Stephen Curry scored 37 points in 28 minutes. Golden State had 31 assists on 44 field goals. The Warriors scored 66 points in the second and third quarter combined. It might have only been one game, but the defending champions proved last night that they’re the best team in the league.
As impressive as Golden State’s offense played, it was their defense that propelled this victory. The Spurs couldn’t get anything they wanted in the first half. Unlike past teams, the Spurs two best offensive players are isolation players, and one of them struggled mightily. LaMarcus Aldridge was nonexistent. He missed seven of his nine attempts for five points. The Spurs never got into an offensive rhythm because of Golden State’s defense. Every Spur that played meaningful minutes had a turnover. The Spurs had an uncharacteristic 25 turnovers, which led to 32 Warrior points (which could have been more if Draymond Green and Leonardo Barbosa made some layups).
Curry’s 37 points were impressive, but his defense on Tony Parker might have been more impressive. Curry had five steals, and he never let Parker run a pick-and-roll. It’s amazing how effective Curry was on both sides. One of the biggest question marks handing into the game was how the Spurs would guard the Warriors. It wasn’t long until Kawhi Leonard was put on Curry. Leonard had some good moments on Curry, but Curry also made a couple of big time shots. One of the best things about the Warriors is their controlled chaos. There’s never been a team that makes so many good things happen on second chances and loose balls. Curry had no business making one three in the second quarter after a Spur deflected the ball, but that’s the beauty of the Warrior offense. They just make the spectacular play time and time again.
The Spurs played pressure defense throughout. You can’t just sit back on pick-and-rolls because Curry will kill you. You can’t give Green the 4-3 following pick-and-rolls with Curry. The Warriors did a superb job back cutting for easy buckets. Andre Iguodala found Shaun Livingston twice in the second quarter. Iguodala and Green are two phenomenal passers, which is one of the major reasons why the Warriors are unbeatable when they play like they did last night.
The Spurs can’t beat Golden State if the Warriors play with the pace they did last night. San Antonio did commit turnover after turnover, which played right into Golden State’s favor. The Spurs will have to make it a half-court game, especially with their starters. David West had some nice moments, but other than a couple good Leonard possessions the Spurs got squat from their starters. And as good as San Antonio’s bench is, Golden State’s might be better. How will San Antonio counter?
This game could very well be an anomaly. The Spurs will make adjustments. The Warriors played a near perfect game on offense and defense. Aldridge will play much better. Danny Green and Patty Mills might make a handful of threes. Manu Ginobili could attack more effectively.
One game doesn’t change anything, but it’s not right to diminish what Golden State accomplished. Each team had equal rest. Tim Duncan didn’t play, but he’s not a 30-point difference. The Warriors are the superior team right now, but these teams play three more times (and hopefully several more in late May/early June).
*Featured Image Credited To Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports*