Much like game one of the Denver Nuggets series to open the 2013 NBA Playoffs, the Golden State Warriors lost in heartbreaking fashion losing a double-digit lead in the fourth and eventually giving up a wide open three to Manu Ginobili in double overtime giving the San Antonio Spurs a 1-0 lead in the series.
Here’s a look at five keys to the game on Wednesday night to tie the series up at 1-1.
Andrew Bogut’s defense and rebounding will be key for Golden State in game two. He did a great job of staying out of foul trouble and playing physical defense on Tim Duncan. Yet, during the Spurs run to tie the game up in the final minutes of the fourth he was not on the floor and the Warriors missed his presence inside.
The Warriors uncharacteristically missed free throws though the Spurs made an effort to put the worst shooters at the line including Bogut and Richard Jefferson. Carl Landry who shot 81.7 percent in the regular season missed all three of his attempts.
For Klay Thompson he played extremely well and did something he hadn’t done all season when he struggled from beyond the arc, he instead went to his mid-range jumper, posted up the smaller Tony Parker, he drove to the hoop and even when he did miss a three he hustled in for the offensive rebound and scored.
His length on the defensive end caused problems for the Spurs as he contested shots and made it hard for Parker to shoot over him. Thompson did foul out in the fourth and at least three of the fouls he picked up were unnecessary. If he can stay out of foul trouble, post-up the smaller defender and at least make a couple of the wide open threes he missed.
Another key is limiting the unforced turnovers and taking better shots. Jarrett Jack and Stephen Curry combined for nine turnovers. In the final minutes of the fourth and in the overtimes both players settled for jumpers rather than attacking the defense negating a chance to get two of the better free throw shooters on the roster a trip to the free throw line.
What’s the most important aspect for Mark Jackson and Golden State is getting Curry rest. He played for 58 minutes and even when the lead got built up to 18, still didn’t get a breather, which explains the 0-7 shooting during the fourth quarter and overtime.
If the Warriors are to win game two, it’s the defense of Bogut and Thompson, limiting turnovers and not settling for jumpers, making free throws and making sure that Curry gets a breather.