April 15, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry (30) reacts after scoring a three point basket against the San Antonio Spurs during the third quarter at Oracle Arena. The Golden State Warriors defeated the San Antonio Spurs 116-106. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Warriors, Curry Handle Short-Handed Spurs

In their final home game of the season, the Golden State Warriors overcame an impressive effort by the depleted San Antonio Spurs, to, in combination with a Houston Rockets loss, retake the sixth seed with a 116-106 victory.

Spurred by Gary Neal and poor Warriors defense, San Antonio scored their way to a 57-54 halftime lead over Golden State.  Golden State rallied in the second half, outscoring San Antonio by 17 points in the first seven minutes of the fourth quarter to secure the team’s 46th victory of the season, a feat previously achieved only 12 times in franchise history.

Key Stretch

Though Stephen Curry entered, in the words of Bob Fitzgerald, “human torch mode,” towards the end of the fourth quarter, the Warriors opened their lead several possessions before.  They were clinging to a three-point lead, when at the 8:33 mark of the fourth quarter, Klay Thompson hit a midrange jumper off a Jarrett Jack-David Lee pick and roll.  The Warriors forced Nando De Colo into a missed jumper, then caught a break when DeJuan Blair missed a putback.  The next possession, Festus Ezeli, a 51.9 percent free throw shooter, was fouled after rolling to the rim, and made both free throws. A  Jack jumper followed another Warriors stop, and then the Curry shooting exhibition began.

Why the Warriors Won

Spurs’ Offensive Inconsistency:  Though they began the game hot, the Spurs reserve squad suffered through spurts of offensive inefficiency, the last of which they were unable to overcome.  In terms of usage percentage, without Duncan, Parker or Ginobli, the Spurs were missing their top three sources of offense. Though Neal, 10-of-15 and 4-of-5 from downtown for 25 points, attempted to compensate, the Spurs simply could not keep pace with the Warriors.

Offensive Contributions from Role Players:  While Curry and Thompson had dominant offensive outings, only one Warrior had a true-shooting percentage below 50 percent: Jarrett Jack, who still managed 12 assists. Efficient offensive contributions from Carl Landry, Festus Ezeli and David Lee helped to fill the gaps between Thompson and Curry’s scoring.

Thompson’s Offense:  Monday was one of Thompson’s more impressive offensive performances of the season.  Though he has had higher scoring outputs, Klay revealed a variety of offensive moves in isolation, out of the post and off his usual pin-down plays.  He was able to consistently take advantage of smaller defenders in Neal and Danny Green.  The mid-post game, a development only recently displayed, adds complexity to Thompson’s seemingly limited offensive game, and not only affected tonight’s result, but could be a key to future success.

Curry’s Shooting: Curry’s incredible shooting, one of the few near-constants of the Warriors this season, was on full display versus the Spurs. Curry’s shooting ability, combined with his quick release, forces defenses to constantly adjust to his presence, and tonight was no exception. his position on the opposite wing prevented San Antonio from fully extending their help on Lee rolls, Thompson post-ups and most strong-side action. Curry’s shooting did not only serve as a threat, but was on oft-used weapon in this game. Curry was 7-of-13 from beyond the arc en route to a 35-point outing.

Notes

  • Curry’s seven made three-pointers leave him within one of tying Ray Allen’s single-season record.
  • Though the Warriors put the game away late, two memorable highlights, a nifty Curry double-crossover and a Harrison Barnes dunk, occurred in the first quarter.
  •  This was mentioned above, but the Warriors’ use of Thompson in the post, often derived from a 1-2 pick and roll, is a wrinkle to the offense worth watching for in the playoffs.

Tags: Golden State Warriors San Antonio

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