Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson Combine for 63 Points as Warriors Beat Spurs

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistApril 17, 2018

OAKLAND, CA - APRIL 16: Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors handles the ball against the San Antonio Spurs in Game Two of Round One of the 2018 NBA Playoffs on April 16, 2018 at ORACLE Arena in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)
Noah Graham/Getty Images

The San Antonio Spurs are surely getting sick of the Golden State Warriors.  

After sweeping San Antonio in last year's Western Conference Finals, the Warriors seized a 2-0 lead in their first-round series Monday with a 116-101 victory at Oracle Arena. The offense ran through Kevin Durant, as Stephen Curry is still sidelined with a Grade 2 MCL sprain, and the reigning NBA Finals MVP responded with 32 points and six assists on 10-of-19 shooting from the field.

Klay Thompson found his stroke in the second half as well and added 31 points behind five made triples.

The Spurs received an inspired performance from LaMarcus Aldridge (34 points and 12 boards) and kept things close throughout much of the contest after losing by 21 in Game 1, but they didn't have enough weapons to counter the home team.

Almost any team would be fighting an uphill battle against the Warriors, and that is especially the case for a San Antonio roster that has been without Kawhi Leonard for all but nine games this season as he recovers from a quadriceps injury.

The Spurs' only real chance was to limit the high-octane Warriors with their fourth-best defensive rating, per NBA.com, and that is exactly what they did in the early going. Golden State turned it over seven times in the first quarter as the visitors controlled the pace and built a six-point halftime lead after being blown out in Game 1.

Draymond Green's two first-quarter fouls limited his ability to be aggressive in either man-to-man sets or as a roving helper on defense, which opened the door for Aldridge to go to work on the low blocks and high elbow.

The strategy of relying on defense and pounding the ball down to Aldridge worked much better than the first contest, when JaVale McGee helped limit San Antonio's All-Star to just 14 points. But it was just a matter of time before Golden State's litany of weapons overcame a Spurs attack that shot an abysmal 4-of-28 (14.3 percent) from deep.

Durant kept the home team within striking distance with 17 in the first half, when the offense was largely KD or bust, but Thompson started cooking right as the Warriors cut down on their initial turnover problems (15 total).

His lightning-quick catch and release carried his team for stretches and had Curry celebrating from the bench:

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Look at Steph 😂 https://t.co/wZvfUmINct

Thompson scored a quick six points in two possessions early in the fourth to extend the lead from five to 11 and provide the dagger to San Antonio's road efforts. It was just the type of support Durant needed after carrying the offense with his silky smooth stroke and ability to get into the lane with two lengthy strides.

There were some late concerns for the victors, as David West turned his ankle landing on Aldridge's foot and Green picked up a flagrant foul. Head coach Steve Kerr said West "does not feel too bad," per Mark Medina of the Mercury News, while Anthony Slater of The Athletic explained the worry about Green:

Anthony Slater @anthonyVslater

Draymond Green gets whistled for a flagrant penalty 1 after nailing Bertans. Irrelevant for this game, but very relevant in the playoff counter. That's his first flagrant point. You get four before suspension.

Elsewhere, Patty Mills had 21 points as the only Spurs player outside of Aldridge to score more than 12, while Andre Iguodala (14 points, seven rebounds and five assists) led the Warriors' supporting cast.

The series now shifts back to San Antonio for Thursday's Game 3.

It will be up to the Spurs to hold serve at home, otherwise this will be another quick series featuring these two Western Conference foes.


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.