’t have their legs underneath them yet but there’s a lot of good stuff that happened for us.”

Last season’s NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Stephen Curry and forward Draymond Green both started for the Warriors but managed only 10 points between them.

Klay Thompson, who missed more than two years through injury and returned to action in January this year, did not play.

Kerr said Thompson would also take no part in Sunday’s second game against the Wizards as a precaution against further injury.

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