Warriors Demolish Spurs with Incredible Second Half, win Game Two 116-101
After playing some of their best defense of the season in game one of the playoffs, the Golden State Warriors (1-0) took on the San Antonio Spurs (0-1). The Warriors were looking to follow up their incredibly strong performance with another win in order to take a commanding 2-0 series lead. After game one, the Spurs’ star player, Kawhi Leonard was ruled out for the rest of the series while rehabbing his quad, and Stephen Curry remained out for the Warriors. The Warriors went on to win the game 116-101 to take a commanding 2-0 series lead.
The Warriors started the first quarter by playing pretty tight, committing several early turnovers and fouls, but their shooting was lights-out. In the first five minutes of the first quarter, the team committed three fouls and had four turnovers, but were able to make up for that thanks to Andre Iguodala. He was incredible early, hitting three consecutive threes, and he was shooting the ball with confidence that we didn’t see in the regular season. The Spurs were nearly as disjointed as the Warriors early in the game, but were much more composed. LaMarcus Aldridge had six early points thanks to three pretty impressive jumpshots, including a fadeaway over JaVale McGee. Iguodala’s fast start forced a timeout from Coach Popovich, and immediately after the timeout, Patty Mills hit an incredible three to grab the momentum right back. After that timeout, the Spurs went on a 10-2 run to take the lead. The Warriors could not buy a basket during that stretch, with Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson missing several open looks from three. The Spurs were able to continue their run thanks to sloppiness from the Warriors and some incredibly strong defense. The Spurs were clearly prepared for the defensive battle that this game was shaping out to be. The leading scorer for the Spurs was LaMarcus Aldridge, who had 11 points. Andre Iguodala was paving the way for the Warriors with nine points, and Kevin Durant was right behind him with eight points of his own. As a team, the Warriors were shooting 45% through the first quarter, while the Spurs were only shooting 36%. The difference between these two teams was that the Warriors turned the ball over seven times in the quarter, and let the Spurs capitalize on those turnovers because they were without their anchor on defense as Draymond Green was in foul trouble within the first two minutes of the game. After the first, the Spurs led the Warriors 25-23.
The first half of the second quarter was a slugfest between the two western conference adversaries. The two went up-and-down the court while mauling each other, and neither team scored more than five points in the first three minutes of the quarter. The Spurs were being disruptive, and not allowing the Warriors to get into their transition offense, while the Warriors were getting bailed out by the Spurs general inability to make open jump shots. Eventually, the Warriors managed to get something going thanks to David West, who threw down a dunk and drained two mid-range jumpers. The Spurs were still able to hold onto their lead until midway through the quarter, when Kevin Durant checked back into the game. When he returned, he launched an all-out assault on the hoop and scored four quick points, two on a reverse layup, and the other two on an elbow jumper. After seven minutes, the score was tied at 35 points. After the timeout that was called when Durant tied the game, the Spurs came out and were able to out-rebound, out-score, and basically out-heart the Warriors for the remainder of the half. The Spurs were playing with the typical resilience that you expect from them, but was strangely absent in game one. The Spurs were grabbing rebounds, forcing turnovers, and were taking every Warrior not named Kevin out of the game offensively. The Spurs were rolling until Klay Thompson started to get involved in the offense again. To close out the quarter, he hit a three, a mid-range jumper, and threw up a lob to JaVale. The Spurs just didn’t go away though, and they were able to hold onto their lead like a Kangaroo carrying it’s newborn Joey. The Spurs leading scorer was LaMarcus Aldridge, who had 17 points and was making JaVale McGee look foolish repeatedly. Rudy Gay added 10 points of his own, while Pau Gasol had eight points off the bench. Kevin Durant was the leading scorer for the Warriors with 17 points, but no other player had more than nine points. As a team, the Warriors were shooting 47.4% from the field and 30.8% from three, while the Spurs were shooting 40.4% from the field and 17.6% from beyond the arc. The Spurs were able to gain a lead because not only could the Warriors not score, they couldn’t hold onto the ball. The Warriors turned the ball over 11 times in the half, and would have been losing by a lot more if the Spurs were capable of making open shots on the perimeter. After the second quarter, the Spurs led the Warriors 53-47.
