Posted on March 20, 2018, by Travis Pulver
The San Antonio Spurs have not looked great this season. The Golden State Warriors, on the other hand, have been one of the best teams in the NBA. However, the dominant Warriors were not the ones the Spurs had to face Monday night. No, they faced a group that did not include Kevin Durant (ribs), Steph Curry (ankle), Klay Thompson (thumb), and lost Draymond Green early in the second quarter.
So—easy win for the Spurs, right? Not exactly.
San Antonio has struggled for much of the season. They did again to a certain degree once again Monday night, but luckily the Warriors struggled more.
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The struggle was real for the Warriors more so than the Spurs in the first quarter. After the first, the Spurs led by nine points, 30-21. But after a nice offensive explosion in the first, the Spurs offense went quiet for a couple of quarters. Luckily, Golden State’s didn’t wake up too much.
At the half, the Spurs were up 49-41. But after their offense disappeared in the third (12 points), the Warriors were able to take a 63-61 lead into the fourth.
However, while it didn’t look good for the Spurs, it was about to look a lot worse for the Warriors. San Antonio regained the lead in the early minutes of the fourth, but the game remained relatively close. That is until LaMarcus Aldridge decided to blow it up. He led the team on a 20-4 run in the fourth that effectively iced the game.
“We had some letdown, and those guys are smart,” Aldridge said after the game (mySA). “It felt good to get it going in the fourth quarter.”
A dunk by Warriors forward Kevon Looney with 24.8 seconds left closed out the scoring and made the final 89-75, Spurs.
The win improved the Spurs record to 41-30 on the season and gave them their first four-game win streak since December. They also moved them up to No. 5 seed in the West, a half-game in front of the Utah Jaz and Oklahoma City Thunder.
“One thing (during this streak) is we have played with a whole lot of heart and passion, and we haven’t been able to do that consistently throughout the season,” Spurs forward Patty Mills said after the game (mySA). “We’ve been playing with passion and hunger. We just have to sustain it.”
Aldridge led the way for San Antonio with 33 points and 12 rebounds. Of those points, 19 came in the fourth quarter and 17 during the 20-4 run. Patty Mills chipped in 12 points followed by Danny Green with 11.
Golden State’s ‘B’ team was led by Quinton Cook with 20 points followed by Looney who had 12 off the bench. Nick Young and Andre Iguodala each chipped in ten. While the Warriors typically make it rain from behind the three-point line, they were 3-19 against the Spurs.
The Warriors will not play again until Friday night when the Atlanta Hawks come to town. San Antonio will face a tougher test Wednesday night when they face the Washington Wizards
San Antonio still has a long way to go if they are going to become anything other than first-round fodder in the playoffs. Kawhi Leonard is expected to return any day now. With how the Spurs offense looked Monday night, they need his help.
With 11 regular season games left, the Spurs have to go 9-2 if they are going to reach the 50-win mark this season. For much of the year, it hasn’t looked good. But in recent days, they have played well or at least well enough to win.
But can they keep it up? It will not be easy with nine of their remaining games against teams in the playoffs or in contention or a spot.