When Steph Curry and Klay Thompson look like mortals, the truth shines through. The Golden State Warriors have a bright future, but they currently miss having a healthy David Lee in their lineup almost as much as Kevin Durant misses Russell Westbrook. Not because of his defense, but because of his versatile scoring prowess. With the Splash Brothers went through a dry spell, Jarrett Jack and Harrison Barnes picked up the baton, the Warriors couldn’t establish an inside presence. Curry and Thompson compensated for the size disparity between them and the San Antonio Spurs their hot shooting, but predictably it’s caught up with them.
The Spurs continued attacking Golden State’s weakness on the inside, collapsing the defense and kicking out to wide-open shooters like Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard.
Offensively, San Antonio’s offense operated from the inside-out. Defensively, they wrapped the lane in a protective bubble that forced Golden State to take contested jumpers.
While Steph Curry was clanking six out of his seven three-pointers, Tony Parker was burrowing into the paint. It’s not that Curry doesn’t have the instincts and savvy to navigate the lane, it’s just that the Spurs interior is defended by a pair of legit, traditional 7-footers and Curry is managing a balky ankle.
Conversely, Golden State’s only available legit big man is Andrew Bogut. In Game 4, Duncan’s 143rd double-double tied Wilt Chamberlain for the second-most in NBA playoff history. Replacing the league’s leading double-double machine, Carl Landry scored 16 points, but only two of those came in the lane and he hasn’t recorded a double-double since March.
Landry, Festus Ezeli and Andris Biedrins aren’t cutting it against San Antonio. The Spurs post players are undersized and they play subpar post defense–even with Lee in the lineup.
There’s nothing they can do to remedy that during the postseason, but hope their shooting famine ends, while Curry and Thompson make it rain in Game 6 to extend their season to a do-or-die seventh game.