The Spurs, behind a tough and gritty defensive effort, pulled out a win against the Golden State Warriors to send the series back to Oakland. The whole team played well early as they rushed to a 14 point lead with Dejounte Murray playing his best game of the series. But the Warriors fought back in the second half with Durant having his way against anyone in Silver and Black who tried to defend him.
But LaMarcus Aldridge and Manu Ginobili would not let the Spurs lose, and they made key plays at the end as the Spurs pulled out the win, despite Golden State out-rebounding the home team by a huge margin. The Spurs also got good games from Rudy Gay and Patty Mills who made big contributions as the Spurs led for the entire game.
The Spurs defense started out on a positive note, causing a shot clock violation on the Warriors’ first possession, and when Rudy Gay hit a jumper in the lane, the Spurs led 2-0. The Warriors turned over the ball 5 times in the first 3 minutes, with Rudy Gay and Dejounte Murray making key plays, but Klay Thompson hit his shots and the score was tied at 7 early in the quarter. The Spurs continued to outwork the Warriors, but the clunky Spurs offense struggled to score, and the game was tied with 5 minutes left. Finally, the Spurs went on a run to lead by double digits when Pau Gasol hit a triple with 1:30 left in the quarter. The Silver and Black led 30-22 after the first 12 minutes.
Draymond Green hit a triple to open the second, but a pair of quick assists from Pau to Kyle Anderson expanded the Spurs lead to 9. But the quickness of the Warriors created problems for the slow-footed Spurs as they got burned repeatedly on fast breaks, often after made shots. The Spurs kept fighting, and about midway through the quarter, something strange happened. The Spurs started to hit the shots they had been missing all series, and when Dejounte Murray hit a three and a midrange jumper, they led by 15 with three minutes left in the half. The Warriors ended the half with about 6 offensive rebounds on the same possession with the last shot blocked by Murray, showing the fight of the Silver and Black in the game so far. At the half, the Spurs led 56-42.
There was a delay at the beginning of the second half because the shot clock was broken, and both teams started slowly until Klay hit an open three a minute and a half in. After a Kevin Durant pullup, Ettore Messina called time out just two minutes into the quarter, up by 9. Rudy Gay, frustrated by missing a dunk, made up for it with a rejection of Durant which led to a LaMarcus Aldridge three. Unfortunately for the Silver and Black, the Warriors were in the bonus with over 7 minutes left and cut the lead to 8. Mills swapped getting beat by Klay Thompson on defense with hitting three point shots on offense and the Spurs led by 11 with 2 minutes left in the third. A poorly timed foul from Kyle Anderson gave Durant free throws and the lead was just 7 points for the Spurs, cut to 6 at the break on a Durant jumper as the Spurs led 77-71 after three. I almost wished Pop could be there to say something funny to the TV announcers at the third quarter break, as it was not good. Not good at all.
The first points of the fourth were scored by Rudy Gay on a dunk, but free throws from Klay brought it back to 6. But the Spurs stepped up the intensity on defense and they got the lead back to double digits. The Spurs continued to struggle to get rebounds and the Warriors capitalized as they cut the lead to two halfway through the quarter with Durant hitting shots from all over the court. But the Spurs weren’t done. The offense was ugly, but a desperation three from LaMarcus with Draymond in his face gave the Spurs a 93-86 lead with 4:22 left. After a time out, Durant went one on two and scored to cut it to 5. Manu cold-bloodedly answered from three and put the Spurs up by 8. Manu banged knees with Nick Young, but stayed on the floor, grimacing with pain, but fighting through it, making a key basket to put the Spurs up 100-90 with 1:19 left. Another Ginobili shot with 27.6 left iced the game at 103-90, as the overmatched Spurs gutted out a tough win against the Warriors.
- If you paint your surfboard blue, does it become a Smurfboard?
- Pop was not on the bench today, but the Spurs had 3 assistants in the game today that will probably be head coaches in the NBA soon.
- The Spurs often had Patrick Mills guarding Draymond Green and Kevon Looney, and he was pretty effective, boxing out the taller player to get a rebound for the Silver and Black. That seemed to work much better than the strategy of the first three games which had him often on Iguodala or Durant on a switch.
- Mark Jackson is awful as an announcer. He’s just grating to listen to. And his analysis is inane and almost always wrong. However, when he said that Anderson could stop on a dime and give 9 cents change, that was a good line. It was the high point of his career as an announcer.
- Shawn Livingston and Kevin Durant looked fine after spraining their ankles in game 3.
- God, I hate Draymond Green. He plays with so much contact, but complains after every foul call.
- Murray hitting his shots is a hopeful sign.
- Ettore Messina took an opposite approach to Pop’s usual gruffness on the third quarter break media interview, apparently trying to bore the reporter to death with too much detail.
- Kevin Durant is so much better than everyone else on the floor that it’s almost unfair.
- Manu is amazing.
This is a clip from Halt and Catch Fire, my favorite TV show that nobody ever watched. Gordon has died, and his ex-wife and former business partners return to his house to pack up his belongings to sell it. Not much happens, but it’s a heart rending scene. With Dire Straits.
The Spurs play the Warriors in Oakland on Tuesday (time TBA). Uno mas game for Manu. Then uno mas, and uno mas ...