The Golden State Warriors destroyed the San Antonio Spurs by a final count of 132-95. The Spurs were without Tre Jones — and, as it turns out, it’s difficult to win a basketball game without a point guard on the roster. Interesting development, I know.
Golden State led by seven points at the end of the first quarter and expanded their advantage to 16 points by halftime. An early run in the second half put the game to bed for the Warriors. Jordan Poole, of Draymond Green punching bag fame, led the way with 36 points in 29 minutes.
Following the loss, both teams now have a record of 6-8. The Warriors are 0-7 on the road but improved to 6-1 at home.
For the Spurs, this was the first game of a five-game road trip. Next up is another difficult outing Tuesday night in Portland against the Trail Blazers.
Spurs vs. Warriors – Final Grades
This was a game to forget for Johnson. The first half was particularly bad. Johnson played only nine minutes in the first two quarters and his shot-selection was poor and his body language was even worse. He’s almost always bubbling over with enthusiasm and confidence but Johnson was oddly subdued in the first half. What was wrong with him? He landed awkwardly early in the game and came up gimpy — so perhaps it was injury related. The good news is Johnson played better in the second half. But, then again, the game was all but over at that point.
If Vassell wanted a clean look, he had to create it for himself tonight. He authored a couple of slick moves but he never found anything resembling a rhythm. He ended up missing all four of his three-pointers and only totaled six points on 11 shots. One silver lining: Vassell had a few stout defensive plays — which is something not many of his teammates can claim.
The good: Poeltl rebounded well on both ends of the court. He was physical and aggressive on offense when smaller players attempted to defend him. The bad: Poeltl turned in over four times and had three fouls in 20 minutes. His defensive rotations were also a step slow.
With Tre Jones sidelined, Pop opted to start Sochan at point guard. Yes, you read that correctly. The experiment was … interesting. Sochan’s ball-handling was fine and he didn’t look completely out of place bringing the ball up the court, which is a positive sign for a rookie power forward who hasn’t gotten many touches this season. That said, Sochan’s playmaking was nonexistent, which was making things really difficult for his teammates. Defensively, the rookie couldn’t take a break because he was tasked with defending Stephen Curry. Sochan was okay-ish in that matchup but it was mostly a learning experience for him. All in all, this was a great opportunity for the 19-year-old to spread his wings and try new things on an NBA court.
Bates-Diop got the start at power forward after Sochan was moved to point guard. He did well. Bates-Diop hit a couple threes, relentlessly crashed the offensive glass and was active defensively. When things were at their worst, he could usually be found trying to make something out of nothing. Bates-Diop ended up being San Antonio’s closest thing to an effective scorer on this night.
When Sochan went to the bench, Richardson was the team’s point guard. Sadly, he wasn’t any better than Sochan, who was a total newbie at the position. Richardson was shooting way too much and he couldn’t hit the broadside of a barn in the first half — which is not an optimal combination, to say the least. He was better after halftime but the damage had already been done.
McDermott struggled on the defensive end and didn’t have his usual impact on the offensive end. He hit a couple of three-pointers but his off-ball cutting wasn’t sharp and wasn’t causing the Warriors to pay him extra attention.
Bassey’s production was once again impressive. In his numbers, it’s difficult to find anything wrong other than his three turnovers. Passing-wise, he continues to be shockingly advanced for a youthful center who rarely passed in college. The bad news is Bassey really struggled on defense. When the Warriors pulled him out of the paint, he didn’t look comfortable rotating to shooters on the perimeter. Yes, that’s a lot to ask (honestly, it’s probably too much to ask at this point of his development) … but it’ll be in his job description going forward. Overall, Bassey still looked good but this game provided a handful of teaching moments for him.
Roby had some bright spots against Golden State. Granted, it was a low bar to clear, but he was the team’s best passer tonight. His athleticism made him useful in transition. Unfortunately, Roby’s defense was iffy at best and he wasn’t shooting it straight enough to spark the Spurs.
Hall is a weird case. I thought he looked really bad in summer league and just as bad in the preseason. But now that I see him play in the NBA, I understand why the Spurs have given him multiple contracts. He’s big for a guard, he has court vision, he has an innate sense of when to pass and his shooting stroke looks decent. I still have grave concerns about his lack of athleticism but it’s interesting that Hall looks better playing against advanced competition. Is it because he’s a high IQ player who can’t shine in casual settings? That might be it. I still say it’s a long shot he carves out an NBA career but I do see the intrigue now.
Dieng played nine minutes of garbage time and spent most of his time either shooting threes or trying to rebound.
Pop deciding to start Sochan at point guard while also asking him to defend Curry was certifiably insane — but I loved it. The rookie doesn’t seem to back down from challenges so giving him an opportunity to learn on the fly should help him down the line. If Pop can unlock playmaking ability from Sochan, that’d be absolutely huge for his development and would give him a chance of becoming a star. I thought the rest of Pop’s decisions were fine. However, I think Hall should have been given more minutes. The Spurs desperately needed passing and ball-handling and it looks like Hall can supply those things. And if he can’t, oh well, the Spurs were getting blown out anyways. This would have been a great time to let Hall play 30 minutes so San Antonio could see if he’s worth keeping around.