There was hope that returning home would mean the return of “The Home Spurs” — the team that was practically unbeatable at the AT&T Center this season and hadn’t lost there in almost two months. The Spurs came in with heavy hearts hoping to make this a series, but unfortunately nothing, not even home court, could turn the Spurs’ shooting woes around.
The Spurs remained ice-cold from beyond the arc, hitting just 7-33 attempts, and once again shot barely over 40 percent overall on their way to a 110-97 loss to the Golden State Warriors. Kevin Durant scored 26 points for the Warriors, while LaMarcus Aldridge led the Spurs with 18.
- Ettore Messina was the acting head coach tonight. The last time someone not named Gregg Popovich coached the Spurs in a playoff game was 1996 against the Utah Jazz when Bob Hill was head coach.
- At Pop’s orders, there was no moment of silence or any public recognition of the loss of his wife Erin at the game. He didn’t want this game to be about him, but rather he wanted his team to focus at the task at hand.
- This is an awkward series for Dejounte Murray. The Warriors are starting without a point guard, so he has found himself matched up with Andre Iguodala most of the time instead of the shorter Stephen Curry, whom he can use his height advantage against on both ends of the court. As a result, his defensive impact is somewhat limited to just staying with Iguodala on the arc, and on offense he has no one he can exploit with his one true advantage on that end.
- One thing about when the refs decide to “let them play”, they often find themselves calling the small, ticky-tack stuff while swallowing their whistles on the obvious fouls. For example, late in the first half Kevon Moody literally football-tackled Manu Ginobili from behind as he was diving for a loose ball right in front of the official, and it was called a shot clock violation as both players lay on the floor with no one touching the ball and everyone waiting for the presumed whistle (even the Warriors). If Pop had been there that might have been the end of his night.
- Speaking of which, I’m not sure I’ve seen anyone called for more loose-ball fouls than the Spurs have been in this series, especially on rebounds no matter which side of the court they’re on. Apparently “letting them play” does not apply to 50-50 balls. Unless you’re Manu . . . being tackled from behind . . . like a football player.
- Playoff Tony Parker showed up for this one; it’s just too bad no one joined him. He was a huge spark off the bench with 10 first half points (16 overall) and some vintage drives and circus lay-ups.
- On the other end of the spectrum, one game after becoming the first 40+ year-old player to score double-digits off the bench in a playoff game, Ginobili laid a goose egg in this one with zero points on five shot attempts. Four of his shots were threes, and all were short. He just didn’t have his legs tonight, which seemed to be the case for most of the team.
- The Spurs are now in a 0-3 hole in this series and run the risk of being swept by the Warriors for the second season in a row. It would be the first time the Spurs didn’t win a playoff game in the Popovich era and the first time they were swept out of the first round since 1988 when they suffered a 3-0 sweep at the hands of the Showtime Lakers.
For the Warriors fans’ perspective, visit Golden State of Mind.
The Spurs return to the AT&T Center for Game 4 on Sunday. Tip-off will be at 2:30 PM CT on ABC.