Moses Moody

What we learned as Warriors' encouraging preseason ends with loss to Spurs

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SAN FRANCISCO – The Warriors closed out their preseason Friday night getting very little from their best scorers but relatively efficient offensive performance from everyone else.

It all added up to a 122-117 loss to the San Antonio Spurs before a sellout crowd (18,064) at Chase Center.

Five Warriors scored in double figures, led by 18 points from Moses Moody and 17 from Dario Sarić.

Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Andrew Wiggins combined to shoot 7-of-32 from the field, including 3-of-18 from deep. The rest of the roster was 35-of-61 and 11-of-28.

With the regular season four nights away, maybe the veterans have had their fill of games that don’t matter. It would not be unusual at this point to look ahead to the regular season.

Here are three observations from the finale of a preseason in which Golden State finished 4-1:

Klay’s search

Klay Thompson has said he wants to get back to All-Star level. He is coming off a great summer and arrived at training camp in great condition. He has been asked to improve his rebounding, and he’s responding with career-best numbers.

Meanwhile, his fabled scoring touch has gone missing.

Thompson through the first four preseason games shot a respectable 38.9 percent (7-of-18) from distance but a paltry 29.7 percent (11-of-37) overall. It got worse against the Spurs: 3-of-13 from the field, including 1-of-8 from deep.

He ends the preseason at 28.0 percent overall, 30.8 percent beyond the arc.

Thompson’s picture-perfect form seems mostly fine, but his accuracy is all over the place. The Warriors must be hoping his contract status – he’s extension-eligible but talks reportedly have gone nowhere – is not a distraction.

They surely hope Klay will find his touch and leave his struggles in the preseason. Or, as he might say, “in the past, like a ponytail.”

About the bench

There were no minutes for Rudy Gay, but Warriors coach Steve Kerr gave extended looks to Moody and new veterans Cory Joseph, Rodney McGruder and Sarić

Though it was McGruder’s first appearance, all four showed well as the Warriors outplayed the Spurs after halftime.

Moody watched the entire first half but was terrific in 17 second-half minutes. He scored 18 points, on 7-of-11 shooting, including 4 of 6 beyond the arc. He added a team-high eight rebounds and was plus-14 for the night.

Sarić finished with a team-high 17 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the field, including 2 of 4 from distance. The 6-foot-9 forward/center was plus-9 over 21 minutes.

Joseph totaled nine points, on 3-of-5 shooting, including 1-of-2 from distance. His five assists tied Chris Paul for the team high.

McGruder played 20 minutes and submitted eight points and five rebounds.

The Wembanyama Problem

This observation is unrelated to the Warriors’ roster, but it might affect them this season and certainly will in the years to come.

No. 1 overall draft pick Victor Wembanyama might be good enough to pull the Spurs from the bottom of the Western Conference last season and into the playoff race in 2023-24.

The 7-foot-3 Frenchman, only 19 years old, entered the game leading San Antonio in scoring and blocked shots. He did nothing to suggest he can’t do that in the regular season.

Wembanyama’s hello to Golden State consisted of 12 points, three blocks and a steal in seven first-quarter minutes. He blocked a Klay Thompson shot and punctuated the turnover with a breakaway dunk. Less than a minute later, he rejected an Andrew Wiggins shot and turned it into a transition triple.

“Wemby” finished with 19 points, four rebounds and five blocks in 21 minutes.

The Warriors have been warned, as has the entire conference.

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