The NBA Western Conference Finals opened with some hope the San Antonio Spurs could up the ante for the Golden State Warriors. San Antonio jumped ahead in the score in Game 1, leading by as much as 20 points. Then Kawhi Leonard twisted his ankle and things went downhill fast. Stephen Curry spearheaded a comeback that ended in a 113-111 Golden State victory and gave a glimpse of what could be expected.
NBA sports lines by sites like BetPhoenix had San Antonio as big 16-point underdogs in Game 2 with good reason. It was a lopsided game dominated by the Warriors that made clear that without Leonard, the Spurs don’t really have anyone to contend with players like Curry or Kevin Durant.
The manner in which the Warriors took apart San Antonio was cold and precise – downing threes, dominating in the paint with ease, and clamping down on defense – to keep the Spurs at just 37 percent from the field while forcing 19 turnovers.
Even worse for the Spurs is that Curry is playing at his MVP level of last season. Curry scored 29 points on 8-of-13 shooting, tallying six of the Warriors’ 18 threes in Game 2. He is now averaging 29.0 points on 51 percent shooting from the field.
Meanwhile, Durant added only 16 points and Klay Thompson only 11, but their contribution wasn’t really needed much with the game practically being over as soon as halftime.
Game 3 heads over to San Antonio where it might be a greater challenge for the Warriors. However, the Spurs will have to tighten the ship and double down on defense if they’re to have a shot at winning.
Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich will have to figure out quickly how to get players like LaMarcus Aldridge to start performing well. With Tony Parker and Leonard out, the onus is on Aldridge to carry the offense, but it’s something that’s not happening in his Game 2 performance is any indicator. The big man seemed hesitant and only managed eight points on 4-of-11 shooting with just four rebounds.
It’s hard to think San Antonio has any chance of winning a game in this series with Aldridge putting up those type of numbers. And, with Leonard still questionable to play in Game 3, it’s even more important that the Spurs get their money’s worth from Aldridge. And, even if players such as Jonathon Simmons are stepping up, others like Pau Gasol and Patty Mills are not. The former only added five points in Game 2 while the latter chipped in with eight.
The Spurs are 7-3 SU and 5-5 ATS in their last 10 at home against Golden State, but the Warriors are playing like a well-oiled machine that’s practically impossible to slow down and lock up.
Can the Spurs turn things around in Game 3? They may, but at this point it’s unlikely and this series may be already over.