How refreshing it was to see Monta Ellis, Stephen Curry and David Lee all play well on opening night and more importantly, play together. Monta Ellis tied his career-high of 46 points while missing just six shots the entire game in a well played and well executed game by Keith Smart's new look Warriors.
Stephen Curry added 25 points to go with his 11 assists and David Lee was the all everything Power Forward the Warriors wanted him to be with 17 points, 15 rebounds and 6 assists. The biggest difference in this team as opposed to last year's was the rebounding and execution. The Warriors outrebounded the Rockets 45 to 39 and though Yao Ming wasn't there they are still to be commended. The Dubs also showcased a marked improvement in their offensive sets with great ball movement, flow, and most importantly, no scoring droughts. Keith Smart managed the game perfectly with excellent substitution patterns while calling timeouts whenever the Rockets started to make a push, as opposed to after they were already into one. He even held Monta Ellis to 40 minutes which is like 34 for most players.
The Warriors gave up a lot of points but not in the way that you might think. The Rockets were sent to the free throw line 52 times and made good on 42 of those trips. Kevin Martin finished with 28 points but Monta Ellis played excellent defense on him as 17 of those points came from the line. Stephen Curry did a great job on Aaron Brooks as well, whom the Warriors kept out of the paint and limited to just 2 of 8 from downtown. The Rockets scored 128 points but the Warrior defense tightened up in the key moments of the game and didn't give up much as the Rockets made only 4 of 16 from behind the arc.
Andris Biedrins was back in a big way with excellent movement on defense and cleaning up whatever rebounds David Lee couldn't get to. A great way to start the season for the Warriors and they should be proud of themselves because they executed beautifully against a team who is considered to be better than them, with or without Yao Ming. The Warriors will be battling it out with the Rockets this year for the 8th and final playoff spot, so this was an important win that also gets them off to a good start. They don't have to take away a moral victory, they can enjoy this one and get ready for the Clippers on Friday knowing that their defensive principles can only improve and that their offensive ones already work.