The dub stands for “Warriors,” but also for “Winners.”
The San Antonio Spurs might have lost the Western Conference finals series in the first game, squandering a 23-point lead midway through the third quarter. Sure, they are playing without Tony Parker. Yes, Kawhi Leonard went out after re-injuring his ankle. But giving up 23 points in less than 20 minutes is still near-impossible, and resulted in a historic win for the Warriors.
Ailing head coach Steve Kerr gave the Dubs a passionate pep talk at halftime, but the team currently led by assistant Mike Brown was still down big midway through the third period. Leonard, who to that point had scored 26 points for the Spurs and represented a plus-21 differential when on the court, went out when he landed awkwardly on his tender left ankle. He never returned and is questionable for Game Two on Tuesday at the Oracle on the Bay.
It is only one game, but the Spurs had this one after bolting to a 25-point lead in the first half and 20 at the break. While Leonard’s loss slowed their offense, it was not responsible for Stephen Curry and Co. shooting 58 percent for the rest of the game. That was the difference, because the biggest comeback in a conference final in 15 years can only happen when both teams contribute to the rally.
The Warriors kept firing away despite the deficit, and eventually the ball began to drop. You can’t rely on stopping them over 48 minutes; you have to outscore them. They needed every one of the combined 74 points that Curry and Kevin Durant put up, plus a few fortunate bounces at the end. The Spurs may think they can play with the Dubs, but they also have two long days to lament the game on the road that got away.
Meanwhile, playing without their head coach on the bench has to be a factor for the Warriors. Kerr is out indefinitely as battles migraines and nausea stemming from back surgery almost two years ago, but addressed the team at halftime with a succinct speech on playing its game, which is to run, run, run. And the Dubs ran off to what may mean more than one loss to the Spurs.