NBA Playoffs Begin as Golden State Warriors Demolish San Antonio Spurs in Game 1
Saturday, April 14, 2018, the reigning NBA champion Golden State Warriors began the quest to defend their title at home in the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. They crushed the San Antonio Spurs in a dominating victory at home 113-92 in game 1 of the first round series.
Both teams begin the playoffs hobbled by missing their best players. The Spurs are missing their star guard Kawhi Leonard, and The Warriors are absent superstar Stephan Curry. Leonard will likely miss the entire playoffs, and Curry is out for the first round.
The first quarter remained close for about 5 minutes before the Warriors went on a 6-2 run in just over a minute to open up a six-point lead. The middle portion of the quarter was back and forth and the score stood at 15-11 in favor of the Warriors with 4:44 left.
Golden State then took off on a 13-3 run in under three minutes. That gave them the lead by 14 points with 55 seconds to go when the Spurs veteran Manu Ginobili’s last second three-point shot cut the deficit to 11 at the close of quarter number one.
The second period showcased the defense of the Warriors which created many offensive opportunities for them. San Antonio hung in and made a desperate run to get within six points with 5:43 left in the quarter.
However, Golden State picked up the defensive intensity and went on a torrid 16-4 run to build the largest lead of the half, 54-36 and only 1:10 remaining. The half ended with free throws from Rudy Gay of the Spurs to make the score 57-41.
San Antonio came out of the half-time break aggressively and managed to cut the lead to just nine points in the first two minutes. However, the rest of the third quarter was dominated by the stifling defense of the Warriors and furious offense to open a 23-point lead and end the period with an 86-63 advantage.
The Warriors showed more of their championship form in the final period to the delight of the capacity crowd. After five minutes of the fourth quarter, they pushed the score to a 103-75 advantage and cruised to the victory.
The stars of the game for the Warriors were Klay Thompson with 27 points and Kevin Durant who pitched in 24. However, the surprise starter at center, JaVale McGee had the highest scoring game of his season with 15 points. Perhaps more importantly, he bottled up the inside game of the Spurs and handled center LaMarcus Aldridge masterfully.
Golden State launches their 2018 playoff journey with this impressive win at home. If their level of play continues to remain this high, especially defensively, a second consecutive NBA title is within the Warriors grasp.
Featured and Top Image courtesy of D.T. Osborn