“Aaaaand Earth”: The Warriors come back to reality. Five Reasons the Warriors lost Game 3.
You can only levitate for so long before you must return to the ground. Even David Blaine can’t levitate forever.
The Golden State Warriors lost their home court advantage in Oracle Arena last night by way of a 102-92 loss to the San Antonio Spurs. The Warriors were slapped by the palm of reality after two games of out-of-this-world basketball. The Spurs were able to come into the Warriors’ barn and out play a seemingly lethargic Golden State team. Maybe the lack of intensity was a result of playing in front of the Warrior faithful eager to voraciously clap until shots were made. Maybe San Antonio’s coach, Greg Popavich, thwarted the Golden State attack with the deft use of his reserves. In the end, star player, Stephen Curry never got hot and the crowd never went ballistic as they had at the start of the game. How do I know? The decibel reading updates provided during the ESPN broadcast. Curry finished the game in obvious discomfort after tweaking his left (non-surgically repaired) ankle. We can only hope that Curry will be healed for Game 4. Serious questions about future injury must be asked and I hope that extreme caution is used in getting him ready. That said, I hope it just needs some extra tape and R.I.C.E.
Five Reasons the Warriors lost Game 3:
1. Warriors didn’t shoot “Warriors well”
The Warriors were pedestrian tonight shooting the ball. Yes, 39% is enough to win some playoff ball games, but not when you’re a team that lives by shooting like the Warriors. Granted, it didn’t help that the Spurs shot 50%. But to win in the playoffs, you have to do the things you do well…well. The Spurs were able to be more physical and make smarter plays. The 4 time champions outscored the Warriors by 10 points despite the fact they took 10 less shots. There were moments of light for the Warriors, but in the end they were few and far between. Big stat for me: Jack, Curry, Thompson combined 17/49 = 28%.
2. The Spurs Substitutions
Popavich reminded us that the Spurs are a deep team with bigs that can pass, defend the perimeter, and shoot the ball. The quick rotation of fresh legs saved his stars’ strength and kept the Warriors off balance. Despite a bright 3 minutes from David Lee, there was nothing coming form the W’s corner that could match the guile from San Antonio’s. The Spurs’ Boris Diaw effectively passed the ball and used his size to finish at the rim. Thiago Splitter provided necessary rebounding and size to force Warrior shot attempts. While Lee did out play Bonner, the small sample size was too small.
3. Warriors didn’t thrive in the lane
The Dubs attacked the basket with less effectiveness than the last 2 games. With the exception of the thunder dunk from Barnes that I had expected (see previous post), the finishing around the rim was sub-par. Precious misses from 2-3 feet took the air out of the team as they scrambled to stay in the game. The passing was there tonight, but a couple of assists that were not cashed in that would have helped the Curry stat line not to mention the Dub’s chances. (I have to wonder if any free agents are watching these games thinking; “Steph could be sending those no-look-left-handed assists my way.”) In games 1 and 2 the Warriors successfully knocked down open shots from passes sent after drives to the basket. Unfortunately, in Game 3 this was not a go-to play. They had the edge on the offense glass resulting in 10 more shots, but the could not connect. One bright spot were the lack of turnovers 11 which matched the amount committed by the Spurs. In the end, the Warriors had 1 less assist than the Spurs (21-20).
4. The Third Quarter thud
The second half began well for the Warriors with an immediate turnover followed by a dunk by Bogut off a sweet lob from Carl Landy to set the crowd alight. Then, Bogut rose up to block a shot off the glass to start a fast break ending in a banked hoop with a foul by Draymond Green. I’m sure even Draymond wasn’t calling bank on that one. But, the fire would dwindle. Green and Parker would hit threes before the Warriors went cold. The typical 3rd quarter scoring barrage never came to be as we have become accustomed. The Warriors got stuck at 65 points for far too long as the Spurs extended a lead.
5. Tony Parker
The Frenchman killed the Warriors. He was the difference. No doubt Popovich saw how tired the star was at the end of last game and utilized a 10 man rotation to keep his most important assets fresh. The minutes Parker gained from not playing tired were evident in his numbers tonight. He was quick in his crossover and shook the seemingly unshakable Klay Thompson like a dish rag. 25 points in the first half from Parker were a dagger wound to the stomach that the Warriors didn’t realize had been the fatal blow until the game was over.
In closing: The Warriors may be down 2-1 in the series, but history of April and May has taught me that this is s team that can take a punch. The Game they gave up last week certainly does sting (and stink) right now. At least the screaming lady wasn’t there. Stay up Dubs fans!
Maybe the Warriors should take a page from the Spurs and start flopping? The Spurs flop. We know this for a fact. What if you flopped in real life? For an example of #SocialFlopping: https://vine.co/v/b0JmrWe0e3n