The Golden State Warriors appear to be unstoppable. At 38-6 and with the best defense in the NBA, the San Antonio Spurs were supposed to be the one team that could slow down the Warriors. It wasn't meant to be, though. Not even close. The Warriors ran the Spurs out of the gym -- just like they've done to everyone else in the league -- to win 120-90 to match the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls for the best start in NBA history through 45 games. At 41-4, the Warriors are on pace to make history, not that they haven't already.
Winners of 39 straight at home, the Warriors are inching closer and closer to the NBA record of 44 straight, held by the '95-96 Bulls.
Stephen Curry torched the Spurs in Oakland on Monday. He had 37 points on 12-of-20 shooting and wreaked havoc on the Spurs all night. He was fired up all night, showing emotion with each big bucket -- and there were plenty. Draymond Green did all the little things once again, scoring 11 points with nine rebounds and six assists.
On a night when the Spurs struggled on both ends of the court, Kawhi Leonard led the way with 16 points and five rebounds. With only three players scoring in double figures, it was the Spurs' ugliest showing this season.
The Warriors came out firing just like they did against the Cleveland Cavaliers one week ago. Curry was cooking, hitting shots from deep and leading fast break after fast break as the Warriors jumped out to a 20-12 lead. The Spurs withstood the run and fought back to cut the deficit to six at the end of one.
The Warriors were just getting started, though. Even with Leonard guarding Curry, the Warriors sliced apart the Spurs defense, going for 62 points in the first half -- the most given up by the Spurs this season.
They never slowed. Curry and the Warriors fast pace was too much for the Spurs, who appeared shell shocked much like the Cavaliers. It never got quite as ugly as that one, but it was close -- the Warriors' biggest lead was 33.
Like that Cavaliers game, there's a long way to go this season and a lot can change. But one thing is clear right now: The Warriors are the class of the league.
Here's three things we learned:
1. The NBA's best offense is better than the NBA's best defense for now.
The Warriors found holes in the Spurs defense all night. They shot 51.8 percent form the field and were getting open looks all night. The Spurs were supposed to have a vaunted defense, but the Warriors were getting shots they get against every team in the league -- open looks in the corner and backdoor cuts to the hoop were common place.
Part of this was because the Warriors have players like Green who can make absurd passes into minuscule openings, but the Spurs defense was not at its best. The Warriors put up 62 in the first half and led 95-66 after three. The Spurs were giving up 89.8 points per game heading into Monday's matchup. That number will go up after the ugly loss.
The Warriors, meanwhile, showed some defensive prowess of their own. They forced 25 turnovers and held the Spurs to 41.9-percent shooting. Remember, these Warriors are a complete team.
2. Kawhi Leonard on Stephen Curry is beautiful.
It seemed like the Spurs had an answer. After Curry did what always does by racking up 10 points, three steals and two assists through the first six minutes as the Warriors jumped out to a 20-12 lead, Leonard was assigned the task of guarding Curry. It's not so easy when the best defender in the league sidles up next to you. Things slowed down immediately and the Warriors balked. Leonard was picking Curry up at half court, not letting the NBA's most dangerous shooter get any sort of room. It was only for brief spell, but someone slowed Curry down.
And it seemed like that might be it. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich wasn't going to play his hand was he? He did, though. Leonard came out again to defend Curry. Only it didn't go so well in the second quarter.
Curry wasn't slowed the rest of the night. Watching two masters of their craft is a pleasure, but it was Curry who was the most divine on Monday. No one on the Spurs could slow him, not even the NBA's best defender.
3. Tim Duncan would have helped.
The Spurs were without their old faithful on Monday, and it showed. Missing one of your best players -- even if he is 39 years old -- is a big hit, but the Spurs could have used him most defensively. No one has been able to run with the Warriors, and without Duncan there to clog things up in the lane and help run the Spurs methodical offense, the Spurs had no choice but to try to run with the Warriors, even if it meant their demise.
It's a silly stat, but Duncan is 56-10 in his career against the Warriors. Hopefully he'll be there for the Spurs' next matchup with the Warriors. Unfortunately for NBA fans, the wait for Warriors-Spurs part two has to wait until March 19. Then, the Spurs will have home court advantage. It can't come soon enough.
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Unstoppable: If Kawhi Leonard can't stop Stephen Curry, we're ALL doomed
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