It’s just one game. There’s 81 more for both the San Antonio Spurs and Golden State Warriors, but this showdown in a raucous Oracle Arena certainly held more weight than a typical regular season game.
Golden State wasn’t just defeated; they were exposed. On a night when the NBA’s next great dynasty was supposed to stomp one of its few competitors, the Warriors were humiliated by the San Antonio Spurs, 129-100.
It’s a new team, and they will take some time to gel, but those concerns regarding depth, rebounding and rim protection are already very real. Zaza Pachulia is not as good as Andrew Bogut as a screener, passer, rebounder or shot blocker, Ian Clark led Golden State’s bench with 5 points, the Warriors turned the ball over 16 times and San Antonio managed to collect 21 offensive rebounds.
For as disappointing as Golden State’s performance was, the Spurs and Gregg Popovich’s brilliance cannot be understated. The Spurs implemented the perfect game-plan: force Pachulia to play pick-and-roll defense, crash the offensive boards hard, make the extra pass and play smothering defense.
The Warriors are still the overwhelming favorite to win their second title in three years, but the Spurs have at least provided a blueprint on how to make life miserable for Golden State. The Warriors will overwhelm most opponents boasting four of the 12 best players on the planet, but perhaps this NBA season will be a bit more interesting than skeptics were willing to admit.
Following the loss, Kevin Durant summed it up best, calling the San Antonio beatdown “a slap in the face.”
Now, Golden State has 81 games to prove Tuesday night was simply a fluke.
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