Grading Warriors' Game 1 win vs Spurs on five keys to victory
Handing out Game 1 grades
OAKLAND -- As they prepared to meet the Spurs in a first-round playoff series, we identified 5 Keys for the Warriors to win in five games or fewer. After each game, we will assess how the Warriors grade out on those factors.
Here are the grades for Game 1, a 113-92 Warriors victory Saturday at Oracle Arena:
From the opening tip, Draymond Green seemed to be electrified by the postseason. He defended, led the fast break and, for the first few minutes, trying to do too much. He settled into the game in the second quarter, found his shot in the third and was barely needed in the fourth. He finished two rebounds short of a triple-double: 12 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds.
Though Green was the hub, the entire team locked in early and stayed focused into the fourth quarter. Steve Kerr’s decision to start Andre Igoudala mostly for defensive purposes, paid off. The Warriors limited San Antonio to 35-percent shooting in the first quarter, 33.3 percent in the second, 42.1 percent in the third. Kevin Durant was hyperactive and JaVale McGee did excellent work on LaMarcus Aldrdige, outscoring the Spurs star 15-14.
Klay Thompson sometimes gets caught up in the moment and ends up taking quick shots, some of them contested. Not so in Game 1. He was patient early, taking only one shot in the first quarter and making it as Durant and McGee piled up points. Finding more open space in the second and third quarters, Thompson poured in 17 points on 7-of-9 shooting. He finished with a team-high 27 on 11-of-13 shooting. Phenomenal.
They committed five in the first quarter, giving San Antonio 9 points. That’s too many, even if some were by design. They wanted a fast tempo -- the Spurs are a deliberate team -- and that can result in early turnovers. They’ll live with it. Once the tempo was set, the Warriors over the final three quarters committed 10 turnovers, giving the Spurs 10 points. Though 19 points is too many, it’s no far disaster.
THE ROARACLE EFFECT
Remember how over the first three seasons under Kerr, the Warriors were practically invincible at home? That was stripped away this season, when they lost as many games at home (12) as on the road. Well, that old dominating feeling was back. The arena was louder than at any time in the regular season. Even if it didn’t bother the Spurs, it surely seemed to boost the Warriors.