SAN FRANCISCO — Golden State Warriors superstar Stephen Curry knew exactly how he wanted to christen Chase Center on Saturday night.
After moving out of Oracle Arena in Oakland after 47 years and moving across the Bay to San Francisco, Curry made it clear to his teammates that he wanted to take the Warriors’ first shot in the building’s history. So after just 22 seconds ran off the clock in Saturday’s 123-101 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, Curry unleashed a heave from over 30 feet that fell well short of the rim and went out of bounds.
On a night full of new experiences, Curry was happy to have gotten the initial attempt for his team.
“That was choreographed since like yesterday,” Curry said. “I was just gonna shoot it up — christen Chase in the right way. Obviously I didn’t wanna airball, but it was fitting that — take a wild shot like that and get everybody excited.”
Curry’s wild shot was a harbinger of things to come for the Warriors on Saturday as they struggled to find a rhythm against a new-look Lakers team that looked much improved with new center Anthony Davis running alongside Lakers star LeBron James. Despite the loss, the Warriors were happy to get into their new billion dollar home and look forward to better days ahead.
“I thought it was great,” Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said. “Really good energy. Packed house. Crowd was fantastic. It seemed like everybody was, including the players and coaches and officials, everybody was sort of looking around. We’re all so used to Oracle, and we have so many memories, great memories of Oracle. And so the first night here just felt strange. It still feels strange. It feels weird being up here instead of our cozy little [media] room across the hall at Oracle.”
The Warriors come into the new year with a roster in transition. Superstar forward Kevin Durant signed with the Brooklyn Nets while veteran Andre Iguodala was traded to the Memphis Grizzlies to clear cap space and former guard Shaun Livingston retired. New guard D’Angelo Russell, who was acquired from the Nets in the sign-and-trade that sent Durant to Brooklyn, finished just 2-for-9 from the field, but he remains confident he will get on track with all his new teammates soon.
Like many in the house on Saturday night, Russell was impressed with the energy in the building.
“You can tell it’s a brand new arena,” Russell said. “You’ve got that brand new smell. The rims kind of felt like they were that brand new. … It was rocking in there, though. The vibe felt like — it was a completely different vibe than what I’m used to.”
When asked what stood out in getting adjusted to the team’s new digs, Warriors forward Draymond Green took the opening in stride.
“Nothing,” Green said, before adding. “It’s a nice arena; It’s a basketball court, though. But it’s a great arena, it’s really nice … having everything here. Being able to go back there and go in the cold tub, getting some steam room time if you want to, getting a lift in, having a great weight room, just everything being right here is really nice for us.”
Several players and coaches have noted in recent days how much of an adjustment it has been to move from the East Bay to San Francisco — along with moving from an arena, in Oracle, that they had grown to love over time.
“It’s still weird,” Curry said. “You’re used to certain sights and sounds and just routine from pulling up to the parking deck and to our locker room and all that type of stuff. You get out to the floor and you want to feel like it’s normal, but it’s not. We got two more preseason games to get a little bit more familiar before the 24th. But it’s beautiful. It’s got a lot of potential to create an amazing environment, amazing home court advantage. Excited about the possibilities. Again, just getting used to it. We need some reps. Tonight was a good step.”
Kerr echoed similar sentiments regarding the team’s new home.
“I know before the game I didn’t know where my assistant coaches were,” Kerr said. “I didn’t know where to find them. Literally. We got this facility down here and there’s all these different rooms, I went to get something to eat, nobody was there. I went up to my office, couldn’t find anybody. So we haven’t found our rhythm yet and our routine, and that’s going to take some time.”
Curry said last season that he would have to figure out a way to end his familiar pregame routine this year in San Francisco — an adjustment he is still working on. At Oracle, Curry famously tried knocking down a shot from the Warriors’ tunnel to the floor before each game. At Chase, the All-Star guard is still finding the right way to end his pregame activities.
“There’s nothing really changing,” Curry said. “Again, you have a certain flow to everything and you kind of just got to go through the reps a couple times. The only thing for me is that tunnel shot, which was fun. We’ll figure that out. But other than that, from a basketball perspective, we have everything we need here in terms of pregame kind of prep and obviously we practice here. We have all the bells and whistles we need to get ready for games. And I think as fans you even get used to Chase Center, the energy, the noise and whatnot compares to Oracle, if not louder. So, [I’m] excited about that.”
On Saturday, Warriors fans, and Curry’s teammates, were excited to see him get the first shot up, even though it didn’t fall.
“I’m saying what’s up to all the broadcasters or whatever; and he’s like, ‘Yo, I might shoot that thing right away,'” Russell said of Curry’s message right before tip-off. “I was like, ‘S—, I might shoot it too!’ I’m joking! And he was completely serious. So it’s fun; it’s enjoying the game.”