Spurs-Warriors: The Western Conference showdown turned into a meaningless bow-down.
In possibly one of the most anticipated match-ups of the NBA regular season outside of the Christmas Day matchup between the Cavaliers and Warriors, the Golden State Warriors blew out the San Antonio Spurs, who were fresh off a 13-game winning streak.
The Duncan-less Spurs were no match for the team currently with the best record in the NBA. Behind 37 points from Steph Curry, the Spurs were routed by 30. Perhaps the most impressive two points of those 37 were these.
Kawhi Leonard is the best perimeter defender in the NBA, and it isn’t particularly close. Steph Curry put him on skates. This was possibly the most embarrassing thing Kawhi Leonard has ever gone through in his NBA career (oh, wait). This is just another feather in Curry’s cap in this simply unreal 2016 campaign. But let’s not overreact to this blowout.
For one, the Spurs were without Tim Duncan. He may be old, and he may have both a game where he didn’t score and where he didn’t grab a rebound, but ol’ Timmy Diesel still gets it done. Additionally, Lamarcus Aldridge won’t go 2-9 with five points very often. The Spurs shooting percentages (FG, 3FG, FT) were 41-35-74, while the Warriors shot a blistering 51-42-84. This was a great performance by the Warriors and they were well-deserving of the win — don’t get me wrong. I’m just saying this smells a little funky. Come playoff time, I wouldn’t expect a game like this one.
Gregg Popovich is the best coach in the NBA. And it isn’t particularly close. He is the longest-tenured coach in professional sports, has five titles to his name and is basically a guarantee to get 50 or more wins every year. As a matter of fact, since 1998, the only time the Spurs haven’t won 50 or more games was during a lockout shortened season in 1999 in which they went 37-13, which is the equivalent of going 60-22 in an 82-game schedule. My point is that with Pop, the Spurs always have a chance, and that shouldn’t be discounted from one regular-season game.
The playoffs are also a completely different animal. It’s when you bring out every trick in the book and force the other team to make adjustments as the series goes along.
The Spurs didn’t do anything close to this. Case in point, Boban Marjonovic, Rasual Butler and Ray McCallum all had a decent amount of minutes while the only starters who played 20+ were Aldridge with 25, Kawhi Leonard with 25 and Danny Green with 22. Anyone who takes this game with a grain of salt simply doesn’t understand the difference between the regular season and playoffs and how the Spurs operate. This being said, I cannot wait for a Warriors-Spurs series come playoff time, and this game did nothing to change that notion.
Collegian NBA Blogger John Scriffiny can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JScriff.