Published On: Sat, Apr 14th, 2018

3 reasons the Spurs were out of their league in Game 1 vs. Warriors

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In a rematch of last year’s Western Conference finals, the Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs entered their first-round playoff series surrounded by far more question marks than either team is used to. Those questions appear trivial for the Warriors after a decisive 113-92 Game 1 win, however, while the Spurs looked completely overwhelmed. Here’s why.

McGee shut down Aldridge

LaMarcus Aldridge has been the Spurs’ catalyst in this mostly Kawhi Leonard-free season, but an unpleasant surprise came his way Saturday when Steve Kerr started JaVale McGee at center for the Warriors. McGee contained Aldridge brilliantly, helping hold him to 5-of-12 shooting and 14 points.

That block – one of two by McGee on Aldridge – offered a decent summary of the entire game for San Antonio: The Spurs could get nothing at the rim, while the Warriors’ hands swarmed the paint. When McGee exited, Golden State double-teamed Aldridge.

McGee also scored a season-high 15 points, and he will continue to start at center in the series.

The Aldridge narrative is worth watching, as the 32-year-old big man has struggled in the playoffs before, and the team is basically on his shoulders without Leonard.

The Spurs can’t shoot

With the paint sealed off, the Spurs had to turn to Rudy Gay, Bryn Forbes, and Manu Ginobili to jack shots. That just won’t cut it against the Warriors. Tony Parker shot 1-for-8. Danny Green and Patty Mills were almost absent offensively, and on the other end, Mills too often found himself switched onto Kevin Durant.

The Warriors can play any way they want

(Photo courtesy: Getty Images)

The concern from some corners about the Warriors’ 7-10 record down the stretch was probably unwarranted. Yes, Stephen Curry is likely out for this series, but the two-time champions are no strangers to adjustment.

Though Kerr started Andre Iguodala at point guard Saturday, it was mostly for defense. Durant brought the ball up most of the time, and that’s deadly in its own right as he can create his shot against anyone. Klay Thompson took over in the second half, finishing the game 5-of-6 from deep.

After a couple of weeks of listless, meaningless basketball, the Warriors turned in a lockdown defensive effort. They appear to have awoken, and the Spurs may be in tough to find an answer.

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