The Flappy Falcon

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Warriors Try to Claim #1 Seed for Playoffs

Image Courtesy of the NBA

Image Courtesy of the NBA

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The Warriors are having a great season at the moment, and they have the best record in the Western Conference.  Yet, as great a season as they are having, the Spurs are also playing great and still have a chance to clinch the #1 seed and drop the Warriors to the #2 seed. The #1 seed is important to the Warriors because in the championship the #1 seed gets to play on their home court and the Warriors want to play in Oracle, because they get beat by the Spurs a lot in San Antonio. So, when they played the Spurs on March 29, 2017, in San Antonio, it was an intense game because not only was the #1 seed up for grabs, but the Spurs had just beaten the Warriors a few weeks earlier.

The Warriors lost at San Antonio 107-85 on march 11, 2017 for their third consecutive defeat this season to the Spurs. This was the infamous “rest” game when Warriors coach Steve Kerr, already without injured Durant, rested All-Stars Curry, Thompson and Draymond Green, plus sixth man Andre Iguodala. The Spurs three point percentage for this game was 44.4% while the Warriors was only 29.4%.  The only Warrior who shone that night was Ian Clark, who scored a career-high 36 points.

Image Courtesy of the NBA

The March 29th rematch would be different.  All the Warriors would play.  That game was Golden State’s eighth game in eight cities over a 13-day span — and exhausting trip.  It was also the second of a road back-to-back — meaning the Warriors played the night before; the Spurs had the night off to rest up for the Warriors. The Spurs dominated in the opening quarter, jumping out to a 22 point lead.  At that point, you thought the Spurs would kill them, but the Warriors came back up and dominated them for the next three quarters.  They were within three by the half, led at the end of three and ran away with it to win 110-98. They outscored the Spurs 93-65 over the last three periods — total domination! The Spurs outrebounded the Warriors had 53 to 43 and made 21 out of 26 free throws compared to the Warriors 11 out of 11.  So how did the Warriors win?  The Warriors had a lot of three pointers made that game compared to the Spurs; making 13 out of 26 (50%) compared to the Spurs 9 out of 24 (37.5%).  This is a big deal because the Spurs are the best 3-point shooting team in the NBA and the Warriors beat them at it.  Those four more made 3-pointers were the winning margin for the Warriors.

Image Courtesy of the NBA

Each team has its superstars, with the Spurs K. Leonard being in the MVP conversation for this year and Steph Curry having won the last two MVP’s.  In a game this big, it is important for the stars to shine.  Curry made 9 out of 20 shots, including 4 out of 8 3 pointers to finish with 29 points.  K. Leonard scored 19, making only 7 out of 20 shots and not making a single 3 pointer.  So, Curry outshone Leonard, which helped the Warriors win.

For the Warriors, this was the most intense game of the season because the Warriors needed that win vs the Spurs to be in the lead for the number one seed. Warriors: 60-14, No. 1 in the Western Conference, 2½ games ahead of San Antonio. Spurs: 57-16, No. 2 in the Western Conference, 2½ games behind the Warriors.  With how poorly the Warriors have played in San Antonio in the past — they lost over 30 games in a row in San Antonio until last year — it was not only important to get the #1 seed, but also for the Warriors confidence.  Now they know they can go to San Antonio and beat the Spurs when the playoffs come around.

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