by Jerry Feitelberg
AP photo: Golden State Warriors Stephen Curry can only roll on the floor in the first half after being overwhelmed by too much San Antonio Spurs in Tuesday night’s game at Oracle Arena for the home opener
My oh my. The San Antonio Spurs spoiled opening night by trouncing the Golden State Warriors 129-100. The Spurs, led by Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Johnathan Simmons outplayed the Warriors in every facet of the game and sent the sellout crowd home wondering if the Warriors are in trouble. Golden State did not look at all like the team that won 73 games last year. They are still a very good team, but it may take a little time for all the pieces to mesh together.
The Dubs took the lead 16-14 with 5:54 left in the first period. That was the only lead they would have the entire night. The Spurs outran, outshot, outrebounded and beat the Dubs on defense all night long. The Spurs, Kawhi Leonard who was second in last year’s MVP voting, scored a career-high thirty-five points. Big LaMarcus Aldridge knocked down twenty-six and had fourteen rebounds. The Spurs bench outscored the Dubs’ bench by an astounding 45-13. Every time the Dubs made a run to narrow the gap, the Spurs answered the challenge. Leading 18-16 late in the first period, they went on a 13-4 run to lead 31-20 at the end of the first period. The Spurs scored thirty-three in the second period as they took an eighteen-point lead at the half 64-46. Steph Curry and Kevin Durant led the Dubs’ attack with eighteen and fourteen respectively, but Klay Thompson had just two points and was one for seven from the floor. The Warriors made just four three-point shots in nineteen attempts. San Antonio made six treys in just ten attempts. Leonard, Aldridge and Jonathan Simmons, off the bench, were the key players for San Antonio.
The home crowd was hoping for a patented Warrior come-from-behind surge in the third period. However, The Spurs continued to beat the Dubs on offense and continued to disrupt the Warrior attack. The Spurs led by twenty at the end of the third and won by twenty-nine 129-100. Leonard finished the game with 35, Aldridge with 26 and bench players Simmons had 20, Mills with eleven and the veteran, Manu Ginobili pitched in with 10. Kevin Durant led the Dubs with 27 points and ten rebounds. Curry scored 26, and Draymond Green knocked down 18 to go with six assists and twelve rebounds. Klay Thompson finished the night with 11. The Spurs dominated the board on both ends of the court. They outrebounded the Dubs 62-41. They had the edge in offensive rebounds 20-8 and 34-27 on defense. The Dubs turned the ball over sixteen times to add to their woes.
The Warriors are a work in progress. The Warriors lost six key players. The new players have shown that they can play in the NBA. However, it takes time for the players to mesh together and find the rhythm that the Dubs had the last two years. They have 81 games left, and the Spurs are an excellent team and will be in contention for the best record in the Western Division. The Dubs play the next three games on the road. They face the New Orleans Pelicans Friday night. They then travel to Phoenix on Sunday. They are in Portland next Tuesday to face Damian Lillard and the Blazer. They return home November 4th to face the Oklahoma Thunder, Kevin Durant’s old team. Talk about a grudge match. That game should be a barnburner.