The Golden State Warriors might not statistically have the best defense in the NBA, but it showed the number one team on that rankings it’s more than capable on the defensive end which allowed Stephen Curry to have another one of those special nights.
The Warriors won 120-90 in a demolition of the team that many thought was the big hope of slowing down their race towards a record breaking NBA season and from the looks of it, a very easy NBA championship. The San Antonio Spurs, sans Tim Duncan, fell apart in the Oracle Arena, giving up with a raised white flag well before the four quarters were up.
The Warriors held the Spurs to a 87.1 offensive rating while themselves finishing with 116.1 points per 100 possessions, setting a much higher pace than the Spurs intended to play in. Tony Parker looked lost against big bodies, traps and long arms. The ball movement the Spurs are famous for was gone. Kawhi Leonard couldn’t make an impact defensively. Danny Green was misused. The Warriors forced 25 turnovers out of the Spurs, limited them to just five 3-pointers and held them at 41.9% from the field.
It’s the defense that allows Curry to be this great offensively. Obviously, his talent, creativity and genius comes from himself, but the Warriors making so many opportunities for transition offense and quick points is perfect for Curry, who might not be the best one on one defender, but is very smart in trapping at the right time and putting himself into passing lanes while others, more capable of being traditional stoppers, set up the stage for the best player in the NBA today.
Curry finished with 37 points in 28 minutes, including 9-of-10 from the field while Leonard was guarding him. That’s the best defender in the NBA. The Spurs probably should have gone without Tony Parker in the lineup and for most of this game (5 points in 18 minutes) and played Manu Ginobili as much as possible while Green, who is better than Leonard at guarding smaller players, should have spent more time on Curry. But the Spurs have now the regular season, and a few more meetings with the Warriors, to make the proper adjustments.
But the thing is about the Warriors is that adjustments might not be enough. They’ve crept up on us. Last season they were very good and mostly dominant on their way to the franchise’s first NBA title in 40 years. But this season? While nothing and no one is perfect, they’re playing the best basketball in the league without anyone coming close to them. The same can be said about Curry himself, en route to a second straight MVP award. It’s as if the Warriors keep moving forward, and the NBA is staying behind.