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What We Learned When Klay Starred in Dubs’ Loss of the Preseason Final

SAN FRANCISCO — The defending NBA champion Warriors closed their preseason schedule Friday night with a 119-112 loss to the Denver Nuggets in front of a sold-out crowd at Chase Center.

One night when the NBA website was down due to an East Coast power outage — forcing the game to continue with no official real-time stats — the Warriors alternated their finer moments with those where they looked like they had a little more training camp.

The game was pretty close pretty much the entire way before Denver’s veteran reserves pulled back by taking advantage of some sloppy play from a squad made up mostly of Golden State youngsters.

Here are three observations from the preseason finals for both teams:

Klay’s shot shines in preseason debut

Coach Steve Kerr said during his pregame press conference that he predicted Klay Thompson would play “15 to 16” minutes in his preseason debut. He played 16, all in the first half.

It didn’t take long for Thompson to make waves either, as he splattered a three-pointer from the right wing on first possession. He didn’t slow down and scored 18 points, per the team’s unofficial count, on six long shots.

Getting more of this will take patience, as Kerr indicated it will take a few regular season games for Thompson to be comfortably able to hit his usual 34-to-36 minutes per game.

Golden State’s performance and training staff, given injury history, have planned a slow advance for the shooting guard entering his 12th NBA season — though he’s missed all of his ninth and 10th seasons recovering from surgery on his left ACL and right Achilles tendon.

Kuminga flashes more of his promise

Kerr has been praising Jonathan Kuminga’s evolution for much of the preseason, saying he is adapting quickly to his environment on the pitch. That was evident this evening.

Kuminga made two handy passes – one of which so surprised James Wiseman that by the time his hands reached out, the ball was sailing out of bounds. Kuminga also defended with vengeance and awareness and was selective about shot attempts.

And, of course, he got some powerful dunks. With the departure of Gary Payton II, the team has the sneaky designated dunker, Kuminga resembles the heir apparent. At the same time, however, JK’s athleticism and physicality give him the versatility to fill in either front spot.

Kuminga also seems to be adapting to his part-time role of small-ball center, where he can exploit matchups. As he struggled to defend 2-foot tall Nikola Jokic, the reigning two-time MVP, Joker couldn’t keep up with JK either.

Where has JK shown that he is still a work in progress? He got out of the couch.

Draymond and Jordan, a picture of serenity

If you were looking for signs of discord between Draymond Green and Jordan Poole, they didn’t yield much to worry about.

Draymond returned to the starting line-up after missing two preseason games and three practice sessions in the wake of his much-discussed right hand punch to Poole’s face on October 5.

Poole, who started as a shooting guard in the previous four games while Thompson was sidelined, returned to his sixth man role and looked the way he normally does. There were some tense moments and a few times when he seemed a bit out of his kind.

Most importantly, there was nothing to indicate friction. As usual, they patted each other before the game and seemed to have no problems during the minutes they were on the field together.

That’s the most important thing as the Warriors prepare for their regular season opener against the Lakers on Tuesday night in Chase.

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