No Lead is Safe
The Golden State Warriors defeated the San Antonio Spurs in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals yesterday, after being down 23 points with a little over eight minutes to go in the third quarter. Many people knew early on that the Spurs lead wasn’t safe, but an unfortunate injury to Kawhi Leonard eventually lend a helping hand. So the question must be asked, is any lead against the Golden State Warriors safe?
First off, we must understand one thing. Even if Kawhi Leonard stayed in the game, the Warriors were going to make a run. Now you can debate whether or not the Spurs would’ve still won the game, which they probably would have, but the run was starting to happen while Kawhi was still in the game. Steph Curry had knocked down three quick three-pointerss in the beginning of the third, and then Kawhi went down. After that, the Warriors went on a huge 18-0 run and took advantage. By the start of the fourth quarter they were only down nine and gained a lead with a little over four minutes in the game. The Warriors eventually pulled out a win, but even with Kawhi’s injury, here’s a few reasons why the Spurs (or any team for that matter) leads are never safe.
When the Warriors are focused they are one of the best defense teams in the league (1st in Defensive Rating) and that defense transitions to offense. When Draymond Green focuses and channels his energy (not doing dumb things to get himself technicals), he anchors the Warriors defense. Warriors’ runs usually starts with their defense because they get easy baskets off of the turnovers they force. Defense leads to offense and the Warriors defense is elite.
Klay Thompson, Steph Curry and Kevin Durant
The day when these three players are all on fire in the same game, will be a game where the other team may as well go home. We have seen glimpses of it, but they haven’t all been hot in one game. However, one of them usually is. These three players are also great shooters and can single handedly go on runs by themselves. Curry scored 9 points in the first four minutes of the third quarter and scored 19 in the period. Klay Thompson has scored 60 points while only holding the ball for a total of 120 seconds and has scored 37 points in a single quarter before. Kevin Durant is one of the best scorers in NBA history. You see how this all seems unfair? Well it is because these players, along with their great role players, have evaporated leads like yesterday all season.
Ball Movement/ Offense Efficiency
Aside from their stellar defense and having the three best shooters in the game; it’s the Warriors’ ball movement that keeps the runs going. There are moments where the Warriors are on runs and Curry, Klay, and Durant aren’t even in the game. The Warriors ball movement gives the other players opportunity to score which can keep the run going when the second unit for both teams play.
The Warriors are one of the few teams where the leads are never safe. Not only because they have the weapons to come back, but how quickly they can do it. The Spurs should’ve won that game last night even with Kawhi Leonard out, but with the Warriors no lead is ever safe and that’s why they are one of the best teams in the NBA.