Warriors Survive late Surge from Spurs, Win Series 4-1 to Advance to Next Round
After an embarrassing loss in Game Four, the Golden State Warriors (3-1) traveled back to the Bay to take on the San Antonio Spurs (1-3) in Game Five. The Warriors were still without Stephen Curry, and the Spurs were still without Kawhi Leonard. While the Warriors could have swept the Spurs in Game Four had they shown some effort down the stretch, but they had another opportunity to finish the series, this time at home, and to clinch a matchup with the New Orleans Pelicans in the next round. The Spurs were looking to extend their success from Game Four and play another game in Texas, where they had one of the best home records in the NBA. The Warriors went on to win the game 99-91.
Klay Thompson kicked off the scoring in the first quarter with a jumper from the free throw line, and that kicked off a 7-0 run to open the quarter for the Warriors. JaVale McGee was the next player to score, and Draymond Green followed that up with a corner three that hit nothing but the bottom of the net. That early run forced a Spurs timeout, and after that timeout, JaVale McGee got a layup to fall before the Spurs were able to score. The Spurs were held scoreless for nearly five minutes, but got their first points on an and-1 put back by LaMarcus Aldridge. That basket for Aldridge started an 8-0 run for the Spurs before the Warriors were able to score again on a Klay Thompson layup. The two teams then traded baskets for a couple minutes before the Warriors called timeout. Before that time out, Klay Thompson made another layup off of a cut, and Andre Iguodala threw down an alley-oop. For the Spurs, Patty Mills made his first three of the game on the last possession before the timeout. The two teams finished the quarter by being unable to make shots, and basically just running in mud as the clock ran down. The Warriors were unable to get any offense going after their initial 7-0 run, but the Spurs were just as bad. As a team, the Warriors shot 40% from the field and were 1/7 from three, while the Spurs were shooting 32% from the floor and were 3/9 from three. Klay Thompson was the leading scorer for the Warriors with six points, while JaVale McGee and Kevin Durant were right behind him with four each. The Spurs were led by Patty Mills, who had six points on two made threes. Neither team looked very impressive in the opening quarter, and it looked as if this game might have been as boring and slow as the last one. After the first quarter, the Warriors led the Spurs 22-20.
The Spurs grabbed the lead in the second quarter on a three from Rudy Gay, but Klay Thompson nailed a fadeaway to grab the lead right back. Klay continued to score, and knocked down an impressive runner and a three to extend the early lead. The Spurs were unable to get going early in the quarter, and the Warriors picked up the tempo and defense to help reestablish the lead they had in the opening minutes of the game. Klay Thompson was carrying the load offensively early in the second quarter. The Spurs called a timeout as the Warriors got rolling, but they kept the ball rolling after that time out thanks to Klay and Kevin Looney. Klay hit an impossible jumper in traffic and Kevon Looney got an and-1 shot to fall from the paint, and in between all of this, the Warriors defense was beginning to really tighten its grip on the Spurs, forcing the Spurs into another timeout. After that second timeout, the Warriors offense still could not be slowed. Kevon Looney was still doing a great job on both ends, but was getting the Warriors extra possessions with the effort he was putting in. Andre Iguodala bottomed a corner three, which he had not done in a couple of games, and Kevin Durant capped off the run with a transition dunk to force the Spurs into another timeout. After that timeout, the Warriors nor the Spurs could get much going on the offensive end, but Klay did end the half with a mid range jumper at the buzzer to help the Warriors get their biggest lead of the night. Klay Thompson was the game’s leading scorer at halftime and had 11 points in the second quarter, but he had a total of 17 in the half. Thompson was the only player on either team in double figures for scoring. Kevin Durant was the next-highest scorer for the Warriors with eight points, but he was struggling with his three-point shot, going 0/5 from beyond the arc. Patty Mills and Rudy Gay were leading the charge for the Spurs with nine points apiece. As a team, the Spurs were shooting 31.1% from the field and 25% from three, while the Warriors shot 47.6% overall and 20% from three. At the half, the Warriors led the Spurs 49-38.
