Originally posted on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 5/13/13
The Golden State Warriors have well exceeded our expectations for them this season.  That may be good enough for us but it isn’t for them.  They are playing to win because they are no longer a laughing stock of this league.  The Warriors just keep pushing it and it is wearing down a veteran San Antonio Spurs team.  This series is all even after four games. The Spurs came into Oracle Arena with a plan to slow down Stephen Curry.  It is usually Kawhi Leonard that guards him but help is quick to pick up Curry if he penetrates or comes off a screen.  San Antonio has forced other players like Harrison Barnes to beat them from the outside.  San Antonio came into Golden State intending to do whatever it takes to shut down Curry. The Spurs held Curry to 16 points on 5-for-17 shooting in Game 3.  Golden State shot very poorly for a change as they were just 39 percent from the field.  San Antonio’s strong start to the game was what really separated them from the Warriors.  The Spurs won the next three quarters by only one point.  Tony Parker finished with 32 points. Both teams seem to play with a lot of energy and urgency in the first half.  But the Spurs’ older players have a tendency to get tired closer to the end of the game despite their monster comeback in Game 1.  That gives Golden State the opportunity to creep back into it.  It gets dangerous for the Spurs because Golden State loves to strive off second half momentum.  Despite a few plays that gave the Warriors a chance in Game 3, San Antonio rolled to a comfortable ten-point victory. The Spurs had another fast start in Game 4.  Their physical defense limited the Warriors to just 19 first quarter points.  They followed that effort up in the second quarter by only allowing 18 points.  Tim Duncan’s post defense didn’t allow any easy buckets inside.  In fact, his defense didn’t allow many inside buckets at all.  The Warriors were not playing with the same type of flow they had in San Antonio. In both Games 3 and 4, San Antonio did an excellent job of controlling the pace.  They forced the Warriors to play more of a half court game.  The fact of the matter is that Golden State can beat the Spurs in a fast-paced game.  For that reason, the Spurs were using the shot clock and not giving Curry much space to work with. Marc Jackson’s squad came out of halftime with more energy than the Spurs.  Andrew Bogut was playing fantastic defense on Tim Duncan and actually blocked him a few times.  Stephen Curry was not forcing many shots.  He was making the right plays and relying on the open guys to finish.  Harrison Barnes was that guy much of the time.  He provided a huge spark for the Warriors with 26 points and ten rebounds. Golden State had two big advantages over the Spurs in this game.  One of those advantages was rebounding.  Andrew Bogut’s 18 rebounds led the way for them and rebounding was a big reason they were even in the game at one point.  The Warriors were faster to the ball, especially in the second half.  Their energetic play wore down the Spurs as it got later in the game. The other advantage was free-throw shooting.  Golden State shot 80 percent from the stripe as opposed to San Antonio’s lousy 56 percent free-throw shooting.  Free points at the line obviously make a big difference and the Warriors were able to capitalize on those opportunities.  Harrison Barnes was a perfect seven-for-seven from the line. San Antonio had a few chances to put the game away late in the fourth quarter but the Warriors’ defense stood tall and gave them nothing easy.  Jarrett Jack was Mr. clutch in the fourth quarter.  When Golden State was in need of a basket, he used a pick to free himself up for a shot.  Jack’s offense was the reason that Golden State could put the game in their hands.  His hot shooting forced overtime. Although Jack missed the potential game-winner in regulation, Marc Jackson was happy with the position his team was in.  ”Nobody thought we would be here in the second quarter but here we are.  Let’s pull away and make this game ours,” Coach Jackson told his team.  The young Warriors obeyed his orders and dominated the fatigued Spurs in the five-minute overtime period. Both Game 2 and Game 4 were tales of the Golden State Warriors bouncing back.  The Warriors are a young team with a lot to learn.  Right now, they are doing a fine job displaying their growth and maturity as a team. Stay tuned for a preview of the next two games in the series.   Follow me on Twitter @ZJTbasketball11

This article first appeared on isportsweb.com and was syndicated with permission.

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Jerry Jones sets deadline for decision on Tony Romo’s future with Cowboys

Jason Kidd believes Isaiah Thomas is in NBA MVP race

Kyrie Irving takes blame for Cavs’ recent skid: ‘I need to demand more out of myself’

Ichiro Suzuki wants to play until age 50

Minute Maid Park doesn’t look the same without Tal’s Hill

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Six NFL teams have not renewed their daily fantasy deals

A Chicago Bulls and Jimmer Fredette reunion makes sense

Cardinals may look at a veteran to ultimately replace Carson Palmer

Ottawa Senators visit sick teen during road trip to Minnesota

Adrian Peterson works out with Jameis Winston, gets Dirk Koetter’s attention

Report: Martavis Bryant reinstatement ‘imminent’

The 'So, is this the last ride for the Dead Man?' quiz

Athletes in other sports (or famous professions) who played in the NCAA Tournament

2016 MLB playoff teams that won't make it back this season

Box Score 3/29: Free hats (Caps fans only)

The 'Are you mentally prepared for 'One Shining Moment'?' quiz

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Serge Ibaka can't connect

Can the Padres' Christian Bethancourt really succeed at pitcher and catcher?

The Raiders will forever belong to Oakland

The Rewind: George Mason's improbable run to the Final Four

Baseball movies you can stream now to hold you over until Opening Day

Best, worst and hard to stomach MLB offseason moves

Box Score 3/28: Wilt's last game

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Athletes in other sports (or famous professions) who played in the NCAA Tournament

The 'So, is this the last ride for the Dead Man?' quiz

2016 MLB playoff teams that won't make it back this season

The 'Are you mentally prepared for 'One Shining Moment'?' quiz

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Serge Ibaka can't connect

Can the Padres' Christian Bethancourt really succeed at pitcher and catcher?

The Raiders will forever belong to Oakland

Best, worst and hard to stomach MLB offseason moves

The Rewind: George Mason's improbable run to the Final Four

Baseball movies you can stream now to hold you over until Opening Day

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker