Nearly 24 hours later, and I’m still pondering the correct narrative. Did the Warriors give game one away, or did the Spurs come roaring back to take it? Though both options might sound similar, what led to either result was quite the contrary.
For starters, it took over an entire half for Pops to realize that Parker and Joseph alternating on Curry is a no-no, especially when you’re choosing not to double him. Heading in this direction results in 22-point quarters and the Golden State bench mimicking an AND 1 crowd. This, of course, also leads to a 104-88 lead for the opposing team, which, according to the normal standards of basketball, is never good.
Fortunately, Curry continued surging through the postseason last night, now averaging 34.1 PPG, 10.1 APG, 2.1 SPG, 49.3 FG%, 43.3 3P%, and scoring an astonishing 124 points per 100 possessions over that span. (He’s also averaging – including the first four quarters last night – 43.8 MPG, but hey, who’s counting?)
That’s the good news.
Unfortunately for the Warriors, the Spurs are still the Spurs, and they promptly made adjustments once things got out of hand.
Around the 6:36 mark, San Antonio called a timeout and returned a minute later with Leonard manning Curry (yes, the same Leonard that has allowed 96 points per 100 possessions during the postseason, which, for reference, would be ranked third among starters during the regular season), simultaneously rolling Green around to Thompson.
This led to some quick Golden State improvisation.
With Parker sealed off to his backside, Jack waved and signaled Curry to drive baseline.
In doing so, Jack popped out, leaving Parker with the split-second decision to either step in, leaving his man open for a 16-footer, or stay put.
As you can tell, Parker stayed put, leaving a helpless Duncan underneath still focusing on Bogut.
And since it worked once, the Warriors attempted it again during their very next possession.
Of course, this did nothing but lead to a timeout, resulting in Duncan stuffing the baseline during the Warriors next attempt at it.
And that’s where the problem lies.
Don’t be misled by Curry’s final statistics. Sure, he played great, but it gets misconstrued with about nine minutes remaining in the fourth. That’s when Leonard stepped in full time, Golden State’s pick-and-rolls had been figured out, and beyond giving Barnes the occasional attempt to chuck it from 23-feet, open looks were hard to come by.
In fact, two of Curry’s eight points in that final 19 minutes of play didn’t even come with Leonard on him.
The Warriors simply pick-and-rolled Landry with Curry, leaving Diaw to get juked beyond the arc en route to a floater (though I shouldn’t be too sarcastic considering Boris blocked Curry from 24-feet later on).
(Sorry about the image quality. This is what happens when networks stay stubborn and refuse to sell game rights. In related news, every Astros fan looking for CSN just lit themselves on fire.)
It’s a frightening point, but Leonard isn’t going anywhere, and it’ll be interesting to see if Pops sticks the young and athletic forward to Curry from here on out.
Luckily, Barnes defended Ginobili sensationally throughout the night (5-20 for a reason), and Bogut is still alive. Which is always good.
As for the narrative, I guess we can always figure it out later.
This FanPost is a submission from a member of the mighty Golden State of Mind community. While we're all here to throw up that W, these words do not necessarily reflect the views of the GSoM Crew. Still, chances are the preceding post is Unstoppable Baby!