After showing the world they can flip the switch when the playoffs started Saturday with a 19-point victory, the Warriors needed a new challenge.
So, they decided to show the world that they can flip the switch mid-game — in the playoffs.
Golden State rode Klay Thompson and an energetic third quarter to put away the Spurs 116-101 for a 2-0 series lead Monday.
Thompson scored 24 of his 31 points in the second half and Kevin Durant piled on 32 of his own as the Warriors overcame a choppy, anemic start to the game.
Thompson said his mindset doesn’t change even when he’s lighting it up:
“It doesn’t whether I make five in a row or miss five in a row, I’m going to have to same mentality next time down the court. And that’s be aggressive and make a good play. That doesn’t mean just get a shot that means just making the right play, because that’s usually what gets you in rhythm, if you just make a play for a teammate or cut hard off the ball.”
Thompson shot 12-of-20 and 5-of-8 from 3 as he continued his sizzling start to the playoffs. He’s shooting 23-of-33 over his first two games, which couldn’t be a worse sign for the rest of the league, as last year Thompson shot just 39 percent over the whole playoffs yet the Warriors still breezed to a championship.
Photos by Scot Tucker/SFBay
Imagine what that same team can do with Thompson continuing to rain down every shot humanly possible.
Playoff Andre Iguodala was also in full effect, as he hit three first half 3’s and finished with 14 points and four 3’s. He hit more than two 3’s exactly one other time this season: March 25 vs. Utah, when he went 4-of-5.
When Iguodala hits two or more 3’s in a game, the Warriors are an absurd 76-17. In fact, Iguodala was the only Warriors player to hit a 3 in the first half until late in the second quarter when Thompson drained one from the corner — less than ideal for Golden State.
Draymond Green said it was very important for Iguodala to come out firing:
“For him to hit those first 3’s and kind of loosen their defense up, make them have to honor him more. The one thing we always say to Andre is shoot the ball, we trust his shot, we have confidence in him. And when he’s hitting those shots it does a lot for our offense.”
But it wasnât all roses, as LaMarcus Aldridge roasted every center on the Warriors roster. Aldridge went for 17 in the first half after scoring just 14 in Game 1, finishing with a game-high 34.
It was not JaVale McGee’s night, as he looked tight on offense, fumbling and turning the ball over, while being completely lost on defense. Despite that, Kerr stuck with him for much of the first half. It may have been as a holdover from Game 1 when he went for 15 points and smothered opponents on defense.
McGee repaid that trust in the second half though, as he came out with infinitely more energy and made an impact on both ends of the court.
Green thought he played Aldridge pretty well despite the point total:
“You can play that same defense on LaMarcus that he played on him the first game and he’s going to score. He’s a great offensive player and been that for years. You just try to make guys take some tough shots and I think JaVale made him take some tough ones. I think he also took a couple gambles that he didn’t necessarily take in the first game, but that happens throughout the course of the game.”
McGeeâs backup Kevon Looney wasn’t any better to start. As good as Looney looked to close the season, it just shows that the playoffs are a totally different atmosphere. Looney looked uncomfortable with the ball in his hands and was targeted at will in the pick-and-roll by the Spurs.
The Warriors also didn’t help matters by constantly turning the ball over, 11 times just in the first half, while the Spurs had just two.
Steve Kerr said the Spurs defense hampered the Warriors early:
“I thought in the first half they took us out of everything. And our default when we aren’t running our offense is to go to KD because he’s our best player. I give them credit for taking us out of our offense, we got disjointed there. But I thought we did a much job in the second half, we only had four turnovers, the ball started to move and I thought we just stayed with it.”
Against any other Spurs team in any other year, that would have been a recipe for a 20-point deficit and an early night for the starters.
But this is a different Spurs team, one lacking any consistent offensive threat outside of Aldridge and they couldn’t capitalize on the Warriors mistakes. And once the Warriors limited their blunders — just four second half turnovers — the Spurs had no shot at containing them.
After two opening victories at Oracle, the Warriors get a few days rest before making the trip to San Antonio for Game 3 Thursday.
David West left the game early in the fourth quarter after spraining his left ankle. While he didn’t return, he was available, so that’s a good sign for who has been the Warriors best big man. … With their win, the Warriors have now won nine consecutive Game 2’s, all of them coming at Oracle Arena.