In what was one of the more anticipated match-ups of the night and a game head coach Mark Jackson called a “benchmark” game, the Golden State Warriors fell to the streaking San Antonio Spurs 99-90 and quite frankly the score doesn’t describe how lopsided the game was for the most part.
The San Antonio Spurs came into Saturday night’s match-up vs the Warriors having won 12 in a row which was their longest winning streak in 7 years. Also head coach Greg Popovich decided to rest Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobli and we all know Pop is known for doing this. Still it didn’t matter.
Watching Saturday night’s game you would have thought you were watching a sparring match between a master sensei (yes I pulled the karate analogy) and a novice student. The Spurs came out of the gates quickly in the first quarter hitting their first 5 shots and building a 22-7 lead midway through the first. The Warriors bench came in and brought the game to a 32-22 Spurs lead at the end of the first quarter. The Warriors however, clamped down defensively in the second quarter and were able to cut the Spurs lead to 50-47 by half-time.
The big changer was the fourth quarter, after cutting the Spurs lead to 76-74, Spurs guard Danny Green hit a three pointer to start what would be an 11-0 run and that was the ball game. The game was a complete contrast of styles, the Spurs run an efficient (though they only shot 39% for the game) offense that involves a lot of pick n’ roll, off-ball cutters and constant movement, and waiting until they get a great shot, while the Warriors generally rely on great shot making off of isolation plays mostly.It was obvious the Warriors were off their game (mainly due to the Spurs underrated defense) shooting only 3-15 from three point land and shooting 40% from the field overall.
While the Spurs’ all-star point guard Tony Parker had a typical 20 point performance the Spurs also benefited from other players stepping up for the resting Duncan and Ginobli. Danny Green had 18 points including going 5-9 from three and center Tiago Splitter had a monster double-double, scoring 17 points and grabbing 14 rebounds. Marco Belinelli also contributed with 15 points off the bench.
The Spurs have now won 13 games in a row and have gained a full two game lead over the Oklahoma City Thunder for the best record in the Western Conference. The Spurs are now 3-0 against the Warriors this season including winning two games in Oakland in which Popovich rested his star players and the Spurs have now won 51 of the last 59 games vs the Warriors (yikes).
The Warriors are still one game and a half ahead of the Dallas Mavericks for the sixth seed in the west but are now two and a half games behind Portland for the fifth seed. The Warriors have five days off to get healthy (mainly getting Andre Iguodala back from injury) before facing the Memphis Grizzles March 28th , a team that has also had the Warriors number this season as the Grizzles are 2-1 in the regular season series.