AT&T Center – Imagine Danny Green didn’t hit the game-tying 3-pointer that sent the San Antonio Spurs and Golden State Warriors into overtime Monday night. Imagine if Manu Ginobili didn’t hit the game winning 3-pointer in the Spurs’ game one win over the Golden State Warriors.
Had the above happened, the Spurs would have been heading into game two Wednesday down 0-1 already in the series.
And then came game two.
“They played much better than us and miracles don’t happen that often. We didn’t deserve Game1 either,” said Ginobili Wednesday after his team fell to the Warriors 100-91.
“So we really have to do a better job over there (at Golden State) because we don’t have a chance if we play like this.”
For eight quarters and two overtime periods as a whole in this series, the Warriors have played and looked like the better team. They’ve controlled the tempo, they’ve disrupted the Spurs’ offense, defense, and they’re even wearing down San Antonio’s best player in Tony Parker.
“They’ve had control the entire way,” said Tim Duncan after the game. “We’ve got a lot of things to clean up.”
Worst of all, with all of these advantages for the Warriors, the Spurs came out Wednesday like it was just a normal regular season game, as they revealed the words EFFORT and FOCUS as two main issues in their loss.
“We were lacking the focus,” said Tim Duncan after the game,”the intensity, whatever you want to call it. That put us in a hole. That second quarter really killed us. I don’t know what to say about it, honestly.”
“They came out hungrier and with more determination,” added Ginobili after the game. “They did a much better job than us. They showed that they wanted it more.”
As Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich put it in his post-game press conference, “I think they were the more aggressive, physical team for more of the game than we were just like in Game 1.”
In the series, the Warriors have been the team who has delivered the first punch early on. Whether it was Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, or any of the contributing role players like Harrison Barnes, Jarrett Jack, or Draymond Green, Golden State had an answer for each San Antonio run Wednesday.
As the Spurs try to search for answers for their lack of urgency, the Warriors are maturing and growing up as the series keeps moving. “We kept our composure,” said Curry of his team withstanding each Spurs run.
Even more noticeable was the Warriors’ careful possession of the ball. After turning the ball over 21 times in game one and averaging over 18 turnovers per game in the playoffs, the Warriors turned the ball over just 10 times in game two.
The Spurs now head into the Bay Area having lost home court advantage; the only way they’ll get it back is to win one on the road.
“It’s going to be a great challenge,” commented Parker on heading to Oracle Arena, “If you want to win in the playoffs, you have to win on the road.”
“We’ll watch some film. We’ll recover here. We’ll expect a much better effort in game 3,” concluded Duncan.
The Spurs have one day to figure out how they’re going to try to steal a game on the road, because when you think about it, they could be heading into Oracle down 0-2, but they’re fortunate to be tied in the series 1-1.
I am disappointed with the team defense in the 1st half. Had they played defense like the 2nd half throughout the whole 48 minutes, they could have a chance. They had to spend so much energy to dig out such a big hole in the 2nd half and it showed fatigue in TP near the end of the 4th quarter. He gasped for air and did not have enough lift in his leg for a floating shot. Only two players deserve my praise are TD and TP. They gutted out in the 48 min. Leonard and Green played poorly as I expected because Green and Leonard are never been a consistent offensive production. Neal got lost on at least a big 3 by Klay. Manu disappear again and does not seem have his leg. He threw up a wild shot again near the end of 4th quarter. I am puzzled why Pop did not foul Bogut when coming down stretch. I think Pop expected another com back but he’s wrong this time.
Playoff is all about match up and make shots. Green and Leonard missed many wide open 3s. Simply, GS knows that if you don’t make shot, they will play zone defense and pack the lane. Hence, you can’t drive to the hoop and get fouled.
I do not see Pop have answers for this small ball strategy. This reminds me GS v.s Mavericks few years ago. The Spurs are destined to doom unless they MUST play hard nose defense like the Bulls or the Heat. Many players do not show gut, tenacity, determination and heart in this series. They must take it to the GS in game 3. Otherwise, series may end as 4-1 favor to the GS because they want more than the Spurs.