Gregg Popovich decided to rest two of his veteran stars tonight in Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan. Plus/minus king Matt Bonner was also unable to go in this one with a calf strain. The Spurs continue to roll anyway. I'm not sure it was embarrassing for the Warriors to lose to the Spurs down Tim and Manu. They just ran into a great team that has other guys who can step up. To add to the win, the Pacers and Heat both lost games to fall three and five games back in the loss column for overall homecourt advantage. Somehow, despite playing in a much weaker conference, the Heat would not host a playoff series if the Heat and Pacers were added to the West and the playoffs started today.
The Spurs got out to a 22-7 lead with a little less than five minutes left in the first quarter. The Warriors made just three of their first eleven shots while the good guys connected on 61% of their attempts. A quick 6-0 run from the Dubs made it a 24-15 game and Gregg Popovich decided it was time to talk it over with the fellas.
It seemed like every ball went the Spurs' way, and it wasn't until the 1:30 mark that the team turned the ball over. It was a shot clock violation. When was the last time the Spurs had a shot clock violation? After one quarter the Spurs held a 32-22 lead over the Warriors. Backup point guard, and capable gunner, Patty Mills only took one shot in his four minutes of action in the first, and it was an airball. Boris Diaw took eight of the team's 25 first quarter attempts. He looked to be aggressive for sure, but he only connected on two of those eight shots.
The Warriors picked up their defensive effort in the second quarter, and they even forced another shot clock violation from the Spurs. Klay Thompson defended Parker well, and the Frenchman had trouble shaking him. On one particular possession Thompson had an answer for every Parker move and Tony was so flustered he was whistled for a travel as the shot clock ticked under five seconds. The Warriors finished the half off strong on a 19-8 run, looking like a tough out, and the Spurs seemed lucky to get any points that they could.
The Spurs went into halftime with their onetime 15 point lead cut to three, 50-47. It took just a minute of the third quarter for the Warriors to take their first lead of the game at 51-50. They followed that up with a defensive stand that forced another shot clock violation from the Spurs. Almost the rest of the quarter was highly competitive, with both teams playing good D. It was a one possession game for all but 1:43 of the quarter, 49 of those seconds coming at the end of the quarter as the Spurs closed the period on a 7-1 run to take a 76-69 into the final 12 minutes.
Extraneous G went with a lineup of Ayres, Daye, Green, Belinelli, and Mills to start the fourth. The first four possessions of the quarter for the Spurs went: Mills miss, Mills miss, Jeff "Brick Hands" Ayres turnover, Belinelli bad pass. Meanwhile the Warriors hit three free throws and made a layup to make it a one-possession game, 76-74. Then Austin Daye made a well-timed cut through the lane and tallied an assist as he found Ayres under the basket. That started an 11-0 run from the Spurs and the good guys took control of the game, leading 87-74 with seven minutes left to play. The Dubs made one last push to get it to 89-82.
Jermaine O'Neal then missed a bunny, and in transition following that miss Tony jacked up, and missed, a long-two with 17 seconds left on the clock. Danny Green came up with a huge block on the other end and just took the ball out of O'Neal's hands. Back on the other side of the court Tony Parker drove, spun, faked, and scored on a layup putting the good guys up 91-82 with 2:45 left. Danny hit a triple on the next trip down the floor and Kawhi followed that with three of his own, pushing the lead to 13, and this one was over.
This was a nice win for the Spurs, and the second time they beat the Warriors while being shorthanded. They beat them back on December 19th in Oakland without Ginobili, Parker, and Duncan. The Spurs are rolling right now and look ready to take on any challenge.
Tiago was fantastic in this contest. He finished with 17 points and 14 rebounds. During his postgame interview he said this:
I'm not the most stylish player in the league, we know that. I put grind, I put effort, I try to do the simple stuff. I try to help my teammates on defense, and I've had a couple of good games, so I'm happy with that.
That's three double-doubles in a row for the big Brazilian. Danny's playing great ball, Whi is doing his thing. It seems like the team is getting even better. This looks to be a very exciting spring/early summer for Spurs basketball. This team is so easy to root for.
For the perspective of the opponent check out Golden State Of Mind.
- The Spurs turned the ball over once to the Warriors seven in the first quarter. In the second it was the Warriors who took care of the ball. They didn't commit a turnover while the Spurs turned it over seven times. Turnovers were a big part of the game, with the Spurs scoring 27 points off of the Warriors 18, while the Dubs scored just 13 off of the Spurs' 14.
- Boris Diaw finished the game 2-of-14 from the field. Patty Mills was just 1-of-9. Diaw led the team with a plus-14 and Mills was third with a plus-10. They each had five assists, but Patty stole the ball a whopping four times. The two members of the Foreign Legion found ways to contribute even though their shots weren't falling.
- The Spurs shot under 40% for the second game in a row, and have won the two by an average of 14.5 points per. It's good to know that this team can win any way. They beat the Jazz and Lakers by dropping a ton of points on them, and they beat the Kings and Warriors by grinding out a game and playing for 48 minutes.
- The Warriors' famous Splash Brothers, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, shot a combined 12-29 and scored 36 points. That's down from their season average of 42 points on 15-33 shots. More importantly, the Spurs limited the Dubs as a whole to just 3-for-15 from deep, way down from their season average of 9.1 makes on 24.4 attempts.
- The Spurs were outrebounded 54-40 in this game. If you told me that and that the shooting would be under 40% for the team, I would have assumed they lost. Again, really nice win for the good guys.
This tweet comes from the World's most successful NBA gambler, a man who clearly understands the league. What a complement to Pop.
I wonder how much money it would take to get Pop to leave the Spurs - if its under 30m a year, its a steal.— Haralabos Voulgaris (@haralabob) March 23, 2014
Not much to say about this next "game" the Spurs have on the schedule. The Spurs host the rebuilding 76ers on Monday night. The Sixers have lost 24 in a row, and are in no danger of not making it 25. The Spurs should roll easily and get some rest for Wednesday's tilt with the Nuggets.