Spurs-Dubs Game 2
Exec Summary: Spurs missed their chance to steal one in the Bay Sunday and now take it on the chin minus their superstar. The Dubs shook off the rust after the Game 1 first half and without Kawhi on the floor the mismatches are too glaring to stand a chance in Game 2 so they pack it in and prepare for Game 3 at home. Dubs pull away in the 3rd Quarter and win comfortably 111 to 85.
Completely different outcome for Game 2 would be in the cards if Kawhi finishes Game 1 healthy and Spurs have a 1–0 lead in the series. Disgusted by the play that will end up costing the Spurs a chance in the series and feel extreme disappointment that the matchup we’ve waited years to see will be played out in such a one-sided fashion. Not expecting Kawhi to be nearly as effective as he was in the 1st half of Game 1 even if he’s a go for Game 3 so you can pretty well put a wrap on this series from this perspective.
Much has been made about how effective San Antonio has been this season without Kawhi, nowhere more obvious than the close-out Game 6 vs the Rockets. In all or most of those games however, the Spurs were prepared for Kawhi’s absence while their opponents were surprised, or at least caught on their heels in terms of expecting an easy win. In stark contrast, the Dubs coming into Game 2 are extremely woke to the danger the Spurs pose after they manhandled them for two and a half quarters on Sunday, a result that was attributable to 1) incredible defense by Kawhi on Steph Curry disrupting the entire offensive approach by the Dubs, 2) an extremely lackluster shooting performance by Klay Thompson who had his worst playoff game since 2015 and 3) a sense of intensity and urgency from the Spurs out of the gate that it took forever for the Dubs to match. The confidence and intensity working for the Spurs in Game 1 went up in smoke the minute Kawhi was helped into the looker room.
The Game 2 expectation will be something along the lines of what we saw in Game 2 against Blazers where the Warriors take a commanding 1st quarter lead thanks to offensive contributions from Klay as Steph can run the offense without being limited by Kawhi defensively. The Spurs may put together some kind of rally in the 2Q to close gap and give themselves hope heading into halftime but when the Warriors decide to tighten up on defense (sometime in the 3rd or 4th quarter) they pull away and leave the Spurs to head back home empty handed. The full game over or the Warriors team total over would be good looks were it not for a concerted effort to pack it in late. Some concern exists for a back-door cover but a deflated Spurs squad with a lack of garbage time shooters will make it tough for the Dubs to blow the cover. Great night to watch some baseball Spurs fans.
Three pre-game plays:
GSW -14½ +108
GSW -19½ +210
SAS TT u97½ +105