I’ve been traveling around the world lately. I’ve noticed three cities where there have been unusually large rainstorms. Oakland, CA is one of those cities. Denver, CO also seemed to get a lot of rain in the past few weeks. The most recent rainstorm took place in San Antonio, TX. Shouldn’t we have expected it? It was on the weather report.
I was anticipating Golden State’s shooting to cool down at least a bit before this series. The weather report said there was a possibility of showers but I thought the clouds (San Antonio Spurs) would cover up most of the rain. Game 1 was interesting. The first 44 minutes of the game consisted of constant “splashes.” Manu Ginobili suddenly made the sun shine.
Okay, sorry. I’ll stop now. I can’t help that I’m clever.
Golden State came into this series with the same mentality as the last one. Who they play does not change their offensive strategy much. They are going to live and die by their lethal jump shooting. They play a fast-paced game and they take every outside shot that is given to them.
Golden State’s outside shots were falling right from the get-go in Game 1. They swung the ball around the perimeter and made the Spurs’ defense work hard to keep up with them. Stephen Curry must have had a good feeling coming out of the locker room at half. Curry exploded for 22 of his 44 points in the 3rd quarter. He was doing it all; pulling up for three in transition and he was crossing over defenders left-and-right.
Life was good until the game took a sharp turn with approximately four minutes remaining in regulation. The Spurs suddenly turned up their defensive pressure. Kawhi Leonard picked up Curry a bit after Steph reached halfcourt. If Leonard got beat, another defender would attack Curry as fast as possible. Curry got tired from the pressure and the team started throwing the ball away. The Spurs took advantage of those turnovers and sped up court for layups.
The Spurs ended up tying the game with around 30 seconds remaining. They had come back from a 16-point deficit in four minutes. The game was sent into overtime where both teams made big plays and could not pull away from one another. Manu Ginobili caught the ball on a crosscourt inbound pass at the end of 2OT and threw up a high-arcing three-pointer. The Warriors got mixed up on defense and gave him too much room. The ball went in and the stadium erupted. That was revenge for Ginobili, who had cost them with an ill-advised three at the top of the key just moments before that.
The Spurs somehow completed a highly unlikely comeback that gave them a 1-0 advantage in the series. Curry and the Warriors were stunned. It was one of those games where you look back and think: wait, what exactly just happened? That comeback would be tough to live with for the Warriors and would probably give the Spurs momentum going into Game 2.
Except, that wasn’t the case. Golden State came out just as energized in Game 2. They were playing like there was nothing to worry about. It was back to business for Steph and his sharp-shooting Warriors. Golden State started the game with the same firepower they had all playoffs. But this time it wasn’t Stephen Curry who would torch them.
Shooting guard, Klay Thompson, erupted for eight threes in the first half. The Spurs already had the hottest shooter in the league to worry about. The emergence of Klay Thompson’s stroke of beauty just put more on San Antonio’s plate. Golden State moved the ball tremendously and Thompson was able to free himself for a few three-pointers. And then just a few more.
There were points in the game where the Spurs made runs but Golden State finally figured out how to keep their composure. Klay Thompson finished a fantastic effort with 34 points and 14 rebounds on 8-of-9 three-point shooting. Golden State shot 11-for-23 from downtown and they finally limited their turnovers. The Warriors held the top-notch Spurs to just 39 percent shooting. Draymond Green and Andrew Bogut have been keys to Golden State’s recent defensive success.
A big part of both Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry’s incredible outside shooting is their quick releases. Their ability to get the shot off quick and still make it is a huge threat to the defense. Both of these guys only need a split second of time to see the basket. Both of them are deadly shooters when they are hot. Curry and Thompson is an extremely dangerous backcourt duo. It can be a nightmare for the defense especially when one of them gets hot.
Now, Golden State goes back home to an energized crowd that is ready to rumble. We must always keep in mind the capabilities of this San Antonio Spurs team. The Spurs may very well come into Oracle Arena and show completely new life. They could easily be too much for Golden State to handle on both sides of the ball. At the very least, we should expect an entertaining Game 3 and 4. Will the Spurs be able to slow down Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, a.k.a the splash brothers?
I expect both teams to continue to make these games highly competitive. Tim Duncan has been good for the Spurs but the Warriors have held him in check. Tony Parker has also had his moments but the Warriors’ guards have been able to quiet him down.
I’m predicting a split in the next two games and San Antonio to come back home with home court advantage (making the series tied at two).
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