1) The Warriors shifted to autopilot too soon
As the fourth quarter wore on, the Warriors lead got stuck at around 11 after being as large as 15. For all the momentum they had, the fact they weren’t adding to that lead had me a bit concerned. People around the arena were acting like they were up by 25.
The same thing happened at the beginning of the game when the Warriors were stuck on 7 while the Spurs were trying to hit their first shot. The place was going crazy during the opening run, but eventually the the Spurs got their footing and took the lead for a while.
And similarly in the fourth, the Spurs took advantage of the Warriors’ sloppy play and bad shooting to whittle the lead down to 2 before Kevin Durant hit a tough midrange jumper out of their last timeout. Manu Ginobili then followed that with an uncharacteristic crunchtime mistake, an errant pass to LaMarcus Aldridge that went out of bounds on the baseline. A couple KD free throws on the other end sealed the deal, and the Warriors escaped.
Against a much more talented New Orleans Pelicans team, they’re going to need a fuller effort — especially if they start the series without Stephen Curry.
2) Draymond is good
A lot of NBA fans question whether Draymond Green is overrated. Hell, because of his style of play, sometimes I wonder if he’s already hit his highwater mark. But games like this (17 points, 19 rebounds, 7 assists) reminds me of how glad I am he’s on the Warriors.
To hell with Chris Webber’s seemingly random hot takes.
(Seriously though, I was always a huge Webber supporter when he got shafted by Don Nelson and Chris Cohan. I never stopped pulling for him on the Bullets or the Kings, but he’s one of my least favorite announcers. He always seems like he’s faking his enthusiasm, like he’s pretending to have a good time. I don’t know him, so I could be wrong, but quotes like these don’t help shed the appearance of a guy who’s just trying to make stuff up.)
— Warriors Talk (@JaeAzizi) April 25, 2018
Right now Draymond’s being much savvier and controlled (NO techs so far!), but you can still feel his overall passion and fire throughout the game. He does so many little things that you don’t see in All-Star games or on highlight reels, but you can always sense the profound imprint he leaves on a game he cares about.
I don’t know if his nagging shoulder injury is all healed up now or what, but he really is a different player in the playoffs. Sure, the Warriors haven’t faced true adversity yet and he hasn’t had a reason to lose his cool, so we’ll see what happens when that finally occurs.
But for now he’s looking like a man on a mission.
3) No new injuries
The Warriors tempted fate by not closing the Spurs out in Game 4 and playing an “unnecessary” Game 5. Maybe there are some random bumps and bruises, some additional wear and tear, but at least no one got seriously hurt.
That’s the most important thing for this team. (Second would be the estimated additional $3.5 million in revenue the organization made from an extra home game.)
I’m glad this Spurs series is over. It lacked high-stakes drama. It lacked the big-name matchups we like to see in the postseason. I’m guessing with KD/Draymond vs Anthony Davis, (eventually) a rusty not-100% Steph vs Playoff Rondo, Klay vs a suddenly scorching Jrue Holiday, and Steve Kerr vs Alvin Gentry, this 2nd Round series will be a little bit different.
I can’t wait.
4) I miss Andrew Bogut
As much as I enjoy this current team, the first iteration of the Warriors championship squad will always be my favorite. That Warriors team was homegrown and full of underdogs and comeback stories. It was new and full of joy. Bogut epitomized so much of what was good about that team, and he still does.
Been saying this for years. No other superstar in the NBA would be humble enough to allow another superstar on his team to take some of the spotlight, w/o any adjustment periods or growing pains leading to a wrestle for the reins. Such an underated part of who @StephenCurry30 is. https://t.co/9YdRIWs6Wv
— Andrew Bogut (@andrewbogut) April 25, 2018
People always talk about Draymond missing Game 5 in the 2015-2016 Finals as the main reason the Warriors lost, but losing Bogut and having Festus Ezeli and Anderson Varajao as the next men up off the bench hurt just as much.
The lineup was never fully whole again, and while the Warriors had plenty of chances to snatch the title away (I’m looking at you Harrison Barnes), Bogut’s injury left their interior highly vulnerable.
The dude was just a good, solid, nonsense dude. Best of luck to him in whatever he does.