The beginning of the Golden State Warriors second title defense is off to a start that is sure to bore anyone to death, similar to the way both teams are taking the first round. The 110-97 final score was a perfect indication of what happened in the game itself. Rudy Gay and Tony Parker tried to lead the San Antonio Spurs through a postseason home game wave but simply didn’t have enough juice to combat a Warriors team long on talent and longer on discipline as the playoffs get underway. Both teams are ready to go home. One embarking on their summer vacation and the other to rest up before gearing up for the powers of Anthony Davis. And all in all, Steve Kerr’s Warriors are slowly and surely maturing into those great Tim Duncan Spurs teams of yesteryear.
They turned the ball over just 10 times, assisted on 26 makes, shot over 50 percent from the field, and executed a defensive gameplan that accentuated every single flaw the Spurs are faced with in the absence of Kawhi Leonard and as their once-impenetrable shield starts to fall.
Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala both took turns leaving entire swaths of Spurs player wide open from everywhere on the floor. They jammed the paint the way they did against Tony Allen in 2015 and Andre Roberson in 2016. They forced Dejounte Murray off the floor, and embarrassed the likes of Kyle Anderson and Rudy Gay. Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker essentially passed the torch of the veteran superstar team to the Warriors in this series, unable to make a real impact despite some of the Warriors mistakes.
A younger Warriors team perhaps takes their foot off the gas pedal but this one has been through the best of times and the worst of times. They know a Game 3 win effectively ends the series and puts them in a place where they can rest guys for another week before the semifinals. With Stephen Curry starting to practice again, the time off allows them to recalibrate, reset the season, and perhaps even run out Game 1 against Anthony Davis and a red-hot New Orleans Pelicans at full strength. That is the best-case scenario and even though a little bit of a look forward, a necessary plan for a team that’s in their fourth run to the title and as ready for these moments than ever before.
Most of the time through those Spurs runs, no drama was the expected and best outcome. Led by Steph’s personality on and off the court, the Warriors have created a season without any on-court drama. And as the postseason gets underway, the life of the season has been sucked out way before it has even begun. The Warriors trudge onwards now, up 3-0 against the team they are successfully emulating. Be it Anthony Davis, James Harden, or LeBron James, the suspense level is threatening to end before it ever begins. And that’s how you become one of the greatest models of dominance ever.