The Spurs get 40 points per game from a deep bench and lead the league in free throws attempted, where they convert at a high percentage. The spurs shot 27-31 from the line to the Warriors 11-18. Not only do the Warriors fail to get to the line, but they shoot poorly with the few attempts they get.
The Spurs do all the things a championship caliber team should do. They play defense, they move the ball, they attack the rim, shoot high percentage shots, and get to the foul line. And they are deep. They have several guys who can take over: Ginobilli, Jefferson, Parker, Duncan, and George Hill can be very good.
Let's say the Warriors didn't commit a dozen or so inexplicable touch fouls (they did), they still would have lost because of their inability to earn trips to the line. That's what really separates the Warriors from playoff caliber teams. The playoff caliber teams can earn free throws when it counts, the Warriors haven't shown that. Playoff teams count on consistent production from the bench, the Warriors are happy with anything they can get from Reggie Williams, Dan Gadzuric, or Vlad Rad.
The Warriors should get a boost with the return of Louis Amundson and Ekpe Udoh, but they really miss a player like Corey Maggette who can attack the rim and get to the line.
Oh yeah, Tim Duncan went for 15 points, 18 rebounds, and 11 assists, and the sneakiest triple-double I've ever witnessed. Very Tom Brady. Warriors fans are sick of the Spurs kicking Golden State's butt every year...sorry 'We Believers', doesn't look like times are a'changin' anytime soon.
Are the Spurs better than the Lakers? At the moment, yes, but so much can change between now and April. If the impact players on both teams stay healthy, I still like the Lakers in playoff competition. If the Lakers go though Pau Gasol on offense, no one has an answer for the Spaniard, just so long as Kobe isn't a volume shooter.
I can't wait to see Drama Queen James' return to Cleveland tomorrow. The tepid Heat should be able to handle the Cavs, but the atmosphere inside Quicken Loans Arena is the focal point of the show.