Game 2 goes to Golden State, on the backs of an unconscious Klay Thompson and some crucial makes from Steph Curry. If not for a once-in-a-decade San Antonio comeback, they would be up 2-0. They should be. But the what-ifs don't matter if one what-if is legit—if the Warriors, on the strength of their fearsome backcourt, are really that much better than the Spurs.
"I think for seven-and-a-half quarters, we've played better basketball than they have," Curry said.
This one had the feel of another collapse. A 19-point lead late in the third was cut to six with four minutes left. But Curry, who had a relatively rough night (7-20 shooting for 22 points, half his Game 1 total), scored five straight to seal it.
It was Curry's backcourt partner, though, who had his podium game. Klay Thompson had 34 points and 14 rebounds, and oh by the way, Elias says the only guards to do that in a playoff game are Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and Vince Carter.
Thompson did his damage early, scoring 29 in the first half, 17 in the second quarter. He was 8-9 from beyond the arc. It looked like—well, it looked like all those Steph Curry highlight reels that show him lighting it up for a quarter at a time.
"I thought it was polite of them to at least take turns and not be on fire on the same night," Gregg Popovich deadpanned.
Thompson's defense has been there all series, matched up against the wily Tony Parker. On Monday, Parker scored 16 of his 28 points after Thompson fouled out in the fourth. Last night, Parker was held to 7-17 from the field. Though they're built around shooting, the Warriors can get back up the court—as Manu Ginobili said last night, "they're younger and more athletic than us."
Younger and more athletic than just about any roster left. "We were set up to win in the regular season and in the playoffs," Mark Jackson said. "This brand of basketball wins games." He's talking about the shooting—about the Warriors' backcourt's ability go on a run at any given moment, even when points are dear. But the youth matters. Golden State is built for this two-month grind, and built to get better, stay fresher as the playoffs go on. Maybe they're too young now, too prone to things like blowing Monday's game. But here's a terrifying thought for an mostly aging, parity-stricken Western Conference: each Warriors win is another game of playoff experience for next year. And the years after that.