ORACLE ARENA, OAKLAND, CA — Six-and-a-half days after eliminating Utah from the 2017 NBA Playoffs, the Golden State Warriors (0-0) hosted the San Antonio Spurs (0-0) for Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals.
The Warriors were without Kevon Looney (left hip strain). The Spurs were without Tony Parker (ruptured right quadricep tendon).
Q1: Too Many Turnovers
The Spurs were fast out of the gate as Kawhi Leonard broke a mini-drought by both teams by hitting a tough baseline jumper, then Draymond Green couldn’t get a call on a dunk attempt over Pau Gasol, and Gasol scored an and-one at the other end as Klay Thompson tried but failed to prevent him from getting an inside bucket.
However, the Warriors struck back with six straight buckets as Kevin Durant got doubled on the right side and found Stephen Curry on the left wing for a long two, Thompson got a carom from Danny Green’s track-down block on Curry’s layup…
…and drilled a jumper, and Klay then found Draymond Green on a cut, then a swing pass to Durant for a side-stepping layup…
…which prompted a timeout by Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich called timeout.
But out of the timeout, Durant got a jumper then Golden State couldn’t string anything together as Klay missed twice and Steph drew three fouls on an upfake on Leonard in the right corner, then hit two of three from the line.
Danny Green hit a three, Patty Mills got a nice scoop over JaVale McGee, Durant hit a jumper on a catch from Andre Iguodala, and David Lee checked in for the Spurs to a nice hand from Oracle.
Kawhi got a long offensive rebound back-iron on the perimeter and bolted down the lane for a one-hand dunk, then after some empty possessions, LaMarcus Aldridge posted up Durant, spun, went inside, and scored with a foul on the helping McGee.
After a timeout with 2:07 remaining, Aldridge hit the free throw and San Antonio was up, 21-14.
The Warriors started to make some miscues, as a jump pass from Draymond Green to Shaun Livingston went awry, which led to a nice alley-oop reverse layup by Jonathon Simmons, assisted by Lee.
Iguodala ended a 7-0 mini-run with a pull-up jumper, but Aldrige hit a fade, Green made another bad pass as Curry wasn’t looking when he sent the pass in, Simmons hit a three, Steph tried to answer by pulling up from the edge of the center-court logo, only to graze the rim for a near-airball, then Dejounte Murray and Iguodala traded bad passes.
Iguodala stole the ball initially, but threw the ball behind McGee running up-court, with Steph trying to flare out on the same right wing, and that sequence ended with a Murray-to-Aldridge dunk with 0.8 seconds to go.
The quarter ended with the Spurs in command, 30-16, as Golden State accrued 6 turnovers.
The Warriors stumbled out of the gate in the second period, even though Matt Barnes started things off with a catch-and-shoot jumper. Draymond drew a charge on Simmons, but the referee Danny Crawford gave Simmons the call, then after a steal by the Dubs, David West got position inside on Lee and was called for an elbow by Crawford again.
On the next play, Leonard marched past West down the right side for another rim rattler.
Later, Draymond made another turnover from the left side on a bad pass, the two teams traded misses, and Manu Ginobili got a three, and after another Golden State miss, Kawhi went left baseline for a strong bucket at the rim, and the Spurs suddenly sported a 37-19 lead with 9:03 to play as Warriors interim head coach Mike Brown called timeout.
A few possessions after the timeout, Iguodala took another turn at throwing the ball away, leading to a Ginobili fast break, drawing the foul on a made bucket as Draymond tried to race back and poke the ball away, unsuccessfully.
Durant missed from the right wing, Leonard and Lee played pick-and-roll and Barnes reached in for a foul beyond the arc, and San Antonio took a 44-19 lead after Kawhi hit all three free throws.
Golden State woke up a bit as KD went left side for a banker, Steph got a scoop on the right side via Zaza Pachulia…
…and Durant drew a foul on the right side.
After another timeout, Durant got a block on Leonard’s jumper, but Gasol went over-the-back on Barnes on an offensive rebound of Mills’ missed three, then after Barnes hit both free throws, Lee threw the inbound to Curry and with Kawhi spun around, Steph hit a triple from the right wing, forcing Popovich to call timeout as the Warriors closed to within 46-32 with 5:05 to go:
It was the Warriors’ first three of the day.
Closing out the half, the Spurs got four tries at the rim on the ensuing sequence, with Leonard and Lee getting offensive rebounds and Aldridge finally scoring at the rim.
At the other end, Durant missed a fade-away after boarding Livingston’s miss, but that was off, and Livingston got the putback and missed point-blank off back-rim.
Kawhi hit a tough fade over Draymond at the shot clock buzzer, Curry hit a three in response, but Ginobili got a floater to drop to kill that momentum.
The Spurs turned another bad pass, the Warriors’ tenth turnover, into yet another Leonard strong bucket, with the harm on Draymond, and San Antonio was back in control with a 55-35 lead with 2:25 left.
The Spurs continued to get offensive rebounds, but got a shot clock violation after Ginobili airballed a corner three, Klay played tic-tac-toe to find Draymond to find Pachulia on a cut, and Durant drew free throws against Danny Green in the post.
KD drew more free throws on the break after Simmons lost the ball to Zaza on a drive, but hit only one of two from the line, and Aldridge answered with a lefty scoop, then after Pachulia drew another foul on Ginobili and hit both throws, Danny Green drilled a three as Kawhi drew attention on the attack, and the Warriors found themselves down 62-42 heading into halftime after Curry missed from halfcourt at the buzzer.
(Photo: @letsgowarriors Instagram account via @reneespooner3)