May 8, 2013; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan (21) reacts to a foul call during the first half in game two of the second round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs against the Golden State Warriors at the AT
There are not enough expletives in the English language to accurately describe how I feel right now.
In what started off being very similar to Monday night’s Game 1, the Warriors came out firing and put the pressure on San Antonio early. But instead of waiting to blow the door open in the 3rd quarter, Golden State decided the 2nd quarter was just right, as Klay Thompson borrowed Stephen Curry’s gas can in an attempt to burn down the AT&T Center with his shooting. The Warriors 34-point 2nd quarter put the Spurs down 19 entering halftime.
And then signs of life and hope.
Gregg Popovich didn’t get to where he is today without making adjustments. There was nothing much the Spurs could do offensively, it was just a case of shots not falling. Again. Defensively it was the same story. No intensity, letting Golden State control the offensive glass and get second chance points.
San Antonio did a great job of flying to the ball and pressuring Golden State’s shooters to start the half, and slowly began to chip away at the lead. But the Spurs could never break the 6-point threshold. Not enough ball movement, too many missed opportunities and a horrendous job of turning the Warriors turnovers into points were all downfalls of San Antonio.
The Spurs were doomed when they didn’t make a three point field goal until 7:43 left…in the third quarter. For a team that is so reliant on the long ball and needs that shot to keep up with their opponent, shooting 23.8% from beyond the arch and expecting to win is ludicrous. What’s even more embarrassing for the Spurs, a team that shot 79% from the free throw line in the regular season, shot 67% from the charity stripe tonight. AT HOME.
There’s plenty of negatives to take away from tonight, and cause for concern heading to Oracle Arena. But the second half yielded many positives as well. If San Antonio can maintain the same defensive intensity they displayed in the second half, throughout 48 minutes, they can steal a game on the road.
Now it’s just a matter of making shots.
- Tiago Splitter returned tonight and played a limited 10 minutes. Sadly, nothing about his performance gives me encouragement. If San Antonio goes small ball without Duncan, Diaw has to be the better option strictly based off his passing skill set and ability to shoot the long ball. Tiago’s only useful in the pick-and-roll with Ginobili, and as an interior defender with the ability to rebound. But none of those matter when the Warriors are shooting everything from 15 feet and beyond, and making it.
- For the series, Golden State is shooting 48%, while San Antonio is shooting 41%. I’ll attribute the first game to rust, but at home, such a low shooting percentage is concerning. The thought that the Warriors shooting is unsustainable is great, until they prove you wrong night in and night out. Meanwhile you just have to pray the Spurs shooting progresses back to the mean and this series evens out.
- Tonight the Golden State Warriors ended their 30-game losing streak in San Antonio, dating back to February 14th, 1997. Because I would be remiss if I didn’t mention this meaningless stat.
- Everyone knows San Antonio does a great job of sharing and moving the ball on offense. The Spurs averaged 25 assists a game in the regular season, 24 assists a game so far in the playoffs. Tonight? A paltry 14 assists. Guys on offense were too concerned with trying to go 1-on-1 against the Warriors defense, which let Golden State stay in perfect position for rebounds and get out in transition for easy buckets.
- Neal, Ginobili and Leonard were a combined 2/12 from beyond the arch tonight after going 3/15 in Game 1. Arguably your best three point shooters (not including Danny Green) are shooting 19% this series from three. I have no words.
- More on Kawhi Leonard, who recorded his first ever career playoff double-double tonight (11 points, 12 rebounds). Kawhi did an above average job defending Curry, and hustled his ass off on defense and getting rebounds. But offensively he was painful. Not only going 0/3 from the three point line, but a surprising 1/5 from the free throw line. Maybe the pressure got to him? Regardless, that’s a highly disappointing statistic from what’s looked at as the future of the franchise who is also an 80% career free throw shooter.
- We mentioned the Spurs great halftime adjustments, that got overlooked because of their inept shooting. If you ignore the fact the Spurs were down 19 at the half, San Antonio won the second half 48 to 38. The defensive adjustments are noticeable in the Warriors shooting percentage. After shooting 52.2% in the first half, the Spurs held Golden State to 36.8% in the second half. Something you have to hope will hold over into Game 3 on Friday.
Tweet(s) of the Night
“I thought it was polite of them to at least take turns and to not both be on fire at the same night.” -Pop on Curry and Thompson
— Courtside (@courtside) May 9, 2013
“Maybe the next iteration is that neither one of them will be hot in Game 3. That’s what I’m hoping.” -Pop on Curry and Thompson
— Courtside (@courtside) May 9, 2013