OAKLAND, Calif. -- The San Antonio Spurs opted against resting their starters to maintain a rhythm heading into the playoffs, but the Golden State Warriors wasted no time knocking them off beat with a 112-101 shellacking at Oracle Arena.
A dislocated left pinkie finger suffered by LaMarcus Aldridge in the first quarter set an ominous tone from the onset, as the Warriors immediately took advantage of the situation by running off 14 quick points to put San Antonio in a hole from which it would never recover.
Here are a few quick-hitting thoughts from the game as San Antonio falls to 65-13:
Aldridge injury hurt deep: Aldridge attempted a reverse layup with 3:18 left in the opening quarter, only to have it stuffed by Andrew Bogut. During the play, Aldridge dislocated his right pinkie finger. So Spurs trainer Will Sevening popped the dislocated finger back into place, and taped it to his right ring finger before giving him the go-ahead to return to action. Unfortunately for the Spurs, the damage was already done. Aldridge left the game with 3:11 left in the first quarter with San Antonio trailing 15-13. While Sevening worked on Aldridge's injured finger, the Spurs connected on only 2 of 11 shots, and Golden State quickly embarked on a 14-2 run to take a 29-15 lead with 9:38 left in the first half.
Aldridge returned with 8:51 left in the first half. But by then, San Antonio had fallen behind 29-18.
Considering Aldridge's performance in San Antonio's previous win over the Warriors, he's a major factor. Aldridge poured in 26 points to go with 13 rebounds in the team's win over the Warriors on March 19. The last time the teams squared off in Oracle Arena, Aldridge scored only five points to go with three rebounds in a 30-point loss.
Playoff preview? If this matchup provided a glimpse of what might transpire between these teams in the postseason, expect plenty of quick runs, such as the one that put San Antonio in the hole after the Aldridge injury. Despite falling behind by 15 points in the first half, the Spurs clawed back into contention with a couple of Danny Green 3-pointers. Green's last 3-pointer of the first half pulled San Antonio to within six points (46-40). Then, in a span of 48.6 seconds, Harrison Barnes buried a pair of 3-pointers to push Golden State's lead to 12 at the half (52-40).
Bench the bench? San Antonio's bench entered the matchup ranked No. 3 in the NBA in scoring. After all, it's the same bench that racked up 70 points during a January rout of the Utah Jazz.
But against the Warriors, the Spurs bench had contributed only three points by the start of the third quarter and finished the quarter with 20 after a late surge.
What's next: The Spurs travel to Denver to face the Nuggets on Friday, but Spurs coach Gregg Popovich plans to rest many of the core players. For Spurs fans, that's good news as the team plans to utilize the entire group Sunday, when they host Golden State again with their undefeated home record on the line.
"When Golden State comes back to us, we'll play that game full because we're going to sit everybody in Denver," Popovich said. "We don't want to sit them two nights in a row going into the playoffs. That doesn't make much sense. No matter who we're playing tomorrow, we'd sit them; doesn't matter. So the opponent's not the thing. It's about minutes, time, age, all that stuff."