The Warriors came out in the third quarter and were ready to dominate like they did in game one. Their defense looked fierce once again, with Andre Iguodala and JaVale McGee making key plays early. Iguodala forced a jump ball and McGee forced a Spurs turnover off of that jump ball. The offense was rolling again as well, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson both made threes, and JaVale had four early points. The Spurs had only three points in the first four minutes before Coach Popovich called timeout. After that timeout, the Warriors were determined to send the Spurs packing. JaVale threw down a massive slam, and Klay followed that up with a perfect three. LaMarcus Aldridge was not ready for the Spurs to lose just yet, as he put the Spurs on his back to bring his scoring total to a game-high 26 points when the Warriors called timeout with just under five minutes left in the quarter. At the time of the timeout, the Spurs had regained their lead thanks to the superb play of Aldridge. The Warriors then began to double Aldridge and force other Spurs to make shots, all the while Kevin Durant was heating up on the offensive end, hitting two-straight free throws. The Warriors were able to shut down Aldridge in the last couple minutes of the quarter and were also able to capitalize on the offensive end, giving them a lead once more. Kevin Durant and LaMarcus Aldridge were the game’s leading scorers with 28 points each. The next highest scorer on each team was Klay Thompson with 15 points and Rudy Gay with 12 (nearly had 14 but missed a dunk that would have been legendary). As a team, the Spurs were shooting just 37.7% from the field, and an abysmal 16% from three. The Warriors were shooting 48.3% from the field and 42.9% from three. After the third quarter, the Warriors led the Spurs 80-75.
Klay Thompson got the fourth quarter started by scoring six quick points. He was red-hot, but was not the only Warrior who was putting in work on the offensive end. Draymond Green and Quinn Cook both hit threes in the fourth quarter to help keep the Spurs at bay, all while playing very solid defense. David West did roll his ankle early in the quarter when he landed on LaMarcus Aldridge’s foot, but he returned to the bench after briefly going to the locker room. Despite the quality play on both ends from the Warriors, the Spurs were still lingering thanks to big shots from Patty Mills and LaMarcus Aldridge. After Aldridge knocked down a shot, the Warriors called timeout to get some substitutions for the final stretch, and Klay hit another three immediately after the timeout. The offense was quiet for a couple minutes and Draymond Green ended up getting a flagrant foul on the defensive end, which got the crowd rocking again. Klay Thompson then nailed another spectacular three which was followed by a lob to Andre Iguodala, and then another three from Andre Iguodala, which was the dagger. Kevin Durant finished as the leading scorer for the Warriors with 32 points, but Klay Thompson was right behind him with 31 of his own. The leading scorer for the Spurs was LaMarcus Aldridge, who finished with 34 points, but no one else on the Spurs had great games to match what he brought tonight. The Warriors won the game 116-101 and took a 2-0 series lead.
This game was incredible to watch from start to finish, especially if you are a Warriors fan. The Spurs came out in the first half and put it to the Warriors, and were hitting the Warriors with body blow after body blow. The first half was an absolute battle, and was gut-wrenching at times for the Warriors. LaMarcus Aldridge was dominating, and the Warriors were turning the ball over more than they were shooting it, it felt as if we were living in Earl Watson’s wet dream. After that first half though, the Warriors came back with the same resilience we saw in game one, and not only were they playing well, they seemed to be more amped up, or emotionally charged than any other time this season.
Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant took the game over in the second half, the game was as simple as that. The game was close until those two guys remembered that they are two of the greatest shooters to have ever stepped foot on planet Earth. Klay finished with 31 points, 16 of which came in the fourth quarter, and Durant had 32, and he was nearly unstoppable in the second half. While those two were great, and put up huge numbers offensively, the most impressive performance from tonight’s game came from Andre Iguodala. Andre hit four threes, finished with 14 points, seven rebounds, and five assists. He was as intense as I have ever seen him, and he was playing with a ferocity that was able to lead the Warriors’ defensive attack in the second half. Iguodala has been so outstandingly great on the offensive end in the first two games of the season, and to try and put that in perspective...he went 3/27 from beyond the arc in his first 12 playoff games last year, and through two games this year, he is 5/7. That’s pretty good.
Now, you can’t talk about a Warriors win without mentioning Draymond Green, who was absurd on the defensive end all game. He had a team-high +/- of +17, and finished with nine points, five rebounds, six assists, and two steals. The Warriors also got a strong performance form David West, who had 10 points before rolling his ankle, and JaVale McGee, who rebounded from a subpar first half to score 10 points and throw down some impressive momentum-shifting dunks.
The real takeaway from this game is this: the Golden State Warriors are here, they know what it takes, they are ready to do some damage, and they really want to hurt your feelings.
Game three of this opening-round matchup between the Warriors and Spurs will be on Thursday, April 19, at 6:30 p.m. on TNT.