The Golden State Warriors’ series with the San Antonio Spurs was a lot closer than the 4-2 end score suggests, especially considering two of the games went to overtime and one of those games went to double-overtime, and the several of the games were one to two possession games as the clock winded down.
So how did the Spurs ultimately prevail?
They Didn’t Close Out Games
This really only applies to the Game 1 loss in this series, but it revealed also that while youth gave the Warriors, it also came with inexperience, not just with the players, but with sophomore coach Mark Jackson as well.
Tony Parker caught fire in the fourth quarter, and was constantly attacking the paint. Meanwhile, the Warriors’ best interior defender, Andrew Bogut, was sitting on the bench. Golden State also managed to turn over the ball four times in the fourth quarter, which gave the Spurs four easy points. They managed to tie the game up in the fourth quarter thanks to a 26-point binge.
In a extremely close series like this one, preventable losses are compounded exponentially. It is impossible to speculate on what would have happened if the Warriors closed out Game 1, but there are more positive scenarios with the Warriors taking a game off the Spurs in Game 1 than losing as they did.
The Splash Brothers, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, who had their best performances in Games 1 and 2, respectively, shot 33.9 percent and 32.5 percent, respectively, in their last three losses.Their offensive troubles didn’t stop them from shooting however. Between the two of them, they made 16 of their 96 attempts.
The Spurs’ defense must be credited, as Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard proved themselves as great perimeter defenders, but one must also wonder why they kept taking shots when the Spurs best defenders were on them, when someone like Harrison Barnes had a mismatch against Tony Parker.
After the Game 1 loss, in each of the Warriors’ losses, the Spurs made either more or the same amount of shots on less attempts. In Games 3, 5 and 6, the Spurs shoot an average of 7.6 percent better from the field, and in Game 5 specifically, the Spurs shot a better three-point percentage, 47.6 percent on 21 attempts, than the Warriors shot from the field.
The Spurs seemingly had no pressure on the perimeter, as they averaged 38 percent on 60 attempts from beyond the arc in their last three victories compared to the Warriors 29.4 percent on 51 attempts.