Golden State hasn’t made the playoffs since Nelson left the franchise. The veteran coach went 277-260 with the Warriors from 1988-1995, including four postseason berths, and was re-hired to bring playoff basketball back to the Bay Area.
Nelson didn’t mince words afterward.
“So much for good starts,” he said. “I was disappointed with our performance, our energy and with whatever else went on out there. We reverted to last year, maybe worse. Any way you cut it, we were poor tonight. The team is telling me I might have to make changes.”
The Warriors backcourt of Baron Davis and Jason Richardson combined to make just 11 of 32 shots for 33 points. Richardson, Golden State’s leading scorer last season, made his first appearance since undergoing cleanup surgery on his right knee in the summer.
“I’m fine, no problems with the knee,” said Richardson, who scored 15 points. “I feel great. It’s just getting my conditioning up. That’s the main thing with me, getting used to running and jumping and cutting and doing all the things I’m capable of doing.”
Davis believes the opener was just one bad outing and not symbolic of a franchise that has missed the playoffs 12 years in a row.
“It was tough to find a groove, but we’ll be better the next game,” he said. “There was a lot going on and we never really settled into what we are. Am I worried? No, not at all. It’s the first game and we just were out of sync tonight.”
Golden State is hoping to get back on track facing a team it has enjoyed recent success against. The Warriors have won six straight against the Trail Blazers (1-0), winning last season’s four matchups by an average of more than 11 points per game.
Portland opened the season by ending a 16-game road losing streak with a 110-106 victory at Seattle on Wednesday. The Trail Blazers, who won a league-low 21 games last season, won because of a breakout performance from rookie Brandon Roy.
The sixth overall pick in the draft, Roy returned to his hometown and scored 20 points on 10-of-16 shooting. He scored eight points in the final 3:14 of the third quarter to cut into an eight-point deficit, setting the stage for the Blazers to complete their rally in the fourth quarter.
“I’ll remember this forever,” said the former University of Washington star. “Not only to play well, but to win the game. It was an incredible feeling.”
“Of course Brandon Roy had a real good game, but so did Zach and so did Dixon and so did Travis,” coach Nate McMillan said. “You can go down the line. This was a total team effort tonight. It wasn’t a one-individual performance.
“Roy did look real nice tonight.”
Randolph, the Blazers’ top scorer last season, missed the final two meetings with the Warriors last season and averaged only 10.0 points on 8-of-26 shooting (31 percent) in the other two.