The Spurs started off hot with everyone in the starting lineup scoring. After his domination of Chris Paul, Tony Parker continued his great play and despite not shooting particularly well, got himself to the line to make up for it. The Warriors were missing Andrew Bogut and at first it seemed they were going to have a hard time making up for that loss on D. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson were keeping the Warriors in it with their pristine jumpers and David Lee was pitching in as well.
Things started to go awry for the Spurs when the second unit checked in. With Jackson out for undisclosed reasons, Pop went with a three guard lineup featuring two masters of the pick and roll in Ginobili and De Colo and one shooter that uses ball screens well to create space for himself in Gary Neal. Unfortunately, the bigs were Bonner and Diaw, who needless to say don't command attention on the pick and roll. Ginobili and De Colo can break down a defense off the dribble but they need a high screen to get the defense moving first and the Warriors simply ignored the roller or switched and helped, which led to the Spurs settling for long jumpers
At the same time the Warriors were ramping up their defensive intensity, the Spurs had some of their worst defenders on the court. With no inside presence and no perimeter stopper to contain them, the Warriors made a run and got the lead. When the starting lineups returned, the game became a defensive battle in which neither team could get good looks. The refs allowed a lot of contact on both sides and the open corner shots the Spurs enjoyed in the first quarter simply weren't there anymore. After both teams scored 25 points in the first quarter, they could only score a combined 27 in the second.
The third quarter started similarly to the first. The starting lineup was moving the ball and getting everyone involved. The Spurs took the lead back but the relentless Jarret Jack and Carl Landry made sure the Dubs stayed in it. Parker started scoring at will and Tim Duncan took advantage of the Spurs being in the bonus early to earn 6 trips to the line and get his jumper going. Unfortunately, the Spurs simply couldn't get stops consistently and both teams scored 29 points in the third. Going into what I desperately wanted to be the final period, the Spurs led by one, 68-67.
Manu Ginobili, who up until that point had had a quiet game, started the quarter great, getting a steal and an and-one. The Spurs went on a run but the Warriors responded in what at this point was a chaotic game where neither team could string out stops and buckets. Unfortunately, with Ginobili dominating the ball en route to an 11 point quarter, Parker couldn't be effective. Tired legs surely played a part but no one other than Ginobili and Green could get it going on offense in the fourth. The Dubs, on the other hand, rode a scorching hot Jack and solid contributions from Curry and Lee and got the lead on a Jack three pointer with 7.4 seconds left. The Spurs were trailing by two and everyone, including Warrior players, seemed to think they were going to go for the win. Instead, Pop designed a give and go cut for Ginobili off the inbound, who easily converted the open layup. We were going to overtime.
Ginobili sat to start overtime, presumably to give Manu a break and Parker a shot at running things. Things were close when Ginobili checked in after a Duncan free throw and a Lee layup. After notoriously good free throw shooter Stephen Curry missed one, the Spurs got the lead back with a Manu jumper and a Splitter hook shot that also got him to the line. Tiago missed the subsequent free throw and after the refs awarded the ball to the Warriors on a play in which it was clear the ball was out off Curry, Thompson scored a jumper off a screen and tied things up.
Spurs killer Jarret Jack hit another jumper after a bad play by Manu ended on a Green miss and the Dubs led by four. Green hit a three pointer out off the timeout and the Spurs defended the next play well, forcing Thompson to challenge Duncan, who blocked his shot. Parker sprinted up court after getting the rebound like we've seen him do a million times before, but couldn't sink the contested running layup to tie it with 27.9 seconds to go. After that the Dubs didn't miss free throws and the game was theirs.
- I'm keeping these short since it's 4 AM in Argentina right now but it's important to mention that this wasn't a must win game or anything close to it. The Spurs still have the best record in the league and could finish their Rodeo Road Trip 7-2 if they beat Phoenix. After that, a home-heavy schedule awaits.
- Pop run the same play on the inbound down three in overtime. The Warriors were of course, waiting for ir and Thompson cheated off Parker, who inexplicably was sent to the ball side corner instead of, you know, and actual three point threat, and got the steal. Pop wanted this game to end. That's the only explanation I have.
- Make room, Greivis Vazquez and Goran Dragic. Jarret Jack is being officially inducted into the pantheon of streaky guards that kill the Spurs.
- Ginobili, Duncan and Parker all played well and the starting lineup as a whole responded. The bench was a mess, with only Ginobili and DeJuan blair, who came in for a momentarily-hurt Splitter, contributing anything meaningful. It would have been nice to have Jackson for this one but Pop kept in on the bench and considering what he has been through I don't blame him.
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