You have to think that the Warriors were aware of the fact that they had lost the last seven games they played against the Spurs. Golden State put an end to that streak with a great performance as they destroyed San Antonio in this one. A poor finish to the first half followed by a poor start to the second doomed the Spurs and the Dubs handed SA a proper drubbing.
The Spurs went to Aron Baynes early in the game, taking five of the Spurs' first eight shots and hitting two while struggling close to the hoop with a healthy Andrew Bogut manning the inside. The Warriors jumped out to a quick 8-0 lead behind a couple of triples and a couple of Tony Parker turnovers. The Spurs then steeled their defensive effort, held the Warriors to just seven points over the next seven minutes of game time, found some offensive punch from our old friend Boris Diaw and by the end of the quarter the Spurs held a 29-27 lead.
A tightly contested second quarter saw the Spurs take a 44-41 lead but the Warriors closed out the quarter on a 21 to 11 run that was fueled by some inspired play from a full-of-swag Stephen Curry. The Spurs took their lead after Curry was whistled for a foul after he clearly caught Tony Parker on the arm and proceeded to scream his disapproval until he was hit with a tech. Steve Kerr followed with a T of his own and the Warriors were off. That's right out of the Popovich play book. Get tech, fire up team, watch team destroy.
By the half the Warriors were up 62-55 after a barrage of threes and fastbreak points. The Dubs hit 8-of-12 from deep and outscored the Spurs on the break 23-3. Boris Diaw and Kawhi Leonard were bright spots on the offensive end for the Silver and Black and they combined to shoot a perfect 9-of-9 from the field. Unfortunately, Tony Parker and Danny Green combined to go 0-for-4.
The second half didn't start well for the good guys and the Warriors scored the first seven points of the period. The Spurs didn't have the energy required to compete with a completely-rested, young Golden State team.
The Spurs are old and they're not going to be very good on SEGABABAs at this point. It's especially bad when they play a young, up-and-down team that can run them out of the building. It's impossible when that team is allowed to play a very physical game on their own end.
The second half was mostly poor effort from San Antonio and invigorated play and hot shooting from downtown for the Dubs -- even below-average-three-point-shooter Andre Iguadala couldn't miss until the game was well decided.
It's easy to write this one off as the Spurs on a road SEGABABA, and that was part of it, or particularly hot shooting from Golden State, or even some uneven officiating, but the fact is that the Spurs haven't played well this season by their standards. I'm a pretty optimistic fan and a patient one, but I would be lying if I said that I thought the Spurs had a great shot come playoff time. There's still time, but in the stretch of the season where the Spurs traditionally hit the accelerator, they've found potholes and speed bumps. It's not even the results, the Spurs have been winning at a nice clip over their last 20, it's the way they look night to night.
The good news is that the West, outside of GSW and Memphis, is about the same as always - with a handful of teams that are pretty good that also have plenty of weaknesses. The difference for the Spurs this season is that they are now just part of that handful. You hear about how this is the deepest conference ever, how there are so many great teams and it's a wide open conference, but I don't agree with that. It's pretty clear that the Warriors are better than the rest, though a 1st round matchup with OKC could prove problematic for a team that has just one playoff series win, against an unimpressive Nuggets squad, in the last seven years. This is a different team, but it's still an inexperienced one.
Your Spurs fall to 34-21 for the year and 2-3 on the Rodeo Road Trip.
- I'm beyond worried about Tony Parker. I hope it's a lingering hamstring issue, but I really think it's all of the minutes he's racked up in his career. He's currently 19th on the active regular season minutes list and third on the active playoff minutes list, not to mention his international play. Only LeBron has played more combined minutes and is younger. After a decent outing against the Clippers on Thursday, he was terrible on Friday night.
- 17-33: That's what the Warriors shot from deep on Friday night. The great ball movement from Golden State was far too much for a Spurs team stuck in the mud.
- 6-19: The worrying line the Spurs finished the night with from deep. Sometimes the ball just doesn't go in for you. Tonight didn't feel like one of those nights.
- Manu Ginobili - I realized tonight that over the past month or so I've started to expect Manu to miss when he takes a shot. That was a really saddening realization.
- Andrew Bogut - I can't understand why Kerr inserted an injury-plagued big man with a 22-point lead with just five minutes left. That's a dangerous game to play. The Warriors have to be considered the favorites to win the Larry O'Brien, but they'll need a healthy Bogut to do it.
- Aron Baynes led the team in minutes, field goal attempts, points and rebounds (12-10) and he was the only starter to finish with a positive +/-. The Big Banger has impressed this season, but if he's your leading scorer and rebounder it's probably not a good thing.
- Tim Duncan - While he didn't have a good outing, he's been great as always this season. Please send help.
The Spurs get two days off and will travel to Utah to take on the Jazz on Monday night at 8 p.m. Spurs time. They finish the RRT against Portland, Sacramento and Phoenix. With a favorable schedule for the next month, now's the time to put it together if the Spurs can. Starting March 22 at Atlanta, the schedule turns into what could be a great warmup to the second season or a dismantling of the team's hopes for a repeat.