When the Spurs play well Manu and Tony and Gasol look wily and guile-y. When they don’t they look overmatched and slow. In this game we saw a bit of both. Manu looked good early, making deft passes and making plays, as he does. In the 4th he looked slow, and every day of his 39 years as Klay abused him for buckets.
Steve Kerr called the early game defense “okay” and attributed the poor start primarily to hit shooting and allowing the Spurs so many second chance points. He was right. As the Dubs dug out of the hole they looked like the highlight version of themselves, grabbing rebounds, making cuts, hitting big threes.
For the Spurs part, the easy buckets stopped falling — Pau, LMA missed jumpers they hit in the first and second — and when it came time to run offense, the Spurs didn’t execute and the Warriors did. David West is getting a tons of praise for his contributions (rightfully) but David Lee gave SA good minutes there also. What killed SA was the easy buckets Lee got for Ian Clark.
Tony and Pau got eaten up on PNRs (surprise!) and there isn’t much to do then. This is and will be the Achilles heel for SA in the postseason and everyone knows it, and will exploit it.
That said, he defense allowed 67 in the second and third while SA scored a mere 44. Last season the Spurs defense slowed the Warriors, even introducing the big man (Aldridge) defense on Steph that other teams mirrored, but couldn’t score.
The long-underrated aspect of Golden State’s three year run has been their defense. They began the second half by forcing three or four straight wonky possessions for SA — against the Spurs’ first unit.
LMA had a sequence where he stripped them blocked two Warriors. He played really well but was ineffectual in stopping the offensive slump in the second half.
David Lee really played David West evenly. Having seen one year of West and most of one of Lee, I prefer the latter much more.
The Warriors player that is key is Klay. He is just as dangerous shooting but adds a post up dimension. Defensively, he is a problem. He harassed Kawhi , blocked a Patti layup, and defended well generally.
Tony really was off tonight. Lots of missed stuff that he normally gets. It was half because of age, and some of him just being off like Kawhi was. Leonard was being defended well, but he was missing things that are normally great shots did him.
All told the W’s are going to be rightfully praised for this huge win because of the circumstances. They grabbed two wins against competition that looked formidable. However Curry himself said “we don’t win the championship because of this game”. Similarly, the Spurs don’t lose the chip because of this loss. They did lose the number one seed, however.
The number two seed feels right for this team. I’m ready for playoff basketball.