Warriors Take Care of Business in Game Three, Win 110-97 to Take 3-0 Lead
After taking a commanding 2-0 series lead back home in Oakland, the Golden State Warriors (2-0) flew to Texas to play game three against the San Antonio Spurs (0-2). The Warriors were looking to win game three to essentially wrap up the series and end the Spurs’ hopes at making it to the second round, while the Spurs were looking to extend their season by winning a couple games at home. Before the game, JaVale McGee was not sure if he was going to be able to play after suffering a quad contusion in game two, but he was cleared and looking to do some damage in game three, similar to how he played in game one. A notable absence from the Spurs would be Coach Popovich, who was missing the game after his wife of 40 years passed away the day before. The Warriors went on to win the game 110-97.
The Spurs started game one on a 6-0 run and that run was started by Rudy Gay, who threw down a monstrous dunk on JaVale McGee. The Warriors got their first basket on a turnaround jumper from Klay Thompson, who was rolling early. Kevin Durant and JaVale McGee both got on the board early too, but the Spurs were able to keep an early lead thanks to a circus three from Patty Mills, and several nice plays from the rest of the team. Rudy Gay was looking to get on as many posters as possible in the opening quarter, and he nearly threw down another poster slam on JaVale, but missed and got fouled in the process. After the free throws, Draymond Green found KD for an easy bucket, and the score was tied at 10 at the time of the first timeout. After the timeout, both offenses were sputtering, but that was also because both teams were playing solid defense. The offense did end up picking up as the quarter went on, but the Warriors were unable to make a three, while the Spurs were able to make one as the two teams combined to go 1/12 from beyond the arc. The Spurs were able to get a couple nice rolls on some shots that looked like they were going to be misses in order to stay with the Warriors, who were heating up from the mid-range. The hottest players for the Warriors were Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson, who had 10 and four points, respectively. As a team, the Warriors were shooting 52.4% from the field, while the Spurs were shooting 45.5%. The Spurs were being led by LaMarcus Aldridge and Patty Mills, who both had five points. At the end of the first quarter, the Warriors led the Spurs 26-23.
Neither team came out in the second quarter particularly hot, but the Spurs were able to do more than the Warriors were. That was mostly because of Tony Parker, the veteran point guard had 10 points at the time of the first timeout of the quarter, which was after nearly seven minutes of game time. The Warriors still couldn’t buy a shot from three, but were able to put up points thanks to some nice offense from Shaun Livingston, but he was the only man scoring for the Warriors. Both teams kept trading buckets for a while, until the Warriors started to get on a bit of a roll to close out the quarter on a 18-7 run. Both teams were playing great defense though, which made it tough to make shots inside for both teams. Klay Thompson hit the first three for the Warriors with just two minutes left in the half, but that was the only three the Warriors made in the half. Rudy Gay made the Spurs their second three of the half to cut the deficit to six points at halftime. This half of basketball was not pretty, and it can best be described as grind-it-out basketball. Neither team was successful from beyond the arc, and were only really scoring at the rim and in transition. Pau Gasol had a dunk in transition, which was incredible because I was unaware of the fact that he could still dunk. Kevin Durant was still the leading scorer for the Warriors, and he had 17 points. He wasn’t efficient in the first half, going 5/11, but he was able to get to the line and make seven free throws. Klay Thompson had nine points of his own, and was also struggling to make shots due to the tight defense of San Antonio. As a team, the Warriors were shooting 51.2% from the field, and an abysmal 9.1% from three. Both Rudy Gay and Tony Parker were paving the way for the Spurs with 10 points each. The Spurs were shooting 41.9% from the field, and were slightly better than the Warriors from deep, shooting 15.4% from three. At halftime, the Warriors led the Spurs 52-46.
The Warriors were finally able to get the three to fall in the third quarter, and that allowed them to extend their lead to double digits. After making just one three in the first half, the Warriors made five in the third quarter. The threes all came from different players too, Klay hit his second of the night, while KD, Quinn Cook, Andre Iguodala, and Draymond Green all made their first threes. The Warriors were really in control for the entire quarter, and while the Spurs were able to show brief flashes of offense, they just couldn’t do anything consistently, depsite getting a lot of good looks. Kevin Durant was the leading scorer through three quarters with 24 points, and Klay was the next-highest scorer with 14 of his won. Tony Parker was paving the way for the Spurs with 16 points, and was looking surprisingly youthful. After the third quarter, the Warriors led the Spurs 84-72.
In the fourth quarter, the Warriors came out and were able to make some shots and extend their lead even more. They looked like they were finally finding their groove again, and hit two more threes. Klay Thompson hit one from the logo after a crazy sequence saw David West bat an offensive rebound back to him, and Draymond Green also nailed his second three of the night. The Warriors were shutting down the Spurs and not allowing them to get any easy shots, which was crucial in the re-building of the lead. Halfway through the quarter, the Warriors had a 17-point lead. After they built that lead, the Warriors really just ran out the clock while also making a couple nice shots. As the quarter neared its end, the Warriors suffered two injuries as Patty Mills decided that his new job on a basketball court is to dive at players ankles. He dove at the ankles of Kevin Durant and Shaun Livingston on consecutive plays, and both players rolled their ankles and had to leave the game. The good news is that both players were able to walk off the court under their own power and it appears that the injury is as minor as a rolled ankle can be. Kevin Durant finished as the Warriors’ leading scorer with 26 points on 9/17 shooting, while also grabbing nine rebounds and dishing out six assists. LaMarcus Aldridge finished with 18 points to lead the Spurs, and it might have been the quietest 18 points I have ever seen. The Warriors won the game 110-97.
To be honest, there is not much to take away with this game, as the Warriors established that they are the better team in the first two games, and basically deprived the Spurs of any chance to win the series. The Spurs and Warriors both played hard to night, that was easy to see, and the Spurs manage dot make it interesting in the first half, but I think that was more a product of the poor three point shooting from the Warriors. The three point shots began to fall in the second half, and as each one fell, the Spurs chances of a comeback got even bleaker.
Several Warriors had really solid games. Klay Thompson finished with 19 points, and made a couple crazy shots in the second half. Shaun Livingston had 16 points, which is the third most points he has scored in a Warriors uniform. Quinn Cook had 12 points and hit two threes, which was very good to see. Andre Iguodala also added 10 points while making a three, as well as provided his usual energy on defense. Draymond Green was probably the best of all the players I just mentioned. He finished with 10 points, six rebounds, seven assists, four blocks, and two steals. He has been locked in so far in the playoffs, and it has been great to see.
Game Four of the opening round series between the Spurs and Warriors will be on Sunday, April 22, at 12:30 p.m. on ABC.