Spurs-Warriors Game 2 Give-and-Go Preview

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After one of the more amazing playoff games you’ll ever see on Monday night, the San Antonio Spurs and Golden State Warriors meet up again on Wednesday night to try and come somewhere close to that Game 1 magic. Well, that’s not really what they’re gunning for, but I’m sure that’s what we’re all hoping for.

To talk a little bit about that Game 1 and preview Game 2 of this Western Conference Semifinal series, J.M. Poulard from ESPN TrueHoop Network member Warriors World stopped by to chat.

Andrew McNeill, 48 Minutes of Hell: So best place to start, what were your thoughts after Monday night’s Game 1?

J.M. Poulard, Warriors World: For roughly 44 minutes, the Golden State Warriors were able to play the game on their terms. They made a few mistakes here and there, but ultimately looked like the better team. And then, they completely melted down. To be fair, when a team self-combusts in the playoffs, the team that made a huge run to get back in the game rarely gets enough credit. There’s something to be said about San Antonio’s resolve. They needed The Dubs to falter, but they certainly took advantage of every break that came their way.

AM: So do you look at the loss optimistically or do you see it as Golden State gave the Spurs their best shot and San Antonio still somehow came away with a win?

JMP: I hate to use Game 1 as the barometer, but quite frankly it’s impossible not to. Golden State played hungrier from the start and looked sharper as well. However, when they truly needed to execute, they completely broke down whereas San Antonio stayed true to their core beliefs as a team and that allowed them to come back. The series will come down to experience and execution. The experienced teams typically do a great job on this front and that couldn’t have been clearer than in Game 1. So their best shot was not enough essentially.

AM: Did you have a prediction for how this series was going to unfold before Game 1?

JMP: I had the Spurs in six games

AM: Does Game 1 change that at all?

JMP: I was initially tilting towards Spurs in five, but I still feel confident this series goes six games.

AM: I’m in the same boat. I figured Spurs in six, but was thinking five might be more likely. Now I’m thinking six is a solid bet.

JMP: There’s one component that should trouble the Warriors: I didn’t expect them to have ball security issues against the Spurs and they did in Game 1. That negates their rebounding advantage and could shorten up the series. If they clean it up though, we should be in for quite a treat.

AM: How did you feel about Stephen Curry playing the entire game (save for four seconds)? Was that the right move or, in retrospect, should Mark Jackson have rested him at some point?

JMP: Mark Jackson is in the same hole Erik Spoelstra was in 2011 with LeBron James. He simply felt as though his guys would fall apart with Steph on the bench. With that said, the Warriors had a 12-point lead entering the final period, which would have been the ideal time for Curry to get a breather. He never got a rest and it cost the team.

AM: Despite the outcome, were you able to actually enjoy the game for what it was?

JMP: ABSOLUTELY. The game was a complete joy to watch. Curry put on an incredible shooting exhibition, while San Antonio’s never-say-die attitude was simply amazing.

Complete this sentence for me: In Game 1, Manu was….

AM: …his entire career wrapped up into one night.

You got the good, the bad, the clutch, the mesmerizing, the inefficient. It was everything we’ve come to expect from Manu.

Side note, I don’t know if anyone’s told this story yet, but it happened earlier this season, I believe. Manu’s got a couple of twin boys, like two years old, and they hang around the locker room after the games when Manu’s about to leave. They were running around one night and one of the media members asked Stephen Jackson what it would be like with two Ginobilis in the NBA.

Jackson looked at him and said, “Man, that’s a lot of turnovers.”

JMP: LMAO. That’s hilarious. Leave it up to Stephen Jackson to come up with something so poignant.

By the way, for some reason no one mentions the Spurs are currently undefeated in the postseason so far. In your estimation, their first loss happens when?

AM: I’m guessing in Game 3 or 4. I think the AT&T Center crowd is going to be pretty amped on Wednesday night after what happened in Game 1. Tim Duncan should be over his flu-like symptoms (or close to it), Tiago Splitter might be back in the lineup, Stephen Curry shouldn’t score 44 points again and Gregg Popovich should make some adjustments to free Tony Parker from the shackles of Klay Thompson.

I’m expecting the Spurs to take Game 2. After that, I expect Golden State to take at least one of Game 3 or 4.

Speaking of Stephen Curry and the barrage he put on the Spurs in that third quarter, you watch him on a regular basis. I try to catch him whenever I can, but clearly don’t see him as much as you. Where does that third quarter rank in his all-time supernova moments power rankings?

JMP: If we’re going postseason, it’s #1. If we’re going with all-time, that’s a really tough one. He had 54 points in late February at MSG and poured in 23 points on 7-for-10 shooting in the first quarter. Mind you, I actually had to look it up. That performance came as a result of Steph making open shots whereas in Game 1 against the Spurs he was making a plethora of shots off the dribble.

AM: I figured the MSG night would take the top spot, but I wasn’t sure what else fell around it. That third quarter against the Nuggets in the last series was really good as well.

JMP: He did the same thing against the Nuggets in the first round where he had a few really special third quarters. Steph’s performance in the playoffs is eerily reminiscent of an underdog in the NCAA tourney powered by one guy.

AM: Right. So do you have a general feeling for how Game 2 will go?

JMP: Golden State probably comes out with the same type of energy, but the Spurs will match it early this time around and won’t face a huge deficits. San Antonio’s layoff killed their rhythm a bit but now that they are back to playing, Popovich should have his troops ready from the outset. Spurs by seven.

AM: Okay, last thing before I let you go. I need a random prediction for Game 2 from you. Something that has nothing to do with the final score.

JMP: I’ll give you three.

AM: Just like Steph Curry.

JMP: Mark Jackson will give a terrific speech to his guys that will be shown. Klay Thompson will spend the night in foul trouble (again). Tim Duncan will solve Andrew Bogut.


  • Andrew G

    “Mark Jackson will give a terrific speech to his guys that will be shown.”

    I KNOW he wanted to continue that thought with some good ole’ cynicism, but didn’t. The nicest way I could put it is: Jackson is like a reverend who gives great, inspiring speeches, but doesn’t know a thing about the Bible. His clergy quietly hands him some cue cards with verses to allude to, but for all he knows he could be quoting Dr. Suess and not know the difference.

  • http://profiles.google.com/lordxar Ray Briggs II

    Great article. Looking forward to being at Game 2 tonight.

  • Tyler

    Jackson has proven to be a pretty solid coach. He’s turned what was a joke of a defense in previous years into half decent (and that’s without a healthy Bogut for most of the year), and he gets his guys to play hard every night. All in all, you could do a lot worse.

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  • idahospur

    Its great having so many articles being posted. Its hard to contain my excitement for tonight, and future games during the day, so its nice to have something ready to read. Living in Idaho, its sometimes difficult to find out whats going on in San Antonio and I always enjoy having this perspective.

    GO SPURS GO!!

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