The Golden State Warriors triumphed over the San Antonio Spurs in a thrilling overtime effort, tying the series at 2-2 as it returns to San Antonio for Game 5.
After a disappointing first half, the Warriors improved their field goal percentage by a whopping 14.2 percent, from 30 percent to 44.2 percent, and that, combined with a spectacular defensive effort, helped them close the deficit and take the game to overtime.
Jarrett Jack, Stephen Curry, and Harrison Barnes combined for a massive 72 points, outscoring the entire Spurs team combined, save for veteran guard Manu Ginóbili, with Harrison Barnes leading the team in scoring with 26 points.
The final box score of 97-87 does not do justice to the Warriors’ play in Game 4, so let’s take a closer look at how each player impacted this game.
Point Guard: Stephen Curry
Stephen Curry saw limited minutes yesterday, only playing 39 minutes out of a potential 53. Perhaps the Warriors were the better for it. Curry exploded onto the court early, making two quick threes, but not really doing much else for the rest of the half. The second half tells a different story, though, as he scored 13 points on 50.0 percent field goal and three- point percentage, with three of his four attempts coming from beyond the arc.
Curry finished the night with 22 points on 46.7 percent field goal percentage and 50.0 percent from downtown in only 39 minutes of playing time. Compare that to Game 3 where he scored 16 points in 42 minutes.
After playing 138 minutes in the first three games, and spraining his ankle in Game 3, perhaps Mark Jackson will continue to limit his starting point guard’s minutes and hopefully continue to see the same efficient production.
Overall Grade: A
Shooting Guard: Klay Thompson
After his incredible performance in Game 2, Klay Thompson has been in a rut. Since his 34-point game, he has shot an abysmal 36.4 from the field, making only 12 of his 33 attempts, and of those, only 3 of his 7 three-point attempts.
Sunday, Klay had an especially tough game as he was limited to only 10 points in 51 minutes of play. Hopefully going forward, the sophomore swingman will be able to find his shot again and regain a little bit of his confidence, but for now, most of his offensive slack has been picked up by Harrison Barnes and Jarret Jack.
Overall Grade: C+
Small Forward: Harrison Barnes
The first thing you notice about Harrison Barnes stat sheet yesterday is that he attempted the same amount of shots as he had points, 26. The second thing you notice is that he only made 9 of those 26 attempts, which means he shot a horrible 34.6 percent from the field. You would have also noticed that the rookie racked up a neat double-double with ten boards, five of them offensive, and that he was the leading scorer for the game with 26 points.
What you wouldn’t notice by just looking through the box score was Barnes’ presence of mind and composure in yesterday’s game. After missing all five of his attempts in the second quarter, the University of North Carolina product was not phased, and he continued to shoot the ball, which showed as he added 16 points to his ten after his disappointing first half.
Barnes clearly needs to work on his offensive efficiency, but the real takeaway from Game 4 is his perseverance and grit. He shot an impressive 7-for-7 from the charity stripe today, which was key in the Warriors comeback and ultimately proved how even as a rookie and the third scoring option, Harrison Barnes has the potential to become a truly dominant player.
Overall Grade: A
Power Forward: Carl Landry
Carl Landry played the least in Game 4 out of any of the starters, logging in only 23 minutes, and early foul trouble kept him from impacting the game much, finishing with only six points and five rebounds. Although his shot was off, shooting just 2-for-9 from the field, Landry proved he could distribute the ball and had four assists.
The power forward position is probably the most interchangeable of the Warriors positions, as Mark Jackson has played Draymond Green, Festus Ezeli, Harrison Barnes, and Landry at the four, with the last three games each having a different starting power forward. Yesterday, Landry was given the starting position and he clearly proved that he had areas he could improve on (shooting the ball) but he also demonstrated that with limited minutes, he could crash the glass and distribute the ball.
Overall Grade: B-
Center: Andrew Bogut
The Australian center currently leads the postseason teams in rebounds per game and yesterdayt was a reason why. Although early foul trouble, including a technical foul in the first quarter, limited his production pointwise, ending the night with just five points on 2-for-5 shooting, Bogut racked up a colossal 18 boards, with five of them being offensive rebounds. He only logged 28 minutes in Game 4, but he has proven himself to be a strong defensive presence and someone who can instantly energize the defense by crashing the glass and fighting for the rebound.
Bogut’s game yesterday displayed that he has still not been able to avoid early fouls as he quickly racked up three in just the first quarter and this inability to defend without fouling could very easily hurt the Warriors going forward, but he has shown that even with limited minutes, he can provide a great defensive presence in the post.
Overall Grade: B
Sixth Man: Jarrett Jack
Jarrett Jack has been engaged in a love/hate relationship with a lot of Warriors fans, myself included. He is criticized with turning over the ball a lot, taking too many low percentage shots, and relying on isolation plays too much. Well, after yesterday’s performance, those criticisms have been silenced, at least till the next game.
Jack ratcheted up his game to a whole new level, scoring 24 points on 9-of-16 shooting, even making his one attempt from beyond the arc, with half of his points coming from the fourth quarter and overtime. He was essential in tieing the game up in the fourth and then closing out in overtime, and all of this production occurred in only 37 minutes of playtime. He committed only two turnovers the entire game and also secured a loose ball on a crucial possession for the Warriors.
Jarrett Jack’s clutch play in Game 4 demonstrated why he was so close to winning the Sixth Man award. On a night where Stephen Curry was playing on an injured ankle and seeing limited minutes, and Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes having trouble finding their shot, Jack came off the bench and provided instant offense for a team that was in a hole. He truly embodied the meaning of a Sixth Man in yesterday’s game.
Overall Grade: A+
With Carl Landry starting tonight, previous playoff starters Festus Ezeli and Draymond Green were called off the bench, with Andris Biedrins making a rare appearance after Andrew Bogut, Festus Ezeli, and Carl Landry ran into foul troubles. Biedrins’ three minutes were his first of this series and first playoff minutes since 2007.
The Warriors’ bench was uninspiring pointwise, scoring only 4 points on 1-for-8 shooting from the field, but while their offensive efforts were weak, they racked up 15 rebounds and accounted for the rebounding difference between the Spurs and the Warriors, 51 to 65. Just as impressive was that a third of these rebounds were offensive rebounds.
Though the bench clearly was not a powerhouse on the points side of things, their ability to crash the glass, especially on offense proved the key factor in keeping possessions from San Antonio and helped lessen the impact of turnovers, which the Warriors committed 18.
Overall Grade: B+