NBA Playoffs 2018: Golden State Warriors vs San Antonio Spurs Game 2 - Match Preview
Here's looking at all the key facets of this exciting Western Conference clash.
The Golden State Warriors looked a lot more like the defending champions after a dominant 113-92 Game 1 win over the San Antonio Spurs. The Warriors, who came out with an unexpected starting lineup which included Andre Iguodala and JaVale McGee playing alongside their three All-Stars, ratcheted up their defensive intensity right from the tip.
They held the Spurs to just 40 percent shooting for the game and could never get a rhythm. On the other end, their big stars took care of the offense as expected. Klay Thompson was unstoppable as he went off for 27 points on 11-of-13 shooting.
On the other end, the Spurs could not cope with the Warriors’ length and intensity. Coach Gregg Popovich described them as “deer in headlights”, and it seemed like an accurate assessment of his team’s performance.
LaMarcus Aldridge, who has been so reliable all year long, was completely held in check by the relentless Golden State defensive pressure as he was limited to just 14 points on 5-of-12 shooting in 24 minutes.
He didn’t get much help, either, Apart from Rudy Gay (15 points off the bench) and Bryn Forbes (14 points, mostly in garbage time), no other Spur scored in double-digits.
Three keys to the game
Warriors defense – That was more like it from the champs. Steve Kerr threw a curveball by inserting Iguodala and McGee into the starting lineup, and they took the defense to another level.
Iggy was finally back to playing his trademark D while McGee’s length and activity unsettled Aldridge. Those two, coupled with the added intensity from reigning Defensive Player of the Year Draymond Green and the usual solidity of Thompson, completely stifled the Spurs.
If the Warriors come out with that same level of intensity, it’s hard to see San Antonio scoring the ball with much effectiveness in this series.
Spurs’ lineup adjustments – The Spurs don’t have many cards to play to counter the Warriors given the limitations of their roster, especially without Kawhi Leonard. However, starting Rudy Gay might be one of them.
Gay was one of the few Spurs players who actually looked effective offensively against Golden State and clearly offered up a lot more than Kyle Anderson. Starting Gay and hoping for a better start than what they made in Game 1 could be the Spurs’ best shot at getting back into the series.
Tony Parker – The Spurs obviously need more to find a way to score more points, and Parker will need to find a way to provide that.
The veteran point guard was awful in Game 1 as he finished with just two points on 1-of-8 shooting and was a team-worst minus-17 in just 13 minutes. If the Spurs hope to make things a lot more competitive in Game 2, Parker will need to put together a more productive performance off the Spurs bench.
Matchup to watch
LaMarcus Aldridge vs JaVale McGee – It was indicative of the Warriors’ utter Game 1 domination of San Antonio that McGee pretty comfortably outplayed Aldridge. The Spurs’ All-Star big man had another one of his underwhelming playoff performances as he was smothered by McGee and the Golden State D as a whole.
The Spurs will be desperate for their star to get going and come closer to the Aldridge who admirably carried this team all year in Leonard’s absence. As for the Warriors, they will hope McGee just continues what he did in Game 1 and be a nuisance to LMA and the entire Spurs team.
Spurs probable starters
PG – Dejounte Murray
SG – Patty Mills
SF – Danny Green
PF – Rudy Gay
C – LaMarcus Aldridge
Warriors probable Starters
PG – Andre Iguodala
SG – Klay Thompson
SF – Kevin Durant
PF – Draymond Green
C – JaVale McGee
Golden State Warriors vs San Antonio Spurs at Oracle Arena
Date and time: ET - 16 April 2018 10:30 PM; IST - 17 April 2018, 8:00 AM