Season 51, Game 08
San Antonio 92, Golden State 112
If I told you two weeks ago that the Spurs would lose by 20 at home Golden State and in that game, neither Kawhi Leonard nor Tony Parker would play a single minute, would you be surprised?
So why am I so mad that San Antonio dropped the early season contest 112-92 in the AT&T Center after two nights of rest?
Because the when the game started, everything went right, even if it wasn’t what we expected.
LaMarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol opened up the game by nailing their first shots, each from behind the arc. Kyle Anderson hung tough and looked every bit like the bench player San Antonio needs… although ideally coming off the bench. Hell, Danny Green shrugged off Steph Curry at the line, drove into the lane and “GET OFF MY LAWN” dunked on Kevin Durant. Danny Green – the guy who used to make me seasick just by running and dribbling at the same time – shook off TWO MVPs on his way to an early dunk!
And that wasn’t all, Patty Mills – who started over Sweet Honey Dejounte Murray – hit a three ball with half the first quarter remaining, and a couple minutes later Aldridge did one of those Shaquille O’Neal-style dunks where like four guys from the other team are hanging on him but he just throws down a two-handed jam anyway. It was gorgeous. The Spurs were unrelenting. The outcome was totally unexpected, which makes it exactly the kind of thing we should expect from a Gregg Popovich-led team.
Seconds later, Rudy Gay and Manu Ginobili hit back-to-back three point shots. The Spurs were on an 18-3 run, leading 28-12 at this point. In fact, the Warriors were scoreless from ~6:20 until there were only 2:16 left in the quarter, when Kevin Durant got to the line and broke the scoreless streak.
Buuuuuuuut, this is the Warriors, and no lead is safe against Golden State.
San Antonio didn’t help their cause by making some awfully careless turnovers in the final minutes of the quarter, leading to a couple wide open Steph Curry threes. At the end of the first quarter, the Spurs clung tight to a nine point lead, and that’s where my game notes started to get a little weird.
In fact, I’ll just share my 2nd quarter notes here to prove it:
- So happy we got Gay
- Pau makes more jumpers than lay-ups, huh?
- Klay and Steph are objectively unattractive (I’m pretty sure they both hit some stupid three-pointers right before I penned that masterpiece)
- Anderson has under the rim moves now? 5:30 left in the Q
- Warriors missing a lot. Are we good at D or…?
- 4:30 left… LMA at the line a lot. I like that
That adds up to a dwindling five point lead at half-time. And if you had that sinking feeling in your stomach that San Antonio was in trouble… well, you weren’t alone.
With 10:05 left in the third quarter, Kevin Durant hit a three that gave the Warriors a lead, and though the Spurs would briefly tie the game a few minutes later, they would never lead again. For the most part, San Antonio and Golden State traded baskets the rest of the quarter, and San Antonio went into the final frame trailing by six.
If it wasn’t obvious by the start of the fourth period, the Spurs are sorely missing their guy. You know, someone like Kawhi Leonard? The kind of guy who can single-handedly take over a game on both sides of the ball? That’s the kind of guy you need when you’re down by six at home against the defending champs. That’s the kind of guy you need when your reserves are playing the best that they can and it’s obvious that their best isn’t enough (and I promise that I actually really like the way most of the team is playing, it’s just clearly not cutting it for games like this one). And that – unfortunately – is exactly the kind of guy San Antonio is without.
Let’s just hope he’s back before it’s too late.
- The two coaches combined for three technical fouls in the contest.
- Popovich’s technical fouls both came in the fourth quarter, and he was ejected for it.
- Toward the end of the first period, Murray made a really bad turnover. Pop immediately called a timeout and yelled at him for what probably felt like six hours in Murry’s head. On the very next play, Sweet Honey drilled a jumper. I like that. I like that so much. I love Murray and I really, really, sincerely, hope that he pans out for San Antonio.
- Someone on Twitter started calling Aldridge LaMarcus Alpha and I like that nickname a lot.
Photo credit: AP Photo/Eric Gay