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Morning Rehash: Within Reach

The San Antonio Spurs landed a strong blow to the Golden State Warriors' title hopes last night with a dominate 109-91 victory at the AT&T Center. Thanks to aggressive and efficient offense that finally complimented their strong defense, the Spurs are now only one win away from a return to the Western Conference Finals.


Opening Hash

Tim Duncan's shot has struggled against the defense of Golden State, shooting 40.7% through five games. But even through tired legs and the physicality of Andrew Bogut, the veteran big man is still getting numbers up on the board. Duncan is averaging nearly two more free throw attempts per game than he did in the regular season and is still averaging a double-double (19.6 points and 11.2 rebounds) through a 36 minute per game average. Tim is no longer the main engine on the Spurs offense but, even after 16 seasons, the Big Fundamental continues to guide his team through his dependable production, intelligence, and exceptional leadership.

With a win in either Game Six or Seven, Tim Duncan will earn his eighth career trip to the Western Conference Finals. With the exception of the 1999-2000 season in which he tore his meniscus, Duncan has made and played in the playoffs every season of his Hall of Fame career. In the Tim Duncan era, no team has a better playoff winning percentage than the Spurs (61.1%) and only one team has had more title runs (Los Angeles). In NBA All-Time playoff ranking, Duncan is first in blocks, fifth in rebounds, seventh in points, and seventh in games played.

If you remove veteran Richard Jefferson's career playoff appearances (107), the young Golden State's collective playoff experience is only 201 games. Last night, Tim Duncan notched his 199th playoff game as well as his 124th victory. As strong-willed as the Golden State Warriors are, it seems highly unlikely to me that there isn't some form of nervousness or intimidation when they look up at the Number 21 standing across from them. Assuming that the team keeps building around their incredible young talent, the Warriors will soon slay a playoff giant and take their place as a regular post-season staple. But that giant is not the Big Fundamental and the San Antonio Spurs. At least not this year.

Shoot-Around Notes

  • Golden State ran most of their big men through some light drills in the block and cutting off pick and roll sets. In fact, most of Golden State's workouts were of low burden.
  • David Lee had no issue moving laterally or back and forth be he slowed down considerably when trying to twist and turn.
  • I'm not sure if DeJuan Blair switched to a different size shirt but it his weight loss was pretty evident during practice. It looks like he even lost a little bit of muscle mass.
  • Danny Green did not shoot well at all from anywhere on the floor. Green even rimmed out a 10 foot jumper when he was trying to get a rhythm started.
  • Stephen Curry had plenty struggles of his own while shooting. Curry was missing quite a few shots from deep (even two airballs) but was able to get on a few streaks. I didn't notice any heavy taping on the left ankle but it was obvious that Curry was limited in his footwork. Stephen was noticeably hindered in his right-to-left crossovers and when he planted on cutting right.
  • Klay Thompson's practice was obviously geared towards fast break s and very high screens.
  • Jarrett Jack probably spent about 35 minutes out on the floor. Most players are only out for 15 to 20.
  • Manu Ginobili's legs looked strong. Ginobili was driving and maneuvering quickly and his shots were never short.
  • Coach Budenholzer worked exclusively with Tracy McGrady again on the high screen sets.

The Essential Hash

Be sure to read Fred Silva's recap of last night's game if you haven't already.

After an easy Stephen Curry layup cut the lead to 4 points with 7:38 remaining in the third quarter, Coach Popovich called a timeout. Pop then proceeded to jump down the throat of his team about their defensive responsibilities. Despite two turnovers, Golden State had gotten off to a 4 of 6 FG start in the second half. After the timeout, the Spurs held the Warriors to 12 points on 5 of 14 shooting for the remainder of the quarter and forced 4 turnovers that led to 6 easy Spurs points.

After an abysmal second quarter (17 points on 7-21 FG and 5 turnovers), San Antonio needed a solid performance on both ends coming out of the break. In the previous two games, the Spurs had only scored a combined 39 points in the third quarter. Although the Warriors didn't fare much better (44) with their body of work, the young team has a knack for quick offensive shooting streaks and the older Spurs squad couldn't afford to watch another event like Game 4 unfold on their home court.

