But Tuesday night became more than a blowout.
The San Antonio Spurs were left searching for answers after getting crushed 136-100 by the Golden State Warriors in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals on Tuesday night. The more compelling truth is that the Warriors have pressed their post-Leonard advantage, outscoring the Spurs, 194-133, putting math to not only the matter of belief but the different in present talent levels as well. The Warriors were up by as many as 41. And it was only tied for 57 seconds.
Gasol, who was defended by Draymond Green, took a couple of back-down dribbles, and Green snatched the ball away and proceeded to start a three-on-one break that ended with a Curry left-wing 3-pointer. Green made another 3 later in the first quarter and is now 23-of-48 from deep in the playoffs, burning opponents at a scorching 48 percent clip on a shot they usually gameplan to give up.
Without Pachulia, the Warriors aren't exactly slowing down.
But the public heat didn't affect Pachulia's play. Sign up for the free DubsDaily newsletter. Popovich told reporters pre-game that the San Antonio star is "questionable" in advance of game three in San Antonio. He'll get an MRI on Wednesday.
Zaza Pachulia left the game after only seven minutes with a right heel contusion. At the end of one quarter, the Warriors led 33-16. I don't think it was one guy who didn't believe and he infected everybody else or anything like that. Whether they win or they lose, I want to see how they play. "And you have to believe".
"As I watched, I don't think they believed". That's the way I process it. It showed in the lack of edge, intensity ...
San Antonio's depleted offense was led by Jonathon Simmons with 22 points. They shut down LaMarcus Aldridge (only eight points on 4-of-11 shooting overall) and held the Spurs to 6-of-26 shooting and four turnovers in the first quarter. "Just depends on how the ankle heals", Popovich said. "He can't be timid". He can't turn down shots. He can't do it. "We miss him out there, but he'll get healthy and in the meantime it's up to the rest of us to stay ready". Scoring has to come from some place. "We can't allow them to get off to the start they had last game".
At the same time, Steph Curry was uncorking his second straight monster game. The Warriors were led by superstar Stephan Curry with 29 points.
But Curry wasn't alone.
This doesn't sound like something that is going to keep Pachulia out if/when the Warriors show up for Game 1 of the NBA Finals, but they're not as vulnerable as they were previous year in the event it does. Davis Bertans had 13 points off the bench. The bench poured in 63 points, including a 18 from rookie Patrick McCaw.
Sure, the Warriors just pulled off a 36-point thrashing of the Spurs two days after squeaking out a 113-111 victory in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals - their second-largest postseason win behind a game from 1948 when the Philadelphia Warriors won by 39 at St. Louis.