The Warriors stayed close most of the way through, but the Spurs bench is what set them apart, as they outscored the Warriors bench 46-14. Anyone who has watched the W's this season knows they have a nice starting five, four of whom can score 20 plus on any given night (one of them averages 26), but they lack the fire power off the bench to hang with deeper teams like the Spurs, Lakers, or even the Thunder.
OKC has James Harden and Serge Ibaka to plug in off the bench. The Mavs (when healthy) are an elite team because they can bring a player like Jason Terry off the bench. The Lakers bring in Lamar Odom, who would start for just about every other team in the league. In order to compete for a championship, you have to have a super sixth man who can let go of his ego and be ready to dominate against an opponent's second string players.
The Warriors could have beat the Spurs, but it would have taken a perfect game. That means no touch fouls, high shooting percentage, and forcing the Spurs into more turnovers. Also, the Warriors needed to limit the free throw disparity. Didn't happen. I'm sick of the phrase "out-classed". It's like saying the Warriors may as well just forfeit before playing becasue they aren't even an NBA team...Competition against the Spurs will help the Warriors improve, win or lose.
Let's just say this: the Spurs are a team, along with the Lakers, who are suited to compete for a championship. Each player on that team plays within himself. They don't take foolish shots, they show patience, and they run the plays Pop calls. They space the floor, wait for screens, time their cuts perfectly, shoot in rhythm , and they all have nice midrange games. I know people are sick of them, but I would like to see the Spurs win a ring over the Lakers, Heat, Celtics, or any other team that improves through free agency. The spurs are home grown and let their play do the talking.
Warriors fans should still be encouraged. David Lee is hot right now and looks back to form from that elbow infection injury. Steph Curry, if he can stay on the floor and out of foul trouble, is heating up, too. So the Warriors have lost two straight. The loss to the Clippers could have easily been a win (if you let Blake Griffin shoot 10 three pointers like the one he made to seal the game Jan. 22, I honestly think he'd make two..maybe). And the Spurs...let's just move on.
The next game against the Hornets will be tough as New Orleans has won nine in a row. The Warriors beat the 'Bugs' in N.O. so they have to be confident, yet they need to find some production off the bench. Reggie Williams is capable, but cold lately. Vlad Radmanovic has also cooled off from his Dec.-Jan. hot streak. Maybe Ekpe Udoh can give the Warriors some offense.