Denver’s a good team. They have some talented up-and-comers as well as a franchise cornerstone in Nikola Jokić. They played with good energy and young legs.

Yes, the refs were inconsistent, calling ticky-tack fouls on the Warriors off of Denver screens, while conversely allowing quite a bit of contact on a number of KD and Steph jumpers.

That being said, the Warriors were right there. Right. There.

We wrote before about how the Warriors’ lack of bench scoring, particularly from the wing, would hurt them early in the season — and it did tonight.

We also wrote that the young bigs would go through some growing pains — and that happened too.

Damian Jones needs to shrug off his lack of court awareness that allowed him to get swatted at the end of the game. A slight pump fake could’ve helped, but at this point it’s moot.

The most important thing is that he learns.

Because tonight’s game doesn’t matter.

With Steph, KD, and Klay all having off nights, in past seasons it was nice to have a David West who could come in and give you 12-14 surprise points every now and then and settle the team with his toughness.

Shaun Livingston definitely could’ve helped tonight as well.

But it doesn’t matter.

It’s a strange feeling right now with this team, almost like the Warriors exist on another plane, playing a different game. This must be how the Spurs felt all those years — other teams playing checkers while they played chess.

For Golden State, it’s about taking the long view. While the Nuggets search for that winning identity the Warriors found against a different Nuggets squad in the 2013 playoffs, the Dubs are simply working out the kinks, competing against themselves, searching for their basketball zen.

Any kind of deep analysis or prognostication seems silly at this point. The Warriors need to first figure out what their young guys have, then get Boogie Cousins in the lineup, then go from there.

Barring something catastrophic, that will be the narrative for the pre-Cousins Warriors. Win or lose.

It doesn’t make the games any less fun to watch. I obviously want the Dubs to overwhelm each and every challenger, and I was annoyed as hell with the refs tonight, but (as long as the Warriors don’t go on some absurd losing streak) let’s face it, these are largely tryouts for the young guys and pacing exercises for the vets.