OAKLAND — The Spurs played the absolute best they could, and still lost. The Warriors beat them playing the Spurs’ game. Beat them 116-101 in Game 2 of this first-round playoff series.
The Warriors took the Spurs best shot and prevailed.
The Warriors played slow, methodical offense, like the Spurs. The Warriors played tough, physical defense, like the Spurs.
But, the Warriors shot like the Warriors. They made 15 of 31 3-pointers (48.4 percent). And the Spurs shot like the Spurs. They made only 4 of 28 3s (14.3 percent). The Spurs were bad shooters and the Warriors were terrific shooters.
“That was the difference in the ball game,” Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich said. “The ball has to go in the basket. You’ve got to make shots. It has been like that the entire year on the road for us, for whatever reason, and it really showed up tonight.”
The Spurs have lost 10 road games in a row. They haven’t won on the road since February 25 when they beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 110-94.
The Warriors’ top scorers and best players Monday night were Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson. Thompson scored 31 points and made 12 of 20 from the field, while Durant scored 32 points and made 10 of 19 from the field.
“In the first half, (the Spurs) took us out of everything. And so, our default without running our offense is to go to KD (Durant), because he’s our best player. I give them credit for taking us out of offense. We got disjointed. But, we did a much better job in the second half. We only had four turnovers and the ball started to move.”
The Warriors stuck with their starting lineup from Game 1: Andre Iguodala, Thompson, Durant, Draymond Green and JaVale McGee.
The Spurs changed their starting lineup. They replaced Kyle Anderson with Rudy Gay at power forward. “(We need) more offense,” Popovich said before the game. “We always harp about defense, and (the Warriors) are hard to guard, but we need to score. And (Gay) is a gifted player. He can really score.”
Monday night, Gay had 12 points in 37 minutes.
The Spurs lineup change was effective early on. They drew two early fouls on Green, who went to the bench with 10:07 left in the first quarter.
But, the Spurs forgot to guard Iguodala. Or chose not to. Either way, he was open, and he hit three 3-pointers in the first five minutes. The Spurs used their first timeout after Iguodala’s third 3.
After the timeout, the Spurs immediately went on a 10-2 run, and took an 18-17 lead with 4:20 left in the first quarter. That’s when Kerr used his first timeout.
The Spurs’ whole plan was to disrupt the Warriors’ offense and frustrate them. And the Spurs succeeded early on. They contested shots, passes, everything. Played decidedly harder than they played in Game 1, when they lost almost immediately and seemed to coast for the final three quarters.
The Warriors, meanwhile, played much sloppier than they played in the first game of the series. They committed seven turnovers in the first quarter Monday night, and those turnovers led to eight points for the Spurs.