The Spurs effort cannot be questioned.
“I thought they did a great job, they competed really well, couldn’t ask any more from them competitiveness wise,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said after the game.
It wasn’t enough.
Basketball can be a game of runs and the Warriors are just better at that than anyone.
This game had been tied 49-49 late in the second quarter when the Warriors went on a 12-0 run to open it up. The Spurs tried, but they could never seriously close the gap or threaten again. Then in the middle of the fourth, the Warriors went on another 10-0 run to blow the game wide open.
The Warriors cruised to a 120-108 win to take a commanding 3-0 series lead. Game 4, likely the final game of the series, is Monday in San Antonio. Kevin Durant led the Warriors with 33 points and was dominant in the third quarter, while Stephen Curry added 21.
The Warriors are now 11-0 to start the playoffs, tying an NBA record.
The truth of this series is this simple: Since Kawhi Leonard rolled his ankle in Game 1 and had to leave, the Spurs have been outscored by 73 points. He did not play in Game 3, his Game 4 status is unknown (but is Popovich really going to let him play?).
Adding injury to insult, David Lee played a strong two minutes scoring 4 points on 2-of-3 shooting and looking the best he had all series, then he suffered an injury after drawing the and-1 on Draymond Green, and he had to ride in a wheelchair to get back to the locker room.
It was a bit of a strange game. For example, JaVale McGee had 11 of Warriors first 19 points on his way to 16 in the first half to lead the Warriors.
“I thought JaVale was instrumental in us having some kind of impact at the beginning of the game, he was great for us on both ends of the floor,” said Warriors interim coach Mike Brown. “He made plays, otherwise we could have been down big if it wasn’t for his energy.
But San Antonio would not go away, credit to the Spurs who found buckets, got some stops and played the game even. They competed.
Until that first Warriors’ run. Give interim Warriors coach Mike Brown some credit here, Stephen Curry picked up his third foul in the second quarter and Brown left him in. It was right after that the Warriors 12-0 run started. However, Kevin Durant keyed the run with a huge dunk, momentum he carried over to the third quarter.
“Kevin Durant had his way for a stretch there in transition, he really spread the game open,” Popovich said.
A David West corner three had the Warriors up 64-55 at half. LaMarcus Aldridge had a much better third quarter.
Again, it was just not enough.
And the Spurs just do not have enough in this series.