Warriors begin Playoffs by Throttling Spurs in 113-92 Victory in Game One
After a grueling regular season that saw countless injuries and other distractions arise, the Golden State Warriors (2nd Seed, 54-28) would take on the San Antonio Spurs (7th Seed, 47-35) in the first round of the NBA playoffs. The Warriors were without Stephen Curry, their two-time MVP, and the Spurs were without Kawhi Leonard, a two-time MVP finalist. The Warriors, who had been the prohibitive favorites to repeat as NBA champions for the majority of the season, have been on the receiving end of some doubt and atrocious hot-takes, and were looking to put a stop to it with a convincing win over the Spurs. The Spurs were looking to rattle the Warriors cage and take back home-court advantage with a win. The Warriors went on to win the game 113-92.
The first quarter started with the Warriors playing spectacular defense. They were absolutely locking down the Spurs early, and the only shots that they could get were mid range jumpers from LaMarcus Aldridge. The offense was also looking pretty solid, especially when the defense was good enough to let the Warriors get out in transition, which they did, and that led to a lob to JaVale McGee. Both Kevin Durant and JaVale McGee had four points in the first four minutes of the game. JaVale was incredibly dominant for the Warriors in the opening minutes, and scored eight of the teams first 12 points. The Warriors defense was still spectacular heading to the Warriors first timeout after seven minutes of game action. After the timeout, the Warriors were still incredible. JaVale McGee blocked a couple shots, and on one of those blocks, he sent LaMarcus Aldridge back home. Kevin Durant nailed a three immediately following that block to help get the crowd on their feet. Towards the end of the quarter, the Warriors kept piling on thanks to a couple perfect jumpers from Kevin Durant and Shaun Livingston. The Spurs just couldn’t get anything going outside of a buzzer-beating three from Manu Ginobili. As a team, the Warriors were shooting 65% from the field during the first quarter, while the Spurs were just shooting 35%. Kevin Durant was the game’s leading scorer with 11 points, and JaVale McGee was right behind him with nine points. Manu Ginobili was leading the Spurs with six points. After the opening quarter, the Warriors led the Spurs 28-17.
The second quarter saw the Spurs able to get some offense going, but the Warriors were able to match that even without Kevin Durant in the game. Klay Thompson got loose and hit his first three of the game, and Quinn Cook was able to create a mid range jumper that was so beautiful it brought a tear to my eye. At one point, the Spurs cut the lead to just six points, but the Warriors responded by getting more creative on the offensive end, which led to a Shaun Livingston dunk. By the time the first timeout of the quarter was called, the Warriors were up by 11 points once again. After that timeout, the Warriors offense got on another roll, hitting several shots to extend their lead while also playing spectacular defense. The run culminated with a three from Andre Iguodala that set Oracle Arena on fire. The Warriors just kept rolling throughout the entire quarter, and the quarter ended with Kevon Looney fouling Rudy Gay on a last-second shot, but the Warriors were still able to get to halftime with nearly a 20-point lead. The Warriors defense was so great in the first half hat the Spurs only scored one point in the last 6:19 of the second quarter. At halftime, the Warriors were shooting 59% from the floor, while only shooting 33% from three. The Spurs were shooting 34.1% from the field, and an uncharacteristically high 54.5% from three. Kevin Durant led the Warriors in scoring with 16 points, and JaVale added 11 of his own. Rudy Gay was leading the way for the Spurs with 10 points, and the next highest scorer was LaMarcus Aldridge with eight points. At the half, the Warriors led the Spurs 57-41.
The Spurs opened the third quarter on a quick 5-0 run, but Klay Thompson responded by making a huge, high-arcing, mid range jumper. The Spurs then scored another quick four points, but were committing fouls at a rate that I have never seen before, and the Warriors were in the bonus with over nine minutes to go in the quarter. The Warriors were able to answer the Spurs initial offense with some great shots from Klay Thompson, as well as Draymond Green, who made his first three of the postseason. As the quarter progressed, the offensive barrage continued for the Warriors. Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant kept scoring at will, and Draymond Green made another three. Even though the Warriors were in the bonus for the majority of the quarter, they did not take advantage of that like they could have. The Spurs just continued to be unable to score anywhere near the rum, and got sent away repeatedly by the Warriors’ big men. Through three quarters, the Warriors were shooting 55.9% from the field and 43.8% from three, while the Spurs were shooting just 36.7% from the floor. The leading scorer for the Warriors was Kevin Durant, who had 24 points, and Klay Thompson overtook JaVale McGee for the team’s second-leading scorer with 19 points. The Spurs were led by Rudy Gay with 15 points, and LaMarcus Aldridge added 14 of his own. After the third, the Warriors had a commanding 86-63 lead over the Spurs.
The Warriors opened the fourth quarter with a signature turnaround jumper from Shaun Livingston. Klay Thompson then picked up a technical foul after seemingly voicing his concerns about a foul call. That was the first technical foul of the entire 2018 playoffs, and just the eighth of Klay’s career. After that foul, he immediately nailed a three to offset the three free throws the Spurs got. He continued to shoot and make hit shots to put the nail in the Spurs’ coffin for Game One. He hit another three, and then hit a mid range jumper, he was, to put it simply, en fuego. As garbage time began with seven minutes left in the quarter, Nick Young checked in for the first time and immediately hit a corner three. The Warriors finished the game shooting 54.3% from the floor and 45.5% from three. The Spurs shot 40% from the field and 40.9% from three. The leading scorer for the Warriors was Klay Thompson, who finished with 27 points on 11/13 shooting. Kevin Durant added 24 points of his own, while also picking up eight rebounds and seven assists. The Warriors won the game 113-92.
With their game one win, the Warriors reminded the world that they are one of the best, most talented, teams that the NBA has ever seen. They got production from all over their roster, and perhaps none of it was more important than what JaVale McGee was able to do. He finished with a season-high 15 points, and absolutely locked down LaMarcus Aldridge on the defensive end. His presence opened up the shooters on the perimeter for the Warriors, which is critical for their success. Andre Iguodala started at point guard for the Warriors in game one, and did a great job at controlling the offense, despite only scoring three points. This starting lineup for the Warriors had not been on the floor together all season, but when on the floor today, they were a force to be reckoned with on both ends.
Klay Thompson was spectacular today, finishing with 27 points on 11/13 shooting, and his shooting is key for the Warriors, especially with Stephen Curry on the sidelines. When he is hot, there is nothing you can do to stop him, and he was unstoppable today. His was a big change from last year’s playoffs, where he was ice cold from three to begin the postseason. Kevin Durant was also spectacular, finishing with 24 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists. He was doing what we saw him do during the team’s first stretch without Steph earlier this year, when he made the team a defensive juggernaut while shouldering the load offensively.
Draymond Green nearly had a triple double, finishing with 13 points, 11 assists, and eight rebounds. He, like McGee, was incredible on the defensive end. Shaun Livingston was also very solid off the bench, adding 11 points while running the offense like he always does. As a whole, the Warriors played an incredible game one, and look more than capable of being able to win games while Stephen Curry finishes his recovery.
Game Two of the first round matchup between the Warriors and Spurs will be on Monday, April 16, at 7:30 p.m. on TNT.