In the most unlikely place, the Warriors tied one of the NBA’s most amazing records. Two decades had gone by since the Chicago Bulls’ 72-win season, and on Sunday night, the Golden State Warriors equaled that mark by beating the Spurs 92-86. While setting the record is a monumental feat, Golden State’s victory in San Antonio ended a 33-game losing streak against the Spurs in their home building.
Most of the game was a grueling, physical battle with stifling defense on both ends. There was a lot of contact on a majority of the plays, and the officials did an excellent job of letting the players play.
The first quarter was especially painful for Golden State, who shot just 21% from the field and scored 14 points. Steph Curry and Draymond Green had 13 of the Warriors’ 14 points. While San Antonio wasn’t much better, they outscored the Warriors with 19 points on 39% shooting, with 11 coming from Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge.
In the second quarter, Golden State elevated their defense and held the Spurs to just 16 points on 19% shooting, including holding Leonard to 1/7. The Warriors shot 50% from the field and tallied 21 points, and the score would be knotted up at 35 all. No one, except for Draymond Green, was able to find a rhythm on offense. Curry was the leading scorer with 11 and shot 50% for the first half, and Green had nine points but only attempted three shots.
Kawhi Leonard had a disastrous shooting half, finishing 3/13 for nine points; Leonard left his mark on the glass and inhaled nine, including four offensive.
The pace picked up severely in the third, much to the Warriors liking. Curry was out of his mind in the quarter, lighting up the scoreboard with 16 on 6/10 shooting and 3/5 from downtown; Golden State finished with 27 points. San Antonio was, impressively, able to keep up with the increased tempo and finished with 26 points themselves. Aldridge was the catalyst for the offense, scoring 10 of his 24 on a very efficient 4/6. Heading into the final quarter, Golden State held a 62-61 lead.
Role players like Ian Clark, Mareese Speights, and Andre Iguodala gave superb minutes in the fourth, allowing Curry to sit for half the period. Despite splendid efforts from Leonard and Aldridge, who combined for 15 of San Antonio’s 25, Curry was too much. Without hitting a three, Steph collected his final ten points, and pushed the Warriors past the Spurs with a 30-points quarter.
It’s worth noting that Tim Duncan didn’t play. However, he hasn’t played well against the Warriors this season so it might’ve been to San Antonio’s benefit.
The Spurs did everything they needed to be in the position to win: they mauled GS on the offensive glass, 18-7; they were incredibly physical with Curry and Thompson, and they moved the ball marvelously with 21 assists. What they failed to do, however, was keep the pace down and make shots in the half court.
It’s a very overlooked part of their game, but the Warriors have one of the best defenses in the league and were able to hold the Spurs to 38% shooting. Leonard was shockingly inefficient, finishing just 7/22 from the field with 20 points and 13 boards. Aldridge was San Antonio’s leading scorer and had 24 points and added ten rebounds to go along with it.
Lastly, the reigning-MVP showed that he can score from any part of the floor. He just prefers the three (this includes a 65-foot bank shot at the end of the third quarter that didn’t count). Of Curry’s 13 made field goals, only four were threes. He was fantastic getting to the goal and even showed a nice mid-range game. His 37 points were a game high, and Klay Thompson was second on the team with 14.
In their final game of the season, the Warriors will take on the Grizzlies on Wednesday with the hopes of getting win number 73 after narrowly escaping them in their last matchup. San Antonio looks for win 66 as they travel to Oklahoma City on Tuesday.
Around The League
Indiana beat the Nets 129-105, clinched the last playoff spot, and knocked the Bulls out of the playoffs. Myles Turner had 28 points and ten boards to lead the Pacers, and Sean Kilpatrick was the Nets’ leading scorer with 26.
Kobe Bryant and James Harden dueled as the Rockets pulled out a 130-110 win in Kobe’s last game against Houston. Harden had a game-high 40 points and 13 assists while Bryant went for 35 on 10/22 shooting in 27 minutes of action.
Khris Middleton went for 36 points, six boards, and nine assists as the Bucks barely beat the Sixers, 109-108. Giannis Antetokounmpo nearly triple-doubled with 14p, 9r, and 7a; Philly was led by Ish Smith’s 22 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists.
CHA 98 – WASH 113
LAL 110 – HOU 130
DAL 91 – LAC 98
UTAH 100 – DEN 84
MIL 109 (OT) – PHI 108
BKN 105 – IND 129
ORL 96 – MIA 118
GSW 92 – SAS 86
TOR 93 – NYK 89