As the old saying goes: It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.
It was a tale of two halves for the San Antonio Spurs but it would be the second half that would have dire results, putting the Silver and Black in a 0-2 hole as the series shifts back to San Antonio.
Despite a solid night from LaMarcus Aldridge, the Spurs fell 116-101 to the Golden State Warriors in Game 2 of their Western Conference first-round series at Oracle Arena on Monday night.
“I was pleased with the team tonight,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “They executed wonderfully and I was happy with their aggressiveness. It just comes down to making shots. It has been like that the entire year on the road for us for whatever reason. And that made it very difficult.”
San Antonio began Game 2 much better than they played in the series opener on Saturday. The Spurs led 25-23 after the first quarter and were up six points at the break after shooting well in the first two quarters.
The third quarter was a different story as Golden State took advantage of three straight turnovers and went on a 9-0 run to start the second half. The Warriors outscored the Spurs 33-22 in the period and pushed their lead to as many as 19 in the fourth quarter.
The result is the silver and black are now down 0-2 as the series heads back to Texas. Aldridge knows the stakes and if anyone knows the Spurs, they are not going to give up.
“We’re not going to roll over,” he said. “We’re going to take the mentality we had tonight and go home with that same intensity. Hopefully, we’ll shoot the ball better from the three and guys will be feeling better. We’ve got to take the same intensity home with us.”
Here is what went good and bad for the Spurs, as well as three standout players: Aldridge, Patty Mills, and Rudy Gay.
- The Spurs had a much better start to the game and played smart basketball in the first half. Their shot selection was good as was their control of the ball, committing just two turnovers in the first 24 minutes.
- LaMarcus Aldridge was a monster in the paint and rebounded from a poor shooting performance in Game 1.
- Patty Mills had a solid night. More on that in a moment.
- Pop made an adjustment from Game 1, putting Rudy Gay into the starting lineup in place of Kyle Anderson.
- As good as the first half was for San Antonio, the second was completely the opposite. The Spurs were outscored 69-48 in the second half and committed seven turnovers.
- Once again, the Spurs’ defense had no answer for Klay Thompson or Kevin Durant, who combined for 63 of the Warriors’ 116 points. Thompson finished with 31 points, while Durant added 32.
- One of the key ingredients to beating the Warriors is shooting well from three-point range and that did not happen on Monday. San Antonio shot just 14 percent (4-for-28) to Golden State’s 48 percent (15-for-31).
- Danny Green and Bryn Forbes went scoreless, shooting a combined 0-for-6 from the field.
- The Warriors outrebounded the Spurs 39-35 for the game.
Three Standout Players:
The Spurs forward did what he has done all season and tried his best to lift his team to a win over the offensively superior defending champions. However, as he pointed out a lack of offensive firepower from the Spurs made it difficult.
Aldridge finished with a game-high 34 points on 11-for-21 shooting, going along with 12 rebounds. Unlike Game 1, he had no trouble handling Warriors big men JaVale McGee or David West. He scored from the outside and inside, getting aggressive and drawing fouls. At one point, Golden State coach Steve Kerr sent a double team to Aldridge, leaving him to pass the ball to an open Patty Mills for a missed shot.
“It has been tough offensively for us,” Aldridge said. “Having a lack of offense out there at times, teams tried to double me and we try to switch things up. I think it has been tough to maximize the talent we have offensively.”
Popovich inserted Rudy Gay into the starting lineup for more of an offensive boost and it worked, to say the least.
Gay finished with 12 points on 50 percent shooting and he added five rebounds and two assists to his stat line. Inserting Rudy into the starting five provided a help offensively to Aldridge. Gay hit a difficult floater over the outstretched arms of McGee and played well on the defensive end in the first half.
One big lift in the scoring department came from Patty Mills, who has had one interesting season since re-signing a contract worth $48 million over the summer.
Mills finished with 21 points on 7-of-16 shooting from the field. As noted earlier in this post, San Antonio had just four 3-pointers all game. The person who hit the most? Mills. He finished 3-for-9 from beyond the arc on Monday night. Pop and the Spurs will hope that the Aussie guard can continue his hot shooting in a must-win Game 3 for the Silver and Black.
The Spurs trail the best-of-seven series 0-2 and will return to the court on Thursday when they host the Warriors in Game 3 of their first-round series at 8:30 p.m. CDT at the AT&T Center.