OAKLAND -- They turned on the strobe lights, pumped up the music, and urged everybody to believe something new and glamorous was happening with the Warriors.
And the Warriors did look different in their home opener against the Memphis on Friday after the glitzy pregame festivities.
Simply, the Warriors -- who lost 104-94 after opening the season with a victory in Phoenix on Wednesday -- have more good players now than they've had in years (but probably not as many as Memphis has).
Led by center Andrew Bogut and $44-million point guard Stephen Curry, they also look like they're smarter, going to play tougher defense and fight more ferociously for rebounds.
"The key to our team is Bogut, obviously," Warriors board member Jerry West said before the game. "I think you can see in a short period of time just the look of our team with him out there.
"And we have a really good rookie at center (Festus Ezeli), too.
"So we're going from the worst rebounding team to, when healthy, I think we're going to be one of the better rebounding teams in the league."
Which is all sort of important.
But there is some powerful Warriors karma that continues to pull in the other direction -- as it has for decades.
Some day, this franchise will escape the darkness. Maybe it will be soon.
But it won't be easy, and one more development on Friday proved that all over again.
With the early excitement building in Oracle Arena, key reserve Brandon Rush came down awkwardly on his left knee after he was fouled on a first-quarter dunk attempt and had to be helped off the floor.
Rush will undergo an MRI on Saturday, the Warriors announced; suddenly this very deep team looks like it might be without its key backup small forward for a while.
And to crown the bleak moment, Memphis, allowed to choose any player from the Warriors' active roster to shoot Rush's free throws, picked Andris Biedrins, of course.
There is no more powerful trace reminder of the recent Warriors futility than Biedrins, the longest-tenured and losingest Warrior.
He naturally missed both free throws and even had to play six minutes with Bogut on a minutes limit to protect his ankle.
(Bogut also stayed on the bench to start the third quarter, but came back in a few minutes later.)
Even though the Warriors have really and truly tried, sometimes you just can't get away from having to play Biedrins when you least want to.
Almost immediately, the Warriors' efforts turned south, and Memphis grabbed a double-digit lead as the crowd murmured.
Same ol', same ol'?
But pushed by some edgy play from backup point guard Jarrett Jack and rookie center Festus Ezeli, the Warriors nudged their way back into it and trailed only 51-47 at halftime.
That's a big part of why the Warriors should be better this season -- they're deep enough to take a hit here or there.
If Rush is out, Jack can get big minutes in the backcourt, which could push Curry to shooting guard and Klay Thompson to small forward in a small lineup.
And the Warriors have veteran Richard Jefferson earning $9 million and rookie Draymond Green in deep reserve for the small forward spot.
Plus, top pick Harrison Barnes -- who is starting but so far getting only cameo minutes -- might see his role enlarge immediately.
There are plenty of decent options. That's what the Warriors built for themselves this season and that's a huge turn from recent years, when it was desperation mode from the first minor problem.
So, coach Mark Jackson has some things to figure out on the fly, no question. He had them before the Rush injury, and he has one more thing now.
It's the way of the Warriors -- two steps forward and two steps back, and unless you're braced for a bumpy ride, you'll get knocked to the ground immediately.