After the Warriors' shocking loss at home to the Timberwolves on Tuesday, many critics questioned both the Warriors' drive to finish the regular season strong and the decision to chase the 72-game record over rest. But after every loss this season, the Warriors have been able to reignite the magic and win each consequent game. Coming into the game against the Spurs tonight, the Warriors were in danger of losing three out of four games, including their first consecutive losses this season.
In the first quarter, the Warriors' play was sloppy and uninspiring. The offense took some questionable shots and turnedthe ball over generously, while the defense couldn't really stop LaMarcus Aldridge on his isolation post-ups. Even though the score was effectively tied until this point, the molasses tempo and hard-nosed defense were reminiscent of the Warriors' loss to the Spurs in March. But after Andrew Bogut blocked Aldridge's layup hard enough to dislocate his finger, the Warriors exploited the slower Spurs with fastbreaks, threes, and impressive Spursian passing. The Spurs could never produce consistent offense, as the post-ups that had succeeded previously were stuffed and frustrated today. From there, the Warriors consistently maintained their lead throughout the game, and coasted to an easy victory.
The Warriors benefited from an outstanding team effort, with sharp passing and suffocating team defense. MVP Stephen Curry altered his offensive gameplan from the last Spurs loss, focusing on driving to the lane instead of finding jump shots, to great success. Harrison Barnes had 21 points, including two crucial threes at the end of the first half. Andrew Bogut vastly outplayed Tim Duncan on both ends of the court, making Timmy look a little too old. It was also nice to see solid games by Andre Iguodala and Festus Ezeli as they come back from injury, as well. The Warriors proved today that despite recent losses, they are always, at any moment this season, the team to beat.
Looks like Bogut blocked LMA into a finger dislocation— Ethan Strauss (@SherwoodStrauss) April 8, 2016
For all of Duncan's greatness, he's a liability when Spurs switch on Curry pick-and-roll. Pop's small line-up didn't have problem last game.— Fast Break (@GSWFastBreak) April 8, 2016
Steph has been blowing past people tonight. Far cry from the game in San Antonio where he struggled with switches. SAS transition D a mess— Nate Duncan (@NateDuncanNBA) April 8, 2016
Deafening MVP chants for Curry as he knocks down the first FT.— Golden State of Mind (@unstoppablebaby) April 8, 2016
The adjustment Curry made in this game kinda defined it— Ethan Strauss (@SherwoodStrauss) April 8, 2016
Warriors/Spurs is gonna be such a sensational 5 game series— Pavy (@Pavyworld) April 8, 2016
70-9. #Warriors— Rosalyn Gold-Onwude (@ROSGO21) April 8, 2016
Warriors clinch the #1 seed & are 2nd team in NBA history to reach 70 wins!
There's a lot of them...
- Steph's decision to drive to the basket relentlessly changed the Warriors offense. Although Tim Duncan was able to defend the post adequately a few times, Steph was able to break down the defense more often than not, push the tempo, and find open shooters.
- Harrison Barnes has now hit double-digits in points nine straight games, a career-high #consistency
- It never ceases to amaze me how well Shaun Livingston and Mo Speights play together, especially in the pick and roll. The Warriors' bench outplayed the Spurs' today by a longshot, something we could never have expected early in the season.
- The Spurs' big lineup looks unfeasible against the Warriors right now. Gregg Popovich might want to sit Duncan (like he did for all the first game and most of the second) in favor of Boris Diaw, who was out tonight. The matchup with Diaw at center might be their best shot. Kawhi Leonard is real good though. Thought it should be said.
- Andrew Bogut is consistently one of the most underappreciated players on this team. He told Rosaalyn Gold-Onwude that he's just happy he's not playing like crap.
- Festus and Andre back gives the Warriors' more freedom to increase the pace while keeping the defensive intensity. They'll need to be back in shape and geared in for the playoffs.
- The Warriors play the Grizzlies on Saturday, and the Spurs again on Sunday, as they look to break hand the Spurs' their first loss this season in San Antonio.