Tuesday night was supposed to mark the beginning of the Golden State Warriors’ redemption after historically blowing a 3-1 lead in last year’s NBA Finals. Instead, the San Antonio Spurs were the Warriors’ kryptonite in a stunning 129-100 Spurs victory that turned Kevin Durant’s Warriors debut into a nightmare.
In the Spurs’ first game of the post-Tim Duncan era, Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge both put forth monster efforts. Leonard scored a career-high 35 points on 10-of-21 shooting, and he went a whopping 15-of-15 from the free throw line. Aldridge added 26 points and 10 boards.
Leonard also had five steals, with one of them turning into a power slam on the other end:
Leonard and Aldridge got plenty of help, and much of it came from a surprising source in Jonathon Simmons. Simmons came off the bench to score 20 points on 8-of-13 shooting as San Antonio’s bench destroyed Golden State’s punchless second unit by a 38-point margin (54-16). Simmons had several highlight-reel plays, including a chase-down block of Stephen Curry:
And a poster dunk on JaVale McGee to put a capper on the blowout:
The Spurs also pounded the Warriors on the boards, grabbing 21 offensive boards, scoring 24 second chance points and winning the overall battle 55-35.
Golden State got decent performances from several of its stars. Durant had 27 points, 10 rebounds and four assists in his debut, while Stephen Curry had 26 points. Draymond Green added 18 points, 12 rebounds, six assists and five steals. Oh, and a technical foul for good measure.
But Klay Thompson had a rough night, and the defense was a mess all game. The rebounding and bench problems were already mentioned, and those will be things to watch as the Warriors move forward. This performance obviously isn’t indicative of how they’ll play all season, but there are a few cracks in the armor that’ll need to be patched up.