So much for the showdown.
What was supposed to be a slugfest between the league’s two top teams ended up being a one-sided affair.
The top seeded Golden State Warriors and Steph Curry ran the San Antonio Spurs out of the arena Monday night, defeating the Spurs 120-90 in Oakland behind Curry’s 37 points (6-9 3pt FG) and 5 steals in only 3 quarters, the most by any Spurs’ opponent this season.
Prior to the match-up, Spurs’ coach Greg Popovich announced that veteran star-forward, Tim Duncan, would be sitting out Monday’s match up that featured two teams that held a combined record of 78-10, the highest combined winning percentage in NBA history by opponents meeting at least 40 games into the season.
The Spurs came into Oracle Arena Monday night looking for their 13th straight win but looked anything but a team that is known for their championship pedigree and fundamentally sound game. San Antonio had eight turnovers in the first quarter and 26 for the entire game. That’s the most they’ve committed all year and a stat that pretty much summed up their play Monday night in Oakland: sloppy.
San Antonio stood no chance against Curry and the Warriors Monday night, no matter who dressed to play. Curry had defenders, including reigning Defensive Player of the Year Kawhi Leonard, on skates; twisting and turning them left and right and finishing them off with jumpers only Steph Curry can throw up and hit.
The Warriors led by as many as 33 points in the game and were shooting 63.6 percent at the end of the first half. According to ESPN, no team has shot better than 55.6 percent in the first half all season against the Spurs, a team ranked first in team defense.
Warriors coach, Steve Kerr, a former Spurs player that was a part of two of their championships under coach Popovich attested to the uncanny performance by the Spurs, stating in the post game conference that “this team (Spurs) will probably never play like this again this season” and is well aware that they will keep this game in mind when they face off again in San Antonio in March.
Despite sitting Duncan, Popovich was caught on record stating the significance of tonight’s game and the anticipation his team had to play the 1st place Warriors.
“Why not? It’s the two teams with the best record, playing it up would seem to be logical to me,” he said. “We feel different going against a team that’s the best team in the league. I get butterflies in my gut and excited about the game, and all that sort of thing. I don’t feel like that every night.”
But despite the loss, the Spurs still sit only three games behind the Golden State Warriors, who started the regular-season 24-0 (an NBA record).
With the win Monday night, the Warriors continue their 39-game home win streak that stretches back to last season and ranks as the 3rd longest streak in NBA history.
They now sit at 41-4 atop the western conference and hold a legitimate shot at topping the 1996 Chicago Bulls (72-10) for the best regular season record in NBA history.
It has been an impressive week for these Warriors. Since last Monday, they’ve gone on to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers by 34, the Chicago Bulls by 31, and now the Spurs by 30. All three opponents have been mentioned as legitimate contenders come playoffs, but the way the Warriors and Curry have been playing as of late, the only real threat to their run at a back-to-back championship is an injury to one of their star players.
(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)