The Spurs are much better at playing this game than the Warriors. And it showed on Saturday night. San Antonio beat the Warriors 107-85 at AT&T Center — a game in which both teams were without multiple star players.
The Spurs were playing without Kawhi Leonard , LaMarcus Aldridge and Tony Parker. The Warriors were playing without Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala. Oh, and Kevin Durant, who has been out for two weeks with injury.
Playing their eighth game in their eighth different city over the past 13 days, Warriors coach Steve Kerr chose to rest four players. The thinking is understandable, but the timing doesn’t work out so well.
On “Warriors WrapUp,” the postgame show on 95.7-FM, Chris Townsend and I got into it over the Warriors’ decision. He said that it was a “travesty” and that the Warriors “threw the game” against the Spurs. I said that was ridiculous.
Some talking points from the show:
–Stop blaming the players for this sitting out or saying “players are soft.” For the most part it’s not players begging out of these games. It’s the coaches and front offices employing the tactic of sitting out.
–It’s hard to feel sorry for fans in San Antonio who missed on seeing star players. The reason? It was the Spurs that began this strategy of sitting players.
–If the Warriors wanted to rest players, why rest the players all at once? Why not rest one guy a night so you avoid a mass rest situation?
–Let’s not forget this likely was the Warriors sending a message to the league about the past two weeks and how much travel they’ve done. Kerr had been mentioning this stretch for weeks and how “insane” it was. They’d been thinking about this for a little while.
With the win the Spurs are just a half-game behind the Warriors in the battle for home-court advantage throughout and by virtue of their win Saturday have clinched the season series and therefor the tie-breaker.
The Spurs are a franchise that has rested players during regular seasons over the past several years. They do it consistently and they’re used transitioning seamlessly regardless of the personnel on the floor. The Warriors are new to this … And it showed.
Ian Clark scored a career-high 36 points, going 15-for-21 from the field, for the Warriors. It was a season-low in points for the Warriors, the third time in the past 10 days where they set a new season-low.
The Warriors have lost 5 of their past 7 games, the worst stretch of the Steve Kerr era. The Warriors will try to get their bearings next week, with three very winnable games at Oracle Arena: Philadelphia, Orlando and Milwaukee.