The Warriors started off the third quarter hot, and Klay Thompson picked up right where he left off, nailing another incredibly impressive mid-range jumper. Draymond Green made his second three of the game, and yelled at the Spurs telling them that they should probably guard him on the perimeter. Kevin Durant nailed four free throws to finally get into double digit scoring. The Warriors were playing great defense, and the Spurs were struggling to score, except for Patty Mills, who nailed his fourth three, and was single-handedly keeping the Spurs within striking distance. In the second half of the quarter, the Warriors had an offensive surge to close out the quarter after the Spurs got closer. The Spurs managed to get close thanks to LaMarcus Aldridge and his nine free throws, but as the clock wound down, the Warriors were getting more of their shots to fall, especially with Shaun Livingston in the mid range game. Kevin Durant nailed his first three of the game in the last minute of the quarter to help extend the Warrior lead. Klay Thompson was still the leading scorer for the Warriors with 19 points, and LaMarcus Aldridge was leading the Spurs with 17 points. As a team, the Warriors were shooting 50% from the field and 23.8% from three, while the Spurs were shooting just 33.3$ from the field and 24% from three. After the third, the Warriors led the Spurs 79-65.
The fourth quarter started with the Spurs pushing as hard as they could to avoid the end of their season, whereas the Warriors were unable to get anything going on the offensive end. The first half of the quarter was just and absolute grind offensively for the Warriors, who could not buy a bucket. The Spurs continued to scratch and claw their way back into striking distance, but then they turned the ball over one too many times, as a turnover led to Kevin Durant finding his shot again and he nailed two impressive mid-range jumpers to make the Spurs’ chances even slimmer. While Durant may have forced a timeout from the Spurs with his hot shooting, the timeout cooled everyone off once again. The Warriors had another extended stretch where they couldn’t buy a basket, missing what felt like a dozen wide-open looks. The Spurs also couldn’t get much going outside of an Aldridge dunk with just over two minutes left to cut the lead to six before another timeout. Kevin Durant then drove to the hoop and hammered down a dunk to get the lead back up to eight with two minutes left. Davis Bertans then made a three to cut the lead back down to five points, but Draymond Green countered with an incredible and-1 tip in, but he missed the free throw, so the lead was just at seven. On the next possession, LaMarcus Aldridge drove to the hoop and got an and-1 layup to fall to cut the lead to four points. The Warriors then mangled their own offensive possession before sending LaMarcus Aldridge to the line once again to make two free throws to cut the lead to two points with under a minute remaining. Kevin Durant then saved another disastrous offensive possession with a deep two to make it a four-point game with 30 seconds left, and then Manu Ginobili turned the ball over on the next possession to seal the win for the Warriors. The Warriors won the game 99-91.
The Warriors played a stellar game defensively throughout the entire game, but their offense was questionable at best down the stretch. The Spurs made sure to keep things interesting as fourth quarter came to a close, and I may not have finished writing this article had they come all the way back and won, I would have been that annoyed to watch another game of this matchup. Kevin Durant finished as the leading scorer for the Warriors with 25 points on 8/19 shooting, he also grabbed six rebounds and dished out five assists. Klay Thompson was right behind Durant with 24 points, and he was much more efficient as he made 11/22 shots. As a team, the Warriors finished the game shooting 44.6% from the field, and that included an absolutely miserable 18.5% from three.
Despite the miserable three point shooting, the Warriors were able to pull tonight’s game out thanks to their incredible, terrifying, mind-boggling defense. The Warriors were lights-out on the defensive end all game, and that starts with Draymond Green, who had a great game. Green had 17 points, 19 rebounds, and seven assists.
To be honest, this series was mind-numbingly boring after game two, and the last three games of this series have been an absolute grind and I have nothing more to write about them and am looking forward to an exciting series with the Pelicans and the return of Stephen Curry.