This one was over early.
Ahead by 17 after one quarter and 28 at the half, the Golden State Warriors left no doubt as they romped past the demoralized San Antonio Spurs 136-100 on Tuesday night to take a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference Finals.
The Warriors treated their fans at Oracle Arena in Oakland to a dominant performance that pushed their postseason record to 10-0 this spring.
The Spurs played without All-Star forward Kawhi Leonard, who reinjured his sprained left ankle in Golden State’s 113-111 victory in the series opener Sunday. San Antonio led by 23 when Leonard left the game for good with 7:53 left in the third quarter.
Game 3 is at 8 p.m. Saturday at the AT&T Center.
“Call like it is,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “We didn’t come to play. We felt sorry for ourselves. We need to get slapped and come back and play Game 3 and see who we are. That’s what I’m anxious for.”
Popovich said before Tuesday night’s game that he would probably list Leonard as questionable for Game 3.
Except for forward Jonathon Simmons, who started for Leonard and had a team-high 22 points, the Silver and Black looked hung over from the disappointing loss on Sunday. They were passive and showed little fire from the opening tipoff.
“It’s not what I expected,” Popovich said. “I’m disappointed. The only way I can process it is I think it’s not about O’s and X’s or rebounds or turnovers, or anything like that. I think we maybe felt it too much, Kawhi being gone. As I watched, I don’t think they believed. You have to believe.
“I don’t think as a group they really [believed they could win], which means probably a little bit feeling sorry for themselves, psychologically, subconscious or whatever psychobabble word you want to use. I don’t think they started the game with the belief, and it showed in the lack of edge, intensity, grunt – all that sort of thing. That was disappointing.”
Given the Spurs’ lack of grit and the caliber of their opponent, the blowout shouldn’t have surprised anybody.
“When you’re playing a team that’s as good as Golden State, you’re going to get embarrassed if that’s the way you come out,” Popovich said. “And we did. I think as a group they just let themselves down. We’ll put it away and go get a meal. Game 3, I expect to see a different team.”
Simmons talked about the Spurs' lackluster performance after the game.
"It was clear to see that as a team we didn't come out like we wanted the game, and they just protected home floor," he said.
Stephen Curry led the Warriors with 29 points, hitting 8 of 13 shots, including 6 of 9 from the 3-point line. Golden State nailed 18 of 37 shots from the 3-point line. Curry also had seven rebounds, seven assists and three steals.
Sparked by Curry’s four 3-pointers, the Warriors led 33-16 after one quarter and 72-44 at halftime. Golden State were up by 31 (106-75) heading into the 4th quarter.
Curry was one of seven Warriors to score in double figures. Patrick McGaw led the bench with 18 points and Kevin Durant finished with 16 on 6-of-10 shooting. The others in double digits were Draymond Green (13), Klay Thompson (11), Ian Clark (10) and Shaun Livingston (10).
Center Zaza Pachulia sustained a right heel contusion and finished with only four points, one rebound, and two assists in six minutes. Pachulia found himself in a firestorm of controversy Sunday after TV replays showed him stepping on Leonard’s foot and effectively knocking him out of the series opener and, eventually, Game 2.
Golden State shot 56.2 percent overall (50/89) and 48.6 percent (18-37) from beyond the arc. The Warriors were so dominant that they had more assists (39) than the Spurs had field goals (37).
Popovich singled out Simmons for his play.
“Jon was one of the very few who came to play,” Popovich said. “I thought Jon was great at both ends of the floor. He was intense and he played to win.”
With Leonard out, the Spurs needed a big game from power forward LaMarcus Aldridge. They didn’t get it.
Looking tentative throughout most of the game, Aldridge finished with only eight points on 4-of-11 shooting and four rebounds. He also had three turnovers.
“LaMarcus has got to score for us,” Popovich said. “He can’t be timid. He turned down shots in the first quarter. He can’t do it. He’s got to score. Scoring’s got to come from someplace. I think he’s got a major responsibility in Game 3 to come out and to get something done, whether it’s for himself or teammates. If [defenders] come after him, that kind of thing, to find somebody and not turn it over, to get us good shots and take shots when they’re open.”
Game 4 is also at the AT&T Center, tipping off at 8 p.m. on Monday.
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