Posted on March 9, 2018, by Travis Pulver
The San Antonio Spurs have not been playing at full-strength the entire season. But when things click for them they are still a very formidable team. So, heading into Thursday night’s game against the Spurs, the Golden State Warriors knew they would have to be on their game if they were going to win.
But then the unthinkable happened. Steph Curry went down with an ankle injury in the first quarter. But was Warriors head coach Steve Kerr worried?
“We still have three All-Stars when Steph goes down,” Kerr said after the game (ESPN). “We still have a lot of talent.”
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Once again, that talent pulled through for the Warriors. Kevin Durant led the way with 37 points and 11 rebounds and Draymond Green chipped in a triple-double (11 points, 12 rebounds, and ten assists) as Golden State overcame a late deficit to beat San Antonio 110-107.
The Spurs did make them work for it, though. Even though Curry went down early in the first, the Warriors were still able to take a 28-21 lead into the second quarter. But then San Antonio woke up, outplayed the Warriors, and took a 50-46 lead into halftime.
Both teams came out looking to take over the game in the third. But San Antonio played enough defense to hold the Warriors off. When the fourth quarter began, the Spurs held an 87-78 lead. Golden State battled back early in the fourth, but with 4:44 left to play, the Spurs held on to an eight-point lead, 101-93.
But then the Spurs did what they have become prone to doing in the fourth quarter and Kevin Durant what he often does. San Antonio’s offense disappeared when they needed it most while Durant led the Warriors on a 17-6 in the final minutes of the game to secure Golden State’s 51st win of the season.
“We have to do a better job of just getting it to everybody and making sure we’re sharp so that we don’t have dry possessions like that in the fourth quarter,” San Antonio’s Danny Green said after the game (ESPN).
San Antonio got a great night out of LaMarcus Aldridge (30 points and 17 rebounds). But he didn’t get much help. Five other players did score in double figures, but that group was led by Dejounte Murray with just 14 points.
Golden State embarks on a two-game road trip next with a stop in Portland to play the Trail Blazers Friday night. San Antonio will try to get back on the right side of the scoreboard when they take on the Oklahoma City Thunder Sunday night.
Golden State may have to start worrying more about health than what seed they are in the playoffs. Steph Curry, who has a history of ankle issues, will be missing the Warriors’ road trip after spraining his ankle Thursday night. Klay Thompson talked about feeling some soreness in his hip after the game.
Kevin Duran is one of the best in the business, but he’s been known to have off nights on occasion. To keep those ‘off nights’ from hurting them in the postseason, they need to forget about being the No. 1 seed. Having Steph Curry and Klay Thompson on the court is more important than another home playoff game.
As for San Antonio, Kawhi Leonard can’t come back soon enough. Thursday night’s game marks the sixth loss where the Spurs had a fourth-quarter lead but couldn’t finish the game off. Aldridge is not good enough to carry a team; he’s a No. 2 guy. The aging stars on the roster don’t have enough game to do it either (when they are healthy enough to play).
It doesn’t appear like they are going to keep the 50+ win streak alive, but at this point, they just want to make sure they make the playoffs.