Posted on February 11, 2018, by Travis Pulver
The San Antonio Spurs knew they were in for a tough one against the Golden State Warriors Saturday night. It would be tough even if Tony Parker, Kawhi Leonard, Rudy Gay, and Dejounte Murray were healthy enough to play. It’s the Golden State Warriors; they’re the defending champions for a reason.
At the same time, the Warriors knew they were in for a tough one no matter who took the court for the Spurs.
Warriors forward Draymond Green talked about why that is after the game (CBSSports):
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“…They always defend. They don’t beat themselves. You have to beat them. When you make mistakes, they make you pay — and that’s no matter who they have in the lineup, which makes a difference, and it makes them tough.”
San Antonio was tough early on as they took advantage of what has become a typically slow start by the Warriors. After one, the Spurs were up 37-27. But then the Spurs did what they often do in games and played lackluster offense in the second quarter.
Golden State closed the gap to just two points with a 7-1 run to start the quarter. A few minutes later, Warriors forward David West made a 20-foot jumper to tie the game up at 44-44. When the first half came to a close, the Warriors were ahead 58-55.
Golden State tends to own the third quarter, and they certainly did Saturday night. They had a brief scare early in the quarter when Steph Curry went down with an apparent ankle injury. But after getting checked out on the bench, he returned to the game.
“I’m fine … my ankle, but I’m fine,” Curry said with a grin when asked about the injury after the game (ESPN).
The Warriors extended their lead to 16 points, 91-75, by the end of the third. They cruised through the fourth en route to a 122-105 win.
“They’re the best team in the world,” San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said (ESPN), “so there’s lots of things to be impressed by.”
All five starters scored in double figures for the Warriors led by Klay Thompson’s 25-point night (10-14 from the floor; 5-6 from three-point range). Step Curry and Draymond Green chipped in 17, and Zach Pachulia had 12. Kevin Durant had a bad night from the floor (3-9) and only had ten.
A few nights after exploding on the Phoenix Suns for 129 points and scoring at least 28 points in each quarter, the Spurs struggled on offense. Kyle Anderson and LaMarcus Aldridge led the way with 20 points each. But they only got 21 points from the other three starters (Danny Green, Patty Mills, and Davis Bertrans).
With the win, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr became the fastest head coach to 250 wins in NBA history. The mark was previously held by the legendary Phil Jackson. Kerr needed 302 games to reach that milestone; Jackson took 346.
After the game, Kerr gave credit where it was due and had a little fun at Phil Jackson’s expense (ESPN):
“It just means that I inherited a hell of a team. An amazing, talented group of players.”
“He had Michael Jordan for God sake, so I don’t know what Phil’s problem was.”
San Antonio needs to get back to full strength sooner rather than later. The Spurs have been inconsistent on offense and defense this season without Leonard. While they are probably still good enough to make the playoffs, without Leonard, they are not going to make it far.
Golden State will try to keep things rolling when they face the Phoenix Suns Monday night. San Antonio will try to get back on the right side of the scoreboard Monday night as well when they take on the Utah Jazz.