Well, that was disappointing.
Rather than come out with fire and energy, the Spurs laid a first half egg and couldn’t scrap enough in a gritty second half to come out with a win. Some thoughts and notes, as well as a song, after the jump:
Song of the Day: Seryn, “We Will All Be Changed”
After Game 2, it feels like everything has changed. The Spurs are now in a dogfight just to win this series. The beautiful offense and shot making has fallen apart. And the team is matched up with a team that exploits the one thing the Spurs defense is designed to give up: jump shots.
This song is from a band whose name doesn’t match its style. I was expecting a poppy thing, but this is far from that. It’s really a combination of the big joyful, folk groups and the dreary Americana bands; think Polyphonic Spree meets the Jayhawks. Really well done, if that kind of thing is good for you.
Play of the Game: Klay’s Triple
At the end of the 3rd quarter, Thompson ended up open in the corner for a dagger 3 that may have been the back-breaker. The Spurs had closed to 8 points prior to that shot, but that put the lead back to 11, where it remained for much of the rest of the game. Thompson got open on a bit of a busted play. There was a strong closeout from one of the Spurs (I couldn’t tell who it was), but like he had all night, it was a swish.
Trending Up: Tim, Kawhi
About the only Spurs who seem to be carrying their weight right now are Timmy and Kawhi. I had high hopes during the 1Q, because it was clear that Tim was feeling better than he was Monday and Kawhi’s activity level, particularly on the glass, were tremendous.
Trending Down: Everyone Else, But Mostly Danny and Gary
Together, the two of them were 7-21 from the field, including 3-9 from three-land. That’s pretty terrible. Some of it is the GSW defense, who is closing out on shooters better than any team we’ve faced in months. But a number of these are just open shots that didn’t fall, mostly in the first half. Danny had a sequence during the 2Q apocalypse where he missed 3 3s in about 35 seconds of game time. All open, all close, but not quite down.
Stat of the Game: 38.6%
That’s the field goal percentage for the Warriors in the second half of Game 2, after posting a 52.2% in the first half. The Spurs were +10 after halftime and held Curry to 3-11 and Thompson to 2-8 shooting.
– This is going to sound completely counterintuitive, but I feel strangely better about this series after Game 2 than I did after Game 1. The Spurs had no business winning Game 1, obviously. But the second half of Game 2 was a different story. Pop matched small-for-small and played basically 6 players (the starters and Gary Neal), but kept either Tiago or Timmy on the floor all the time. The result: the defense was better, as evidenced by the FG% I referenced above. The offense wasn’t great (only 41% shooting) but it was a marked improvement on the first half. So, there’s two ways to read this: GSW got up big again and let down, which allowed the Spurs to have a good second half; or, Pop finally found something that was working, which was small defenders on Curry and Thompson and one big protecting the rim early, forcing passes to guys who the Spurs would prefer to shoot (Curry and Thompson took only 1/2 of the Warriors’ shots in that half). I’m going with the second explanation here. It only took 6 quarters but I think there’s a formula for success here and it involves a lot of Kawhi at the 4 and a lot less of Matt Bonner. I still think Pop starts the game with two bigs, but by mid-1Q, we’ll see the switch. So, to answer my question in the title, I think it was real
– I really don’t care who guards Curry (within reason, I mean. It has to be either Tony, Danny or Kawhi). After watching Game 2, I’m even more convinced that it’s less important who is trying to guard him and much, much more about who the rotating help defender is (and when he comes)
– Bonner’s strengths are as a small ball 4 when he can stretch the floor and still guard bigger players. In other words, this is not the series for him. I suspect he’ll see little playing time in Oakland.