NBA: Curry sinks Spurs in hurry

San Antonio's Dewayne Dedmon trying, but failing to stop Golden State's Stephen Curry driving past him. The Warriors guard was hard to handle on a night when he hit 15 points in 12 first-quarter minutes
San Antonio's Dewayne Dedmon trying, but failing to stop Golden State's Stephen Curry driving past him. The Warriors guard was hard to handle on a night when he hit 15 points in 12 first-quarter minutes. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Guard's hot hand gives West defending champs 2-0 lead over Leonard-less side

OAKLAND (California) • San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich expected much more from his team on Tuesday in Game Two of National Basketball Association's Western Conference finals.

Golden State Warriors' acting coach Mike Brown was happy to see his team stroll to a victory.

The Warriors took full advantage of Kawhi Leonard's absence, bombing the uninspired Spurs with 18 three-pointers en route to a 136-100 trouncing that gave them 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 blitz, allowing the Warriors to hold the serve at home 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 coach's address to the team in the locker room before the game.

The Spurs get three days off to lick their wounds and hope that Leonard, who sprained an injured left ankle in Game One, can be ready for Game Three on Saturday.

Popovich insisted the series is over if his team do not get an attitude adjustment.

"I don't think we believed," he said. "I'm disappointed. 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."

  • 18 

    Number of three-pointers Golden State hit against San Antonio, with the game's highest scorer, Stephen Curry, accounting for six of them.

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 16 minutes on Tuesday en route to a 72-44 half-time advantage.

The Spurs were never appreciably closer in the second half.

Popovich said: "We need to get slapped and come back and play Game Three and see who we are. All I care about is the next game, and we'll see how they come out."

Curry was six-for-nine shooting on three-pointers to lead seven Warriors 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 three-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 blocks to Golden State's 10th consecutive post-season win.

Only eight other NBA teams have ever opened a post-season 10-0.

"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. "You don't want to give them any reason and any life."

Jonathon Simmons had a team-high 22 points for the Spurs, who fell behind 0-2 in a play-off series for the first time since being swept by Phoenix in the West semi-finals in 2010.

"We can't necessarily play any worse than we did tonight," point guard Patty Mills said of the Spurs, who made only 37 per cent of their shots.

REUTERS


BOSTON V CLEVELAND

Eastern Conference Finals, Game One: Singtel TV Ch110, 8.30am

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 18, 2017, with the headline 'Curry sinks Spurs in hurry'. Print Edition | Subscribe