The Warriors somehow find a way as they come back from a 25-point deficit to win Game One of the Series with the Spurs

May 14, 2017

Golden State Warriors, NBA

by Jerry Feitelberg

Oakland- Watching the game between the Warriors and the Spurs Sunday afternoon reminded me of the first line in Charles Dickens’ story “The Tale of Two Cities.” “It was the best of times, and it was the worst of times.” For the Spurs, it was the best of times in the first half of the game as they dominated the Warriors. They led by 25 at one point and finished the first 24 minutes of play leading 62-42. However, the Spurs suffered the worst of times as the Warriors stormed back and beat the Spurs 113-111 to take a 1-0 lead in the Western Conference Finals.

The Warriors, who had been off since last Monday, appeared to do everything wrong in the first half. They shot just 34% from the floor. They made just two 3-point shots. They turned the ball over too many times, and the Spurs were outrebounding them easily. The Spurs’ MVP candidate, Kawhi Leonard, was hot. He scored 18 points, and his teammates LaMarcus Aldridge and Manu Ginobili followed with 17 and 9 points each. The Spurs led 46-21 about halfway through the second quarter and the game looked to be a blowout for San Antonio. The Warriors’ Steph Curry and Kevin Durant each scored fourteen points in the half but Klay Thompson was held to just three. Zaza Pachulia had 4 and Draymond Green just 2.

The Warriors, who have owned the third quarter this season, couldn’t seem to get untracked. The Spurs kept the pressure on until about halfway through the period. Kawhi Leonard, who had been killing the Dubs on offense as well as defense, re-injured his ankle and had to leave the game and did not return. The Warriors,  trailing 78-55, went on an 18-0 run behind the spectacular play of Steph Curry. Curry tallied 19 points and was helped out by KD and Zaza as the Warriors ending the third period trailing 90-81

The Spurs held the lead for most of the fourth-quarter. Kevin Durant made some key shots while Steph was on the bench. Steph returned with about a little over six minutes in the game, and the Warriors continued to chisel the deficit down. They closed to within three 96-93, but the Spurs made a bucket to up the lead to five 98-93. Shaun Livingston made a key bucket as the Warriors regained the lead 101-100. The Dubs had not led since early in the first period. San Antonio responded and regained the advantage 106-103. Steph tied the game with a three-pointer 106-106. Draymond Green made a layup and was fouled. He made the free throw, and the Dubs led 109-106. Steph made a deuce, and the Warriors had their biggest lead of the game 111-106. The Spurs did not fold. They made two buckets, and the lead was down to one. Steph made another bucket, and the Dubs led 113-110 with time winding down. The Spurs’ Patty Mills was fouled near the end of the game. Mills made the first free throw. He intentionally missed the second free three throw hoping to get the ball to bounce to one of teammates in the backcourt. The strategy failed as the Warriors completed an amazing comeback to win the first game of the series.

Game Notes and Stats- The win by the Warriors over the Spurs was the first time the Warriors have ever beat the Gregg Popovich Spurs in a playoff series. Popovich had this to say after the game;” they(the Warriors) are well-coached and worked harder. It was a great effort and a tough loss for us.”

The Warriors were fantastic in the second half. In order to win, they had to outscore the Spurs by twenty-two points, and that is exactly what they did as they poured in 71 points and held the Sputs to 49. Steph Curry finished with 40 points, 3 assists, and 7 rebounds. Kevin Durant followed with 34 points, 4 assists, five boards, and he blocked four shots. Zaza Pachulia added 11. Pachulia had three assists, nine rebounds, and one block. Draymond Green scored nine points and had 7  assists and seven rebounds. The Warriors’ bench contributed just 13 points while the Spurs bench tallied 39. Kawhi Leonard had 26 points before leaving with his injury. LaMarcus Aldridge, who had 17 in the first half, was held to eleven and finished with 28. Manu Ginobili and Jonathan Simmons, both coming off the bench, had 17 and 12 respectively.

The Spurs outrebounded the Dubs 23-17 in the first half. However, the Dubs dominated the boards in the final 24 minutes and finished the night with a 43-37 advantage in that department. Both teams had thirteen steals, but the Dubs had 8 blocks, and the Spurs had four. The Warriors committed 19 turnovers and the Spurs 17. Both teams play excellent defense, and that may be a reason for the high number of giveaways.

The Warriors’ Andre Iguodala did not see a lot pf playing time. Interim coach Mike Brown said the reason fo not using Andre was that ” he looked a little hobbled out there.”

The Warriors are 9-0 in the playoffs and are 24-1 in their last 25 games including the postseason.

The Warriors and Spurs play Game Two Tuesday night at Oracle Arena at 6 pm.


About rxslugger

Retired pharmacist who now has a career as a sports writer and broadcaster

View all posts by rxslugger


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