Despite the fact that a Golden State victory was all but imminent, the opposing team made each game hard on them. Las Vegas didn't give the Spurs much of a chance: While San Antonio entered the playoffs with 100-1 odds of winning an National Basketball Association title, the Warriors had 6-5 odds. Then, I watched as the Cavaliers went on to the NBA Finals, only to be ousted as championships by the San Antonio Spurs.
"It's bad, because nobody would like to be in this situation for obvious reasons", said Spurs interim head coach Ettore Messina, who will fill in for Popovich for a third straight game tonight. And while the San Antonio Spurs would claw their way through five games, this was always going to be the end result. The Spurs lost their streak of 50-win seasons. The question for the Spurs is, do they have anything left to push this series further or was Game 4 their last hurrah? What lies in store for the team is anyone's guess, but a markedly different roster may be in store for 2018-19 in San Antonio. Golden State led 22-20 after one quarter.
"We have to do a good job on Rondo and Jrue Holiday and those guys, as well", Durant said late Tuesday night. The took an 11-point lead into halftime and built it to 14 heading into the fourth quarter.
The Spurs nearly managed to fight their way back into this game as the Warriors' offense floundered in the fourth quarter, but Kevin Durant knocked down a dagger with 36 seconds remaining to put Golden State up by four points.
The Warriors are also the defending champions this season and they bested the Pels in their regular season series 3 - 1. Even without Stephen Curry on the court for this Western Conference opening-round series, the Warriors have looked pretty darn impressive, especially on the defensive end. They shot 23.3 percent (7/30) from the three-point line. Golden State sank 15 of 17 free throws and turned the ball over 16 times in the game while winning the rebounding battle 61-34, including 24 offensive boards.
Sometimes, it works so perfectly that you wonder why the Warriors don't score 150 points every game and why Kevin Durant doesn't score about 100 of those himself. Unfortunately for the Spurs, Aldridge's singular success was outmatched by two of Golden State's All-Stars-Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant combined for 63 points on 39 shots including 16 4th quarter points from Klay. He grabbed a playoff-career high 19 rebounds in Game 5 after getting 18 his previous outing.
Coach Steve Kerr challenged the Warriors to make "simpler passes" - or "keep hitting singles" as he put it in baseball terms - to avoid silly miscues after a sloppy showing in Sunday's 103-90 loss that forced the series back to the Bay Area.
Unlike when the Warriors committed seven turnovers in the first five minutes, the Warriors stormed out to a 7-0 quarter lead about 95 seconds into the game. Yet Kerr and his players insisted all along they would find another level and groove when the stage got bigger in April - and they were spot on in those sentiments. Will the Warriors close the door at home?