War­riors lose to T’Wolves as China tour con­tin­ues.

But loss to T-Wolves shows glo­be­trot­ting War­riors have work to do be­fore opener

The Mercury News Weekend - - FRONT PAGE - ByMark Me­d­ina mme­d­ina@ ba­yare­anews­group.com

SHANG­HAI » The sound of the bus en­gines sig­naled the War­riors’ ar­rival. The sound out­side those buses sig­naled the team’s strong sup­port as fans waited out­side and could be heard through the win­dows.

War­riors fans stood be­hind bar­ri­cades out­side the team’s five- star ho­tel, shout­ing the names of Stephen Curry, Klay Thomp­son and Kevin Du­rant theminute they stepped off the bus. Sev­eral woreWar­riors jer­seys. Some woreWar­riors hats. Plenty car­ried var­i­ous posters.

One even brought a toaster for Thomp­son to sign, some­thingWar­riors fans in the Bay Area had done last sea­son.

It did not seem to mat­ter that the War­riors ar­rived here Fri­day at about 1 a.m. lo­cal time. Their fans here wanted to catch a glimpse any way they can.

A sim­i­larly fes­tive at­mos­phere played out two hours be­fore the War­riors’ 111-97 ex­hi­bi­tion loss to Min­nesota on Thurs­day af­ter­noon in Shen­zhen ( late Wed­nes­day night PDT). Then, fans gath­ered in their seats, cheered and took video of Curry, Thomp­son and Du­rant dur­ing their pregame rou­tine.

“They wanted to get the full ex­pe­ri­ence,” Curry said. “You could feel that when you step from the floor for warmups.”

As theWar­riors have ex­pe­ri­enced so far in their week-long trip in China, that fes­tive at-

mo­sphere has be­come the equiv­a­lent of con­sum­ing an en­ergy drink.

They feel an adren­a­line rush from all the ex­cite­ment, such as when Curry was in the locker roomand could still hear fans cheer­ing when Du­rant ended his pregame rou­tine with a two-handed dunk. But the War­riors also crashed and burned against Min­nesota af­ter a strong start, the prod­uct of rusti­ness and a com­pressed travel sched­ule catch­ing up to them.

That gave War­riors coach Steve Kerr a clear ob­jec­tive for Sun­day’s ex­hi­bi­tion here against Min­nesota af­ter go­ing 0-2, the team’s worst start to a pre­sea­son since go­ing 0-2 dur­ing the 1999 lock­out-short­ened sea­son.

“Our con­di­tion­ing needs work,” Kerr said. “You can tell the ex­e­cu­tion got worse be­cause of the fa­tigue. We have to keep work­ing on our con­di­tion­ing and be ready to play a 48-minute game.”

Kerr then pointed out ac­com­plish­ing that goal “is not easy given the ab­bre­vi­ated pre­sea­son.”

The War­riors wel­comed the NBA’s re­duced ex­hi­bi­tion sched­ule to four games af­ter play­ing seven ex­hi­bi­tions last sea­son. Fewer games meant fewer min­utes for a team try­ing to pace it­self on a back-to­back cham­pi­onship run in what would be its fourth con­sec­u­tive NBA Fi­nals ap­pear­ance. Fewer games also meant a busy week­long trip here felt more phys­i­cally and men­tally tax­ing.

“It’s kind of crazy,” Curry said.

Per­haps that ex­plains why theWar­riors’ star play­ers only spent a few min­utes sign­ing au­to­graphs be­fore quickly en­ter­ing the ho­tel. Af­ter their game in Shen­zhen, the War­riors took a 45-minute bus ride to the air­port only to wait for an hour to board. They then took a 2-hour, 25-minute flight to Shang­hai.

“That’s the big­gest chal­lenge,” Kerr said, “phys­i­cally be­ing pre­pared and ready to go on open­ing night” against Hous­ton on Oct. 17 at Or­a­cle Arena.

It has been chal­leng­ing for the War­riors’ play­ers to ac­com­plish that with a start­ing lineup lim­ited to 25 min­utes to avoid burnout. Mean­while, Kerr has men­tioned the con­di­tion­ing is­sues of Nick Young, who had taken a hard fall late again­stMin­nesota be­fore need­ing to head to the locker room. After­ward, Kerr did not have a med- ical up­date, other than be­liev­ing Young sim­ply fell on his tail­bone.

As for the rest of the War­riors, they be­lieve they will get back up soon as they ex­pect tal­ent and ex­pe­ri­ence will soon help them shed the lay­ers of rust.

“Ob­vi­ously we have to keep our en­ergy level up and build our en­durance,” Curry said. “Our chem­istry on the court with tim­ing and things like that. You have to pace your­self as you ramp up.”

ZHONG ZHI — GETTY IM­AGES

Kevin Du­rant gets a warm wel­come be­fore the ex­hi­bi­tion game against the Tim­ber­wolves in Shen­zhen, China.

KIN CHEUNG — AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Stephen Curry puts up a shot be­tween the Tim­ber­wolves’ An­drew Wig­gins, left, and Taj Gib­son.

ZHONG ZHI — GETTY IM­AGES

Stephen Curry, Kevin Du­rant and the War­riors have one more ex­hi­bi­tion game in China against the Tim­ber­wolves be­fore head­ing back to the Bay Area to get ready for the reg­u­lar-sea­son opener.

ZHONG ZHI — GETTY IM­AGES

Kevin Du­rant had 20points against An­drew Wig­gins and the Tim­ber­wolves in their first game in China.

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