Game Boss

33 13 18 4 10 4 1 3

Despite his shooting struggles, Danny Green has played fantastic the entire series. Green's hustle and defense is limiting the outside looks for Golden State and forcing turnovers. Green got his hands and body in the way of many Golden State passes last night and was a leading contributor towards the 23 points scored off Golden State's 14 turnovers.

Kawhi Leonard shot 7 of 8 from the floor (3 of 4 from deep), was the second leading rebounder for the Spurs (7), and took away Golden State's top scoring option, Klay Thompson.

Behind the combined defensive effort of Green and Leonard, Golden State's starting guards shot 27.3% and turned the ball over 6 times.

Game Runt

9 4 14 1 7 8 4 34:45

Stephen Curry was obviously not himself in last night's game. There were several times that I noticed Curry take a wide turn-around to get going the opposite direction instead of a direct turn. Stephen couldn't cut to his left and he couldn't step back and pivot his body with any real quickness. 11 of Curry's 14 shots came from outside the paint and Stephen also had a difficult time getting the ball to his teammates late in the game (3 of his 4 turnovers were in the second half).

By the Numbers

  • 93 - Number of playoff wins for Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan. They only trail Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, and Michael Cooper (110) for most in NBA history.
  • 72.2 - Spurs shooting percentage in the first quarter.
  • 58.9 - The shooting percentage of Spurs players not named Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, or Tim Duncan.
  • 4 - Number of turnovers by Spurs players other than the Big Three.
  • 18 - Total number of made three-pointers by San Antonio in Games 2, 3, and 4 (18-68) Spurs made 10 tonight.
  • 75 - Percentage of Spurs made baskets attached to an assist (30 assists on 40 made baskets).
  • 20 - Number of seconds it took Patty Mills to take his first three-point attempt after entering the game for the first time.
  • 40.7 - Tim Duncan's field goal percentage through five games of the Western Conference Semi-Finals.
  • 143 - Career playoff double-doubles for Tim Duncan, tied with Wilt Chamberlain for the 2nd-most in NBA history. Magic Johnson has 157.
  • 24:50 - Manu Ginobili's minutes last night. Manu was averaging near 33 minutes per game before last night. In fact, Tim Duncan and Tony Parker also saw a much less of the floor last night than they have through the first four games.

Bird is the Word

Leftover Hash

  • Game Five was the first game in the series in which the San Antonio Spurs out-rebounded the Golden State Warriors (38-36).
  • The Warriors' point production per quarter was on a slow and steady drop last night: 28-23-21-19.
  • Last night was the first game of the series in which the Golden State Warriors didn't have a player with at least double-digit rebounds. Harrison Barnes had the most with 7.
  • Cory Joseph did another admirable job in the backup point guard position on both sides of the ball.
  • I've given Golden State a ton of credit in this series for being a mentally tough team but they finally lost their nerve last night, late in the third quarter. Body language tells you everything.
  • Tony Parker's defense definitely improved in the second half. At first, Parker was getting lost on high screens. Later, he's trying to fit inside his guy's jersey.
  • David Lee passed on an opportunity to back down Tony Parker on the block but tried later on Boris Diaw (made the hook). I'm not sure what his thinking was.
  • Stephen Curry dribbling the ball off his leg out-of-bounds is almost a once-per-game guarantee.
  • Andrew Bogut left the game hobbling on his left leg. The trainer came over to look at it but Bogut waved him off after a few minutes. Bogut only played 19-plus minutes.
  • Jarrett Jack intentionally bumped into the Spurs Coyote while he was trying to spell out the team's name.

Going into Game Six, the Spurs Need to... more of the same. On offense, the Spurs need to keep the ball moving, attack the paint, and continue to get contributions from player other than the stars. Defensively, the Spurs needs to keep their attack dogs, Kawhi and Danny, on the Golden State duo of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. The Spurs will live with rookie Harrison Barnes and pop-a-shot master Jarrett Jack trying to take over the game.