Raise your hand if you thought this game would turn out the way it did. Put your hand down. The San Antonio Spurs began life after Tim Duncan by taking on Kevin Durant and the new-look Warriors in Oakland, and the results could not have been more promising. A focused effort by the Silver and Black overwhelmed the star power of Golden State. The good guys led by double-digits for most of the night and escaped Oracle with a dominant 129-100 win. Kawhi Leonard led the Spurs with 35 points, 5 boards, and 5 steals while LaMarcus Aldridge posted 26 points and 14 boards of his own. Kevin Durant scored 27 points in his Warriors debut, a team high, followed by 26 points from Stephen Curry.
The Spurs had it going early on as Golden State looked every bit like a team playing together for the first time. Klay Thompson and Draymond Green both blew shots from point-blank range while several Spurs got into the mix. Pau Gasol's passing ability was on full display as he effortlessly found LaMarcus Aldridge for some easy looks in the post. Kevin Durant continued to do what he did the last time he played the Spurs, which was sink every well-contested shot. The Durantula shredded every defender the good guys threw at him on his way to 9 points in his first quarter as a Warrior. The Warriors threatened to detonate on the Spurs until the Juice Unit, led by Jonathon Simmons, came in and sparked a 19-4 run. Patty Mills and J-Simms both hit threes in the last 8 seconds, and the Spurs held a 31-20 advantage at the end of one.
The Warriors continued to look discombobulated (as the great Sean Elliot would say) at the start of the second quarter on the offensive end, allowing the Spurs to maintain a double-digit lead throughout most of the frame. Kawhi Leonard made several trips to the free throw line, and he finished the half with a team-high 18 points. Perhaps referees are finally giving Kawow the so-called "superstar calls" that were notably absent last season. LaSharkus pitched in 15 points of his own as he sank some difficult jumpers. Stephen Curry began to heat up by making shots only he can make, which cut into the Spurs lead and prompted quick timeouts from Coach Pop. An emphatic dunk by Kevin Durant cut the lead to 8, but the Silver and Black closed the frame on a 12-2 run punctuated by a rainbow three at the buzzer by Jonathon Simmons. J-Simms had 15 huge points off the bench in the first half on 6-6 from the field and 3-3 from three-point land. The exciting half came to a close with the good guys up 64-46.
Any concerns about an inspired effort from the Warriors to start the second half were quickly legitimized by way of a 6-0 run. Draymond Green then did the most Draymond Green thing ever by getting the crowd on its feet with a transition dunk, then stifling his team's momentum by drawing a technical foul. The Spurs regained their control over the flow of the game at that point, capitalizing on all of Golden State's mistakes. LaMarcus Aldridge continued to make scoring look easy and he entered the final quarter with 25 points and 10 boards. Jonathon Simmons had the highlight of the game when he pinned Steph Curry's fast break layup against the backboard. LMA and J-Simms gave valiant efforts but the third quarter belonged to Kawhi Leonard. The Klaw dominated the floor on both ends, picking Steph Curry's pocket at one point and throwing down a powerful slam. Leonard finished the third with 31 points and the Spurs boasted a commanding 97-77 lead heading into the fourth.
The fourth quarter was a mere formality as the Warriors never showed enough life to make it an interesting finish. LaMarcus Aldridge's Spurs debut was spoiled by Kevin Durant in Oklahoma City last season, and L-Train returned the favor this year in Durant's first home game as a Warrior. Although life after Timmy is not something we ever wanted to experience, I think the Spurs are going to be just fine. All this without Danny Green, by the way. Pau seemed comfortable, Tony and Manu looked sharp, Kawhi and LaMarcus dominated, and J-Simms and Patty Mills brought the Juice. But most importantly, the Spurs open the season with a near-flawless victory on the road against the Warriors. It's just one game, but it feels a whole lot better than losing. Go Spurs Go!