Golden State rode Klay Thompson and an energetic third quarter to put away the Spurs 116-101 for a 2-0 series lead Monday.
They did. But only for the first 24 minutes and four minutes to start the second half.
The Warriors, the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference Playoffs, are known to produce a greater amount of energy at one special moment in the game. And that they did, too.
Early third-quarter buckets by JaVale McGee around the rim opened things up for the Warriors' stars, and Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson scored 11 and eight in the frame, respectively, to get the crowd going and the Warriors rolling. Andre Iguodala received the start at point guard for the second consecutive game, and provided the Warriors with some early offense by way of the three-pointer. Draymond Green had nine points, five rebounds and four assists, but he missed his first five shots.
"No one can make up Steph's contributions individually", Thompson said. "I don't really focus on what other teams are doing or what they're going to do as far as their aggressiveness or the force that they play with". What kind of physicality and aggressiveness you display. "It's never about making or missing shots". Stephen Curry has already been declared out until the second round of the playoffs. He also made all of his 12 attempts from the free-throw line. It wasn't that the Spurs were less physical, it was more that the Warriors attacked so quickly that they didn't give the defenders a chance to do the same damage they did in the first half. But They somehow caught on to head coach Steve Kerr's insistence that they must have "ball security" to pull out the victory.
With 27 points in Game 1 as well, Thompson's display is a welcome sign especially after his underwhelming performances in last year's Finals and with the Bay Area side now dealing with the absence of Stephen Curry. They shot 50 percent from three, and I don't know what we shot, 14 percent, 4 for 28, or something like that. It clearly frustrated the Warriors, who spent more time complaining in the first half than scoring, and it led to a 53-47 Spurs halftime lead. Warriors only mishandled the basketball four times in the second half and made 15 of 31 shots beyond the arc.
Given the 21-point win in Game 1 for the Warriors and knowing Gregg Popovich's coaching pedigree, the prediction for a close Game 2 wouldn't have been a hot take.
#5 Spurs make the game as competitive as possible but it's not enoughRudy Gay fighting for the ball. With the victory, the Warriors extend their franchise record with their 11th straight home playoff win.
Replacing their superstar point guard is impossible but Golden State used all of their offensive firepower to make up for his absence.
When Iguodala hits two or more 3's in a game, the Warriors are an absurd 76-17.
"If we can get them off their game and make them feel uncomfortable in that way, I think that's what we've got to do", Mills said of playing the Warriors. "We need to be consistent in that for the majority of 48 minutes".