The Spurs fought valiantly, but could never close the gap on a Warriors squad that appears to have found its stride. Dejounte Murray paced the Spurs with 22 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists while Steph Curry led the Warriors with 26 points, 11 rebounds and 7 assists in a 121-99 romp.
The Spurs got off to another rough start, quickly digging themselves a hole and going down 13-4 just 4 minutes into the game. The Warriors kept the pressure on and seemed poised to break the game open with a series of Steph-centric screening actions that confounded the Spurs’ defense. Unable to contain Curry on the perimeter and with LaMarcus Aldridge providing little to no resistance at the rim, the new-look Warriors put together an electric run in the middle of the 1st quarter that bore a passing resemblance to the offensive inevitability of their 73 win squad from 5 years ago.
The Spurs fought back into the game, but as soon as the Warriors starters got it going again, Golden State exploded out to another big lead, which would prove to be a recurring theme throughout the night. Like most teams, the Spurs simply had no answer for Curry when surrounded by even passable shooters.
- DeMar DeRozan earned himself an extended trip to the bench in the 1st quarter after committing 3 fouls in just over 6 minutes of playing time. He also managed to earn a technical arguing the last call on his way to the pine.
- The difference in the Spurs’ ability to defend the Warriors with Steph on the court vs off the court cannot be overstated. The Silver and Black managed to claw their way back from a 12 point deficit at the beginning of the 2nd quarter to get within 5 midway through, but once the Warriors’ starting five checked back in, they exploded out to a 22 point lead in a matter of minutes. For a solid 3 minute stretch, the Warriors took nothing but open threes and dunks while the Spurs responded with (mostly) off-the-mark jumpers.
- Speaking of off-the-mark jumpers, the Spurs shot just 32.7% from the field in the 1st half, including a disastrous 3 for 21 from deep. Even Patty Mills couldn’t knock ‘em down, missing all 5 of his three point attempts in the first 2 quarters. Unfortunately, the 2nd half wasn’t any better, and the Spurs finished a woeful 3 of 31 from deep (that’s 9.7% for those of you keeping score at home).
- The Spurs defense was exposed in a number of ways in this game. It’s not especially surprising that nobody on the team can stay with Curry, but it is concerning that so many Warriors were able to exploit gaps on the perimeter to get all the way to the rim, even when Curry was on the bench. It was also concerning to see how completely the Warriors were able to exploit LaMarcus Aldridge on the interior. Smalls, bigs, backups, everybody in a dark blue jersey seemed willing and able to go right at the basket. Worse, there was essentially no back side help to pick up the big’s man when LaMarcus or Jakob Poeltl rotated over to stop penetration, resulting in an inordinate number of dunks, layups, and easy putbacks. It’s just one game and Curry puts a unique kind of stress on a defense, but still, there will be a ton to go over on film.
- Damion Lee got ejected early in the 4th quarter for a flagrant foul on Keldon Johnson. Though pretty obviously not intentional, it was definitely both a flagrant foul and a testament to Keldon’s toughness as he barely batted an eye after getting clobbered in the face.
- Midway through the 4th, Pop pulled the plug and went with some fun, young groups that didn’t include any of the Spurs’ elder statemen. They fared no better against the Warriors than any other group, but at least they were entertaining.
For the Warriors’ fan’s perspective, visit Golden State of Mind.
The San Antonio Spurs now head back to Texas for a pair of games at home against the Mavericks on Friday and the Wizards on Sunday.