Warriors lose their Fourth All-Star, Play Very Poorly in 86-75 loss to San Antonio
After beating the Phoenix Suns on Saturday night, the Golden State Warriors (53-17) flew to Texas to take on the San Antonio Spurs (40-30). Both teams were missing key players, with the Warriors still missing the three-headed monster that is Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Kevin Durant. The Spurs were still missing Kawhi Leonard, who was rumored to be returning for a late-season push. Pat McCaw would be making his long-awaited return to the Warriors though, after missing more than a month with a fractured wrist, he would be looking to get on track with the rest of the reserves in time for the playoffs. The Spurs were looking to extend their winning-streak to four games in order to further solidify their place in the Western Conference playoffs. The Spurs went on to win the game 86-75.
Early in the first quarter, the game looked like it was going to get ugly and get ugly in a hurry. With the Warriors, we are used to the game getting ugly in a fun way, but this was definitely looking to not be one of those occasions. The Spurs jumped out to an early 20-8 lead, and Jeff Van Gundy made sure to let all the viewers at home know that the Warriors are not a good team without their three leading scorers. After he said that though, Steve Kerr made several substitutions that jump started the Warriors offense. Kevon Looney and JaVale McGee came into the game and provided some great energy off the bench. Both of them picked up a block and helped the Warriors get into the transition game. Kevon Looney had a nice sequence on offense in which he drove to the hoop and layed the ball in, and I was unaware he could do that. Andre Iguodala was the only consistent force for the Warriors on offense, finishing the first quarter with seven points on 3/4 shooting. The Spurs were being led by Danny Green and Patty Mills, who had eight point apiece. Rudy Gay was close behind them with seven points, and had a nice impact off the bench. Pat McCaw played in his first minutes since his injury and looked aggressive, which was a very encouraging sign. After the first quarter, the Spurs led the Warriors 30-21.
The second quarter was a tough one to watch, at least for the first eight minutes of it. The Spurs were able to get some scoring, while not enough to take the Warriors completely out of the game, enough to build a sizeable lead. They were being led by LaMarcus Aldridge, who had 12 points, and whenever he sat the Warriors were able to score again. When Aldridge left the game in the second quarter, the Warriors made a run to get back into the game, and I’m using “back in the game” loosely at this point. Quinn Cook got going in the second quarter, hitting several mid-range jumpers and a nice layup. He had 11 points, and was really doing a good job of running the pick-and-roll with Kevon Looney. Krvon had a good half, with six points, three rebounds, a steal, and a block. Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston both had seven points, and Shaun had the majority of his on some impressive turnaround mid-range jumpers, as he always does. Some more unfortunate news came for the Warriors halfway through the quarter though, Draymond Green got kneed in a very sensitive area, and then left the game and would not return with what was initially described as a contusion on his midsection. Neither team was shooting the ball well, with the Spurs shooting 41.9% from the field and the Warriors shooting 41.0%. The thing that was the real difference in the half (other than the glaringly obvious fact that the Warriors were without their three leading scorers), was the three point shooting. The Spurs were shooting 45.5% from beyond the arc, while the Warriors were an abysmal 8.3% from three. Now, the Warriors poor three-point shooting wasn’t due to lack of trying either, they went 1/12. At the half, the Spurs led the Warriors 49-41.
I’m going to be honest, the third quarter was not fun. The Warrior did manage to take a lead for the first time all game on a nice jumper from Kevon Looney, but man, that quarter was terrible. Neither team did anything on offense, and the defense was solid enough to prevent either team from getting any real momentum on the offensive end, when they actually managed to put the ball through the hoop. Quinn Cook did the majority of the scoring for the Warriors, and he finished the quarter with 18 points. He made a three, and Andre Iguodala did too, which tripled the amount of threes that the Warriors made in the first half. LaMarcus Aldridge was still leading the Spurs in scoring, he had 14 points, meaning that he only scored two points in the third quarter. Kevon Looney was still playing well for the Warriors, and he had 10 points. Several Warriors made nice blocks, including a remarkable block by Pat McCaw, which was very unexpected. The Spurs only scored 12 points in the third quarter, and the Warriors led 63-61 heading to the fourth.
In the fourth quarter, LaMarcus Aldridge took over and the Warriors could do absolutely nothing about it. He went off and scored 19 of his 33 points in the fourth to guide the Spurs to a win. Aldridge’s all-out assault on the Warriors in the fourth quarter opened up the three-point line for San Antonio and allowed for guys like Danny Green and Patty Mills to hit a couple big shots. The Warriors only scored 12 points in the quarter, and the points were very spread out, so basically they were unable to get any kind of momentum in any of the 12 minutes in the quarter. Quinn Cook ended up leading the Warriors in scoring with 22 points, and Kevon Looney was the next-highest scorer with 12 points. Both teams ended up shooting 40% from the field, but while the Spurs hit 34.8% of their threes, the Warriors only hit 15.8% of theirs. The Spurs won the game 89-75.
This game was a rough one from the very beginning. It was very clear that the Warriors weren’t going to win this game early but after Draymond Green got hurt, the possibility of victory faded even more. Somehow the Warriors were able to snag a lead in the third quarter, but that was more of an indication of how poorly the Spurs were playing in the second and third quarters. There is not much to take away from this game, at least from a Warriors standpoints. As for the Spurs, I was honestly shocked to see them play as poorly as they did, especially because they are in the midst of a brutal fight for the playoffs.
The only two players on the Warriors who had good games were Quinn Cook and Kevon Looney. Cook had 20 points on 8/17 shooting, with five rebounds and five assists. Looney had 12 points on 6/7 shooting, with eight rebounds, three steals, and one block. Other than those two guys, the Warriors were bad. In particular, Nick Young, David West, and Pat McCaw were bad. This was one of those games in which I become very frustrated watching Nick Young try to play in the Warriors system. He finished with 10 points on 2/10 shooting, and he went 0/5 from three, and none of those five shots were even close to being good looks. David West committed four turnovers, scored 2 points, and was -13 in the 13 minutes that he played. McCaw was 1/7 with three points, and he just looked lost at times. This game was very frustrating to watch, and I am glad it’s over.
The Warriors play next on Friday, March 23, at home against the Atlanta Hawks at 7:30 p.m.