Last night’s game was all but a foregone conclusion. The Spurs’ talent, not factoring in their depth, was way too much for a depleted Warriors squad that sat Andrew Bogut, Stephen Curry and David Lee. Although the Warriors made a nice run in the fourth quarter, the Spurs bench was able to quell any sign of resistance, winning the game by 21 points and setting up a rematch with the Los Angeles Lakers.
By sheer attrition, the Warriors started four rookies — Mickell Gladness, Charles Jenkins, Klay Thompson and Jeremy Tyler — that, for all intents in purposes, couldn’t stand a chance against the much more experienced, savvy Spurs starters.
The Warriors’ elder statesman was Dorell Wright, sitting at 26 years and 136 days old.
As it would turn out, the Spurs starters and Warriors starters wouldn’t engage in a very pronounced struggle. The struggle — if you would call it that — was painless considering no Spur started logged more than 20 minutes. As a unit, they combined for a plus-69. The Spurs began the game on a 16-5 run that set the tone for an otherwise uneventful game.
With the win, the Spurs were granted the inside track at home court advantage after the Los Angeles Clippers defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder by 15 points. The Clippers defense prevented Russell Westbrook (nine points on 4-of-16 shooting) from beating them, instead forcing Durant to led the team in an otherwise fruitless effort.
The Warriors, as everyone that follows an inkling of the NBA knows, are doing their best to tank and earn a better draft pick, as evidenced by their 4-16 record since the trade deadline. Winning, in essence, is a unnecessary evil for the Warrior fans who could be deprived of another lottery pick if the Warriors actual start winning basketball games.
Instead, basketball fans are subjected to starting lineup composed of a one-dimensional 3-point sniper, a lottery pick, two second-rounders and a former D-leaguer. This isn’t necessarily right, promoting losing that is, but it’s necessary given the context of today’s NBA landscape.
Behind Thompson’s 29 points on 12-of-22 shooting, the Warriors’ starting lineup accounted for 59 points. Thompson, however, actually turned out to be the second banana tonight.
The Warriors began the fourth quarter on a 12-4 run, due in large part because of Thompson and Nate Robinson. Robinson made a tough floater and drained one 3-pointer assisted by Thompson himself.
For the game, Robinson scored a team-high 30 points on 11-of-20 shooting and three 3-pointers. The 5’9″ point guard has benefited significantly in his role as a proficient scorer off the bench, as the role perfectly suits his erratic, yet dangerous, nature. In 10 games this month, Robinson is averaging 14.4 points, six assists and 2.2 3-pointers.
As we’ve come to expect the Spurs moved the ball well and parlayed that ball movement into a lot of perimeter shots. The Spurs assisted on 27 of 36 baskets and found nylon 12 times from behind the arc. The Spurs also helped their case with a consistent dose of free throws to piece the Warriors’ resistance. San Antonio went 36-for-43 from the line, the 43 attempts serving as a way to assuage any stretch of inefficiency.
As it would turn out, everything and anything worked.
But that’s just the price you pay for a high lottery pick.
Manu Ginobili poured in 12 points on 2-of-3 shooting in 14:35 … Tony Parker poured in eight points on 2-of-7 shooting in 14:32 … Tim Duncan scored 13 points on 5-of-8 shooting in 11:18 … Duncan led the team with a plus-20 … The Spurs grabbed 19 offensive rebounds, their second highest mark of the season … The Spurs 55 rebounds, overall, is their highest total since Mar. 21 … The Spurs assisted on 77.1 percent of their baskets … The Spurs converted on 54.1 percent of all their shots; Golden State converted on 49.3 percent … Klay Thompson and Nate Robinson combined for 59 points on 23-of-42 (54.8 percent) shooting … The Spurs got to the line 43 times tying their season-high set on Apr. 8 against the Jazz … The Spurs converted on 83.7 percent of their free throws … Stephen Jackson and Tiago Splitter went 17-for-21 from the line (81 percent) … The Spurs had six players in double figures; the Warriors had four … Jeremy Tyler was the sole player with a double-double (11 points, 10 rebounds) … In addition to Nate Robinson’s 30 points, he also recorded seven assists … There was one lead change all night …