We thought we’d be getting an epic clash of legends, a regular season matchup without equal. Instead, we got the Golden State Warriors laying waste to the San Antonio Spurs like they were just another team, 120-90. Even more impressively, they made Kawhi Leonard, the reigning Defensive Player of the Year (and a favorite to repeat), look like just another defender. Look at Steph Curry put poor Kawhi on skates before getting the ball and after in the video above.
Kawhi guarding Steph was supposed to be Spurs coach Gregg Popovich’s trump card, but other than a couple of classic Klaw steals, Curry barely seemed to notice. And it wasn’t just Curry roasting Leonard, either. To start the game and for most of the third quarter (when the Warriors really put their feet on the Spurs’ throats), Kawhi guarded Klay Thompson, who started the game off like this:
Do my eyes deceive me? Is that Kawhi Leonard himself giving up a backdoor cut like he’s James Harden or something? But in a more one-on-one setting, Klay physically overpowered Leonard on a drive to the hoop:
After seeing Leonard eat superstars alive all season, this was an absolutely shocking turn of events, and it means that simply throwing Klaw at a problem and making it go away might be a viable strategy for the Spurs’ other 28 opponents, but not the Warriors.