The big boys over at ESPN got together this morning to discuss game 1 of the Warriors-Spurs game and what may or may not happen in the series. We took the questions from ESPN’s 5 on 5 and jotted down our thoughts.
1. Game of the Year?
Bacardi: Yes and no. I honestly can’t say it’s the definitive game of the year, I haven’t watched as many games as I’d like to, but it’s by far the game of the playoffs. Let’s put it this way, no other NBA game has kept me from writing, but last night I was glued to my seat as my eyes were fixed on the game. As soon as the Spurs scored 8 straight to bring the gap from 16 to 8, I knew they wouldn’t go quietly into the night. I was proven right.
Pirozzi: Yes. I’m sure we’ll see another classic game or two like this one as the playoffs progress, but as of today, yes. From Curry’s third quarter performance to the San Antonio’s comeback at the end of the fourth, this game was a gift to hoops fans. We then got two free periods of basketball … what else could we ask for?!
2. Stephen Curry’s performance was __________.
Bacardi: Comparable to Panda Express’ Orange Chicken. Huh? Don’t get it? Orange Chicken from Panda Express may just be the greatest concoction of food ever created, whichever chef at the Panda Express headquarters who designed this recipe is a genius.
However, the thing about it is that it’s phenomenal but very heavy. So for the first half of the meal, you shovel that **** down and grin with delight. However, as the weight sinks in, you start to feel a bit gross. While I admit I didn’t watch the entire game, it became obvious that Curry was slowed during the 4th Q and overtimes. In fact, according to the shot chart, Curry only made four of his last nine field goals, all makes coming close to the basket. I’m not trying to hate on his game, he scored 44 points and 11 assists while playing every minute of the game.
But the Spurs obviously keyed in on him during the most important part of the game, and the Dubs really missed Klay Thompson over the 15 or so odd minutes (he fouled out). Thompson’s absence forced Golden State to play Richard Jefferson and go bigger than they hoped; it played perfectly into the Spurs’ hands as they were able to strictly focus on Curry. Curry had a lights out game, but it closely resembled Orange Chicken.
Pirozzi: An exercise in futility. I know I’m being the debbie-downer on this one, but what’s a performance like that if you don’t win the game? He had an incredible performance, played nearly 58 minutes, and has very little to show for any of it. What we can agree on is that Curry should have been an all-star because he is now a superstar in the league.
3. Did the Warriors blow it?
Bacardi: Yes and no. Up until the last 10 seconds, I told my roommate that the Warriors lost this game, not that the Spurs won. My reasoning being that they held a huge (16 point) lead over a home team and let it slip; if they lost this game, it would be to allowing their opponent to come back due to bad possessions (the Warriors were horrendous in the last 7 minutes of regulation).
However, you can’t help but to feel bad for Golden State after Ginobili hit that final 3 pointer to take the lead with under 3 seconds left. The Warriors faulted off that inbounds play, but still, how often does that happen? So they did blow it, but they were also unfortunate as Manu could have easily missed that shot.
Pirozzi: Of Course! They blew a 16-point lead with less than five minutes to go. No excuses, that’s one of the biggest end-of-game letdowns I’ve witnessed.
4. What’s your takeaway on the Spurs from game 1?
Bacardi: That they’re a great regular season team, but they have severe problems. They allowed a road team to get hot (especially Curry), and it almost cost them. However, their play directly exposed both of these teams as we learned how valuable experience is in the playoffs. Due to the Spurs prior successes and their style of play (capitalize on opponents errors, don’t turn it over), the Spurs were able to rally despite not increasing the tempo of the game within the last 7 minutes.
Though they won, I almost expect Golden State to win the series. It all depends on how this dramatic loss will affect game 2 as they’ll need to come out guns blazing. The Spurs could be in trouble if they’re unable to lock down Stephen Curry.
Pirozzi: That the Spurs were playing without a healthy Duncan & Splitter and still found a way to win. That patience and experience trump any other factor in a playoff game. That betting against Pop is [which I luckily didn't do], and will always be, a bad decision.
5. How do you see the series shaping up now?
Bacardi: After game 1, I surprisingly see the Warriors beating the Spurs in 6 games. I think the Dubs win the next 3 games and eventually force a game 6 back on their home court. I don’t know why, but I can’t help to pick the upset here, San Antonio looked too vulnerable despite mounting that huge comeback.
Pirozzi: I’m struggling to decide if the Warriors use this loss as motivation or if they fold under the pressure. Most analysts think a young team like this will struggle to get back the momentum they had; I have a bit of faith in Curry still though. He can obviously get his against the Spurs, and wouldn’t be surprised if he kept putting up 30+ for most of the series. Either way, this series won’t go past 6 games. Maybe only 5 now.