Kurtenbach: What we learned in the Warriors’ Game 2 over the Spurs


San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich gestures to an official while playing the Golden State Warriors during the fourth quarter of Game 2 of their NBA first-round playoff series at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif., on Monday, April 16, 2018. The Golden State Warriors defeated the San Antonio Spurs 116-101. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)

OAKLAND — Here’s a quick question: Do you think the Spurs can beat the Warriors four out of five times?

Because that’s what San Antonio will have to do to win this first-round playoff series with Golden State.

If you, like me, answered “no”, then you understand how important Monday’s Game 2 was.

The final score — Warriors 116 – Spurs 101 — wasn’t indicative of the true nature of the contest. This was a close game, but ultimately the overwhelming truth of this series rung true once again: San Antonio doesn’t have the talent to keep up with the Warriors.

That said, the Warriors will have to play significantly better in Game 3 in San Antonio if they want to wrap up this series in four games — the Spurs are a much better team at home and the Warriors showed, at least for a half, that they can keep San Antonio in a game with turnovers.

This series is over, but it’s still going to be interesting.

Here’s what else we learned in a pivotal Game 2:

The Spurs wanted a rock fight, and for a while, they got one
(Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)

Spend enough time with the Golden State Warriors and you’re bound to hear the word once, twice, or a few hundred times:

Joy.

The Warriors want to play an up-tempo, free-wheeling, offensive game — they want to play with joy.

In Saturday’s Game 1, the Warriors were able to do that — even without Stephen Curry in the lineup.

But the first half of Game 2 was was anything but joyful for Golden State.

There’s a reason that Spurs coach Gregg Popovich is considered one of the best (if not the best) coach in NBA history — after learning (or having his suspicion confirmed to him) in Game 1 that his team could absolutely, positively, not keep up with the talent of the Warriors, he devised a clever game plan to turn Monday’s Game 2 into a slow-it-down, grind-it-out affair.

The Spurs turned Game 2 into a rock fight. With a renewed energy and a hyper-aggressive defensive mindset, the Spurs were able to negate their talent deficiency with physicality in the early goings Monday.

Amid a cacophony of whistles (SO MANY WHISTLES) and wave after wave of San Antonio defensive pressure, the Warriors were never able to establish an offensive rhythm in the first half. San Antonio led by six at the half.

The Spurs defensive effort on …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Sports

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