The Warriors closed out the Spurs on Monday night 129-115 to advance to the Finals once again. While the score looked rather close on paper, the Warriors were never really threatened by the Spurs, who were badly missing Kawhi Leonard (ankle). Manu Ginobili got the start, which could mean he’s played his final game for the Spurs, or anyone, and Tony Parker now looks like nothing more than a backup at point guard for the Spurs next year.
Anyway, the Warriors opened up a 31-19 lead after the first quarter and never looked back. Stephen Curry led the way with 36 points, five rebounds, six assists and five 3-pointers on 14-of-24 shooting, while Kevin Durant also came through with 29 points, 12 rebounds, four assists and two 3-pointers. Durant shot it lights-out, hitting 10-of-13 shots and 7-of-7 free throws in another easy win as the Warriors have cruised out to a 12-0 record and a likely date with the Cavaliers in the NBA Finals. The Dubs sent JaVale McGee back to the bench and started Patrick McCaw, but he lasted just 17 minutes for six points, but a handful of nice stats. Draymond Green, as usual, flirted with a triple-double and finished with 16 points, eight rebounds, eight assists, two steals and two 3-pointers, and Klay Thompson was the quiet man tonight, hitting just 3-of-13 shots for 10 points, six boards and a 3-pointer. Had Thompson been on last night, the final margin would have been closer to 30 instead of 14 points. McGee only played seven minutes off the bench, but he was solid in his run, with a reverse dunk, three boards, a highlight-reel block and two points. Andre Iguodala added seven points, six boards, three assists and two steals, and Ian Clark hit 5-of-10 shots for 12 points, two boards, two assists, two steals and two 3-pointers in just 18 minutes off the bench. The Warriors are going to chill out and wait for the Cavaliers to finish off the Celtics. Golden State will be very well rested by the time the Finals start, likely about a week from now.
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The Spurs were once again without Leonard, which meant they had no chance last night. Kyle Anderson actually led the team in scoring with 20 points, six boards, two assists, four steals and a 3-pointer on 8-of-14 shooting, despite coming off the bench. Manu Ginobili got the start for the Spurs and had 15 points, seven dimes, three steals and a 3-pointer in 32 minutes. The fact Gregg Popovich started him leads me to believe this might have been his final game for the Spurs, or any NBA team. Patty Mills started at point guard and had 14 points, four boards, three assists, a block and three 3-pointers, while Pau Gasol came off the bench for 14 points and nine boards on 6-of-8 shooting. LaMarcus Aldridge isn’t making a lot of friends in San Antone and hit just 4-of-11 shots for eight points, seven boards, three assists and no blocks. He’s living up to his reputation of being a soft big man. Jonathon Simmons started for Leonard and hit just 5-of-15 shots and a 3-pointer for 13 points, five rebounds, four assists, a steal and a block, and Danny Green hit just 3-of-8 shots and two 3-pointers for nine points, four boards, three assists, a steal, a block and two 3-pointers in 22 minutes. The Spurs really have to figure out what they’re going to do next season and then act accordingly. Is Aldridge truly their starting PF next year? Is Mills or Dejounte Murray really their starting point guard? Is Gasol still worthy of starting for a championship team at the age of 37? Is Kawhi good enough to carry a team, regardless of whom he has around him? I think he is, but he’s not good enough to beat the Warriors by himself. It should be an interesting offseason in San Antonio.
After LeBron James’ weird disappearing act in the second half of Game 3 in Cleveland, when the Cavs blew a 21-point lead, it will be interesting to see what he does tonight. The Cavaliers still lead 2-1 and Isaiah Thomas (hip) is done for the season for the Celtics, but the Cavs’ chances of going into the Finals 12-0 are out the window. They’re going to face the Warriors in the Finals, but we still don’t know exactly when that will happen. Game 4 is also in Cleveland and I’m guessing we see a much different version of LeBron tonight than we saw in Game 3. He hit just 4-of-13 shots for 11 points, six boards, six assists and six turnovers. My guess is LeBron will be all-world tonight and the Celtics will be down 3-1 with the series heading back to Boston for Game 5. I fully expect the Cavs to take both Games 4 and 5, and then we’ll know when the Finals will actually start. Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving should both go off tonight, while the Celtics will pray that they get a surprising performance from a combination of Marcus Smart, Game 3’s hero Avery Bradley, Kelly Olynyk, Jae Crowder and/or Jonas Jerebko. But without Thomas in the lineup, it’s just hard to imagine the Celtics being able to beat the Cavs again. We shall see. Tonight’s game is at 8:30 on TNT.