The Golden State Warriors extended their undefeated postseason streak to ten games Tuesday night when they defeated the San Antonio Spurs by a score of 136-100. Stephen Curry led all scorers with 29 points and seven assists, while shooting 8-13 from the floor including an impressive 6-9 from beyond the arc. Unlike Game 1, the Spurs showed no fight against the Warriors in this game and suffered one of their largest playoff blowouts in recent memory. Now facing a 2-0 deficit, the San Antonio Spurs head home where they will face the Warriors in Game 3 on Saturday night. Without MVP candidate Kawhi Leonard, the Spurs are in danger of becoming the next victim of the Golden State Warriors.
The Golden State Warriors look ready to return to the NBA Finals for the third straight year, while the San Antonio Spurs are on the verge of missing the finals for the third straight year. The Spurs have become accustomed to owning the Western Conference come postseason play, but without superstars Tony Parker and Kawhi Leonard, they seem like shells of their former selves. After losing Game 1, Manu Ginobili told reporters he would rather lose by 20 points than lose the close game they played on Sunday. After losing both ways in the first two games of the series, Ginobili must now understand that the Spurs played much better in Game 1 of this series even if it ended in a loss.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich showed some well-deserved disappointment in his team’s performance in last night’s loss during his postgame news conference with the media. Sam Amick of USA Today quoted Popovich in his story on last night’s game.
“You have to believe. I don’t think as a group they really did, which means probably a little bit feeling sorry for themselves psychologically, subconsciously, whatever psycho-babble word you want to use. That’s the way I process it. I don’t think they started the game with a belief. And it showed in the lack of edge, intensity, grunts, all that sort of thing. That was disappointing. When you’re playing a team that’s as good as Golden State, you’re going to get embarrassed if that’s the way you come out, and we did, so I think that’s the deal, more than anything.”
Popovich has never been afraid to speak honestly with the media and questioning his team’s intensity and belief they can win shows that. Hopefully, some of his players will hear his comments and use it as ammunition to come out strong in Game 3 in front of the home crowd. One player specifically who saved his worst performance of the postseason for Game 2 against the Warriors is Lamarcus Aldridge. Aldridge put up just eight points in 27 minutes of work while shooting just 4-11 from the floor. With the money he is being paid to be a superstar on this team, there is no excuse to put up that type of performance against the best team in the NBA during the regular season.
Aldridge admitted to having a hands-off off style of play during Game 2, but realized afterward that he needs to be his normal aggressive self if the team is to have any shot of coming back during this series. Michael C. Wright of ESPN wrote about the Spurs troubles in Game 2, and quoted Aldridge on his poor performance.
Not the best night for the Spurs. pic.twitter.com/qunpYxexfX— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) May 17, 2017
“I thought I would come out and try to move the ball. But I ended up taking myself out of rhythm and out of the flow of the game. But I’ll be better. I just wanted to try to take advantage of the digging on me and doubling in the baseline and doubling from the middle too. At times there were three guys there. But I took myself out of it. It won’t happen again.”
Likely without Leonard for Game 3 in San Antonio, Popovich and the Spurs must find another way to win. No one has figured out the blue print to stop the juggernaut that is the Golden State Warriors in this year’s playoffs, but if there was one man to do it, it would be future Hall of Fame Greg Popovich.
[Featured Image by Pool/Getty Images]