Tonight is Game 3 of what has turned out to be a GREAT series! San Antonio had the home court advantage to start the series, Golden State took that away by winning Game 2. Oracle Arena is where tonight’s game will be played, can the Warriors capitalize on their new found home court advantage?
This series could possibly be 2-0 in favor of Golden State, if it wasn’t for a crucial defensive breakdown in Game 1 the Warriors would feel even better heading into tonight’s game. The Warriors could have been feeling down after losing a very tightly contested first game, instead they showed their resiliency by taking it to the Spurs in Game 2. Mark Jackson has team focused and ready to compete, that is clearly evident in their pride on the defensive end. In the Series Preview there were several keys laid out on both the offensive and defensive end for the Warrirors, through two games they have done a pretty good job achieving those goals. The keys on the defensive end were
- Rebound, Rebound, Rebound
- Close out on Shooters
- Protect the rim
- Limit Tony Parker’s forays into the Paint
- Limit Spurs to one shot per offensive possession
Golden State has out-rebounded the Spurs in the first two games of this series, they won the rebound margin by 10 in Game 1 (55-45) and by two in Game 2(50-48). They have also done a great job closing out on shooters and protecting the rim. San Antonio shot just 43.8% from the floor in Game 1, if it weren’t for their hot shooting from deep (50%) the Spurs may have lost that game. The Warriors rachedted up the defensive pressure even more in Game 2, the held San Antonio to 39.3% from the floor and a measley 23.8% from beyond the arch. While Golden State’s offense has been making the headlines, their defense has been equally impressive. The Spurs have done a decent job on the offensive glass and affecting Tony Parker. Parker is just 18 of 43 from the floor in this series, heading into the series Parker was shooting close to 50%. For the Warriors to be successful, they had to slow down Parker. Rookie Harrison Barnes has drew the assignment and done a great job forcing Parker into tough shots, Draymond Green(Rookie) has also done a great job defending in one-on-one situations as well. Andrew Bogut has been a force in this Series, Bogut had 15 rebounds in Game 1 and 11 rebounds in Game 2. The Warriors went to San Antonio and accomplished their goal, the won a game. To win this series Golden State will need to replicate it’s success on the defensive end three more times to advance to the next round.
Offensively, there isn’t much to say. The Warriors have two “snipers” in their backcourt, both Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson can really shoot the ball. Game 1 featured Curry going off for 44 points, Thompson got into foul trouble which limited his impact offensively. Thompson had 19 points in Game 1, but missed on all three of his attempts from beyond the arch. Klay made up for lost time by shooting the cover off the ball in Game 2, he connected on seven of eight attempts from deep in the first half! Thompson finished the game with 34 points on 13 of 26 shooting, including eight of nine from deep. Not to mention his 14 rebounds, together Thompson and Curry scored 56 points in Game 2. The Spurs are having trouble slowing down the Golden State Duo, they both bring something different to the table. Curry is a marksman that has the rare ability of shooting off the bounce equally as well as off the catch. Thompson is a bit more direct in his approach, he’s either spotting up or putting the ball on the floor to attack the rim. Harrison Barnes was mentioned earlier when discussing the success Golden State had had on the defensive end, he’s been just as effective on the offensive end as well. Barnes does a great job cutting or slashing to the basket while also knocking down the open jump shot. Harrison helped ease the absence of David Lee by joining the committee on the glass, he pulled down 12 rebounds in Game 1. While Curry and Thompson are drawing the lion’s share of attention from the Spurs Defense, Barnes ability to make the Spurs pay is truly helping the Warriors. Looking back at the keys from the Series Preview, Golden State has checked off each and every one. A key that can not be overlooked: setting great screens. The Warriors have done an excellent job setting screens to free up their marksmen in Curry and Thompson, both of which are extremely proficient shooting off of screens.
Golden State must take advantage of playing Games 3 and 4 at home, they can’t allow the Spurs to get on track. San Antonio will not lay down and quit, they play better on the road than they do at home. The Warriors just have to keep doing what they’re doing, maybe even step it up a notch. There is nothing to worry about on the offensive end, but if they’re able to continue their job on the glass and on the defensive end they certainly increase their chances of advancing past the Spurs.
Written By Wilson Tarpeh Jr.