Where: Oracle Arena, Oakland
OAKLAND – San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich expected more from his ballclub Tuesday night in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals. Golden State Warriors acting coach Mike Brown was happy to see his team stroll to a blowout victory, but he was prepared to head to San Antonio fully convinced it wouldn’t occur again.
The Warriors took full advantage of Kawhi Leonard’s absence, bombing the uninspired Spurs with 18 3-pointers en route to a 136-100 trouncing that gave Golden State a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series. Stephen Curry scored 15 of his game-high 29 points in a 33-16 first-quarter run-away, allowing the Warriors to hold the serve at home that they earned by running up the NBA’s best regular-season record.
“Steve (Kerr) told our guys we’ve got to come out and play with a sense of urgency from the beginning. We can’t ease into the game,” Brown said of his ailing boss’ address to the team in the locker room before the game. “Give all of our guys credit.
“And that was the message to the team afterward, too, going into Game 3. Think Game 1 was tough? Oh, down in San Antonio, it’s going to be more than a dogfight. Game 3’s going to be tough for us.”
The Spurs get three days off to lick their wounds and hope Leonard, who sprained a previously injured left ankle in Game 1, can be ready for Game 3 on Saturday.
Leonard or no Leonard, Popovich insisted the series is over if his team doesn’t get an attitude adjustment.
“I don’t think we believed,” he said. “I’m disappointed. The only way I can process this is I think it’s not about the O’s and X’s or rebounds or turnovers or anything like that.
“You have to believe. I don’t think as a group they really did, which means probably a little bit feeling sorry for themselves psychologically. It showed in the lack of edge, intensity … That was disappointing.”
Two days after falling behind by 25 points in the first half to a Leonard-led team, the Warriors had a 25-point lead of their own in the 16th minute of the rematch en route to a 72-44 halftime advantage.
The Spurs were never appreciably closer in the second half.
“We felt sorry for ourselves,” Popovich said. “We need to get slapped and come back and play Game 3 and see who we are.
“All I care about is the next game, and we’ll see how they come out. Whether they win or they lose, I want to see how they play. If they do the right things and play the game and obey the basketball gods, they’ll have a great chance to win.”
Curry used 6-for-9 shooting on 3-pointers to lead seven Warriors scorers in double figures. He also found time for seven rebounds, a game-high seven assists and three steals in 31 minutes.
Five other Warriors connected on multiple 3-pointers in an 18-for-37 barrage that dwarfed the Spurs’ 8-for-23 success from beyond the arc.
“It’s fun to watch. (Curry) gets everybody else open once he gets it going like that,” said Kevin Durant, who added 16 points to the Warriors’ cause. “If he’s got it going, give him the ball.”
Draymond Green contributed 13 points, a team-high nine rebounds, six assists, two steals and two blocked shots to Golden State’s 10th consecutive postseason win this season.
Only eight other NBA teams have ever opened a postseason 10-0.
Warriors reserve Patrick McCaw took advantage of 27 minutes of playing time to chip in with 18 points.
“When the game starts, it’s whoever wants to grab that momentum early and set the tone for the game, and I think we did that a little bit better tonight. So that was huge,” Curry said of the Warriors, who had 39 assists on their 50 field goals, and shot 56.2 percent from the field. “You don’t want to give them any reason and any life.”
Jonathon Simmons, starting in place of Leonard, had a team-high 22 points for the Spurs, who fell behind 2-0 in a playoff series for the first time since being swept by the Phoenix Suns in the Western semifinals in 2010.
Davis Bertans dropped in 13 points, and Dewayne Dedmon had nine points to go with a team-high nine rebounds off the bench for the Spurs, whose reserves outscored their starters 53-47.
“We can’t necessarily play any worse than we did tonight,” point guard Patty Mills said of the Spurs, who made only 37 percent of their shots. “We’ll just lay it out there Game 3 on our home floor.”
NOTES: The Warriors have won the last nine playoff series in which they took a 2-0 lead. The last time they lost a series when up 2-0 was against the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1969 Western semifinals. … The Spurs haven’t rebounded from a 2-0 deficit to win a series since overcoming the New Orleans Hornets in seven games in the Western semifinals in 2008. … Before the game, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich labeled SF Kawhi Leonard (sprained left ankle) “questionable” for Game 3 on Saturday. … The Warriors played without SF Andre Iguodala (sore left knee), then lost C Zaza Pachulia to a heel injury in the first quarter. X-rays on Pachulia’s heel were negative, but he was scheduled for an MRI exam on Wednesday nonetheless. … Warriors coach Mike Brown had a run-in with the police escorting the Spurs team bus while entering the Oracle Arena parking lot, an incident witnessed by Popovich. “Somebody’s got to tell him,” Popovich noted in a rare light moment, “if the California Highway Patrol tells you to move over, you move over.”