Undermanned and overwhelmed, Spurs routed by Warriors
OAKLAND, Calif. — With their two leading scorers and starting point guard sidelined Wednesday, the Spurs knew what was left of them would have to be something close to perfect to hang with defending champion Golden State.
They were not. Not even close.
Klay Thompson scored 26 points and Kevin Durant had 15 of his 23 in the first quarter as the Warriors sent the undermanned and overwhelmed Spurs to a 141-102 defeat at Oracle Arena.
With the loss, the Spurs dropped to 0-2 to open their annual rodeo road trip.
With another game looming Thursday night in Portland, the Spurs faced the Warriors without DeMar DeRozan and All-Star center LaMarcus Aldridge, out for what the team called “return from injury management” and “load management” respectively.
Both terms have become NBA code words for “rest.”
Point guard Derrick White remained behind in San Antonio, missing his second consecutive game with plantar fasciitis in his right foot.
Against a Warriors starting five that all made the All-Star team a year ago, the Spurs deployed a makeshift unit of Patty Mills, Marco Belinelli, Rudy Gay, Davis Bertans and Jakob Poeltl.
It was the NBA equivalent of punting on fourth and 20.
None of those Warriors’ starters were needed in the fourth quarter.
The Spurs’ shorthandedness created one of those nights in which one bad stretch could spell doom. For the Spurs, that came in the final 2:50 of the first half.
Mills — who scored a team-high 16 points — had just brought the Spurs within 53-50 on a corner 3-pointer. Four possessions of disaster followed.
First Poeltl turned the ball over, then Belinelli botched a layup. Curry then picked off a pass from Belinelli, and Bryn Forbes turned the ball over looking for Poeltl in the paint.
The Warriors (38-15) turned each of those Spurs’ miscues into fast-break points. After Andre Iguodala dunked to finish an 11-0 Warriors run, the Spurs trailed 64-50.
The great giveaway continued after halftime. When Golden State transformed back-to-back Spurs turnovers into dunks from Draymond Green and Durant, the Warriors were ahead by 20 with 7:59 left in the third.
The rout was on, full steam ahead toward the Spurs’ most lopsided loss of the season in dropping to 32-24.
Golden State scored 49 points in the third quarter — the highest-scoring frame the Spurs have allowed this season — and went 17 of 22 from the field.
Over one stretch from the end of the second quarter to the start of the third, Golden State made 24 of 25.
Midway through the fourth quarter, with the benches cleared, the Warriors pushed their lead to 40.
By that point, the Spurs already could have fired up the charter plane to Portland, where they will search for their first win on the rodeo trip.