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San Antonio vs. Golden State, Final Score: Spurs compete admirably in loss to Warriors, 112-118

San Antonio made things very interesting in front of a national audience despite two huge second-half runs by Golden State - dooming their chances at getting their its In-Season Tournament win

NBA: San Antonio Spurs at Golden State Warriors
Despite the incorrect spelling on the back of the jersey, Wembanyama led the team on the front of his jersey well tonight in the setback
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

In a game characterized by several huge changes of momentum (often in succession), San Antonio (3-13) was waylaid by a 16-0 run in the third and a 15-2 run in the fourth by Golden State (8-9). The Warriors assisted on 87% of their field goals (40 field goals on 35 assists) to set the tone, while overcoming the pesky Spurs to send them to their 11th straight loss.

The singular brilliance of Curry (35 points and 6 assists) was bolstered by Dario Saric off the bench (20 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists). San Antonio’s Victor Wembanyama (22 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 blocks), Keldon Johnson (22 points, 12 rebounds, and 4 assists), and Devin Vassell (24 points and 4 rebounds on restricted minutes) stood out in yet another frustrating, perhaps encouraging defeat.

Coming out of the gate, the Spurs surprisingly were the ones that connected from three, while the Warriors could not counter from distance. Johnson and Wembanyama did most of the damage - accounting for over half the team’s points. The vaunted Splash Brothers detonated quickly and definitively midway through the frame. Both teams shot over 50% in a very entertaining quarter that ended with San Antonio ahead by three.

San Antonio’s offense stalled out for wide swaths of the second quarter and the Warriors’ veterans took center stage to re-claim the lead. Curry and Wiggins were able to find the spaces needed to do their work, while the Spurs squandered away possession after possession.

During the third quarter, the teams took turns trading leads for some time, until Curry and Saric stunned the Spurs with a 16-0 run to take a lead that they were able to maintain despite San Antonio’s peristence and effort.

Observations

  • The Spurs uniform maker became the latest in the legion that misspelled Wembanyama’s last name.
  • This Warriors court design seems more fitting for the Spurs’ Hemisfair theme.
  • Is it me or does it seem like Malaki Branham is persistently missing to the side of the rim?
  • Loved that Johnson didthe between-quarters interview, but he didn’t do his customary “aaaaaaaaaahhh” during the interaction.
  • Hoping to see more of this action: wing-to-big pass where the big (at the top of the key) lofts a feathery ball into Wemby diving deep into the post.
  • Thompson, on the Warriors, valiantly trying, but falling short of his pre-injury high quality 2-way play? But what about Thompson as yet another in the line of late career spot-up shooters on the Spurs?
  • Victor’s Ease: Partway through the first, San Antonio ran what looked like a “side-floppy” to free up Wembanyama for a catch-and-shoot three; hooboy it looked much better than his pull-up threes as of late.
  • That Zach Collins straightaway shot needs Chip Engelland-level help. After his sixth miss, ESPN’s Ryan Ruocco quipped “Zach Collins.... taking A LOT of threes this evening.”
  • Devin’s Deeds: Ruocco commented “he’s got a lot in his bag” after he executed a fadeaway jumper in the lane. His ability to stop on a dime and create a good shot is best of class.
  • During a break in the action, Richard Jefferson stated his Spurs-based ‘vitamins’ was working on a catch-and-shoot three that “was something I’d never done in my career.”
  • At one point early in the second half, Wembanyama, Collins, and Sochan humorously worked the ball up the court, while Branham and Johnson waited for them in the frontcourt.
  • The Spurs answered Golden State’s first two buckets with 11 unanswered as part of an opening 19-9 blitz. Curry and Thompson connected on a flurry of threes and backup Dario Saric did damage on the interior to quickly close the gap. Vassell’s first shot clanged noisily off the backboard. San Antonio left the frame up 35-32.
  • Vassell wrapped a pair of corner threes around a knifing layup to start the second. San Antonio remained stuck at 46 points for what seemed like an eternity, while the Warriors closed to within two. Andrew Wiggins gave the Warriors their first lead since the opening moments. A lone bright spot in this stall was a Jeremy Sochan corner three. After Johnson drew an offensive foul on Thompson, the Spurs ended the half down four.
  • As if full of turkey, stuffing, and sleep-deprived, both teams struggled to open the third - putting up a total of four points in three minutes. Branham encouragingly connected on a couple of jumpers. A Wembanyama bankshot and tightly-contested pull-up momentarily put San Antonio up two. Curry and Saric mounted an 16-0 run in response. Osman and Vassell helped shave the lead to 81-86.
  • Unfazed by San Antonio’s progress, Golden State started the fourth with its own 15-2 run. Collins airball three ended up being an inadvertent assist to Johnson for a lay-up and the Spurs closed to within ten. After Curry was stopped dead in his tracks in the lane by Wembanyama, he squirted away to the wing and swished home a three a mere seconds later. Vassell continued to find his shooting touch to keep the Spurs in striking distance.
  • After a handful of Golden State turnovers, an acrobatic tipback by Johnson was called for a foul and a technical given to Saric, which brought the Spurs within 106-110. Curry’s cluster of free throws were answered by an Osman three and Johnson freebie, but the Warriors emerged victorious.

For the Warriors fan’s perspective, please visit Golden State of Mind.

San Antonio finishes its road trip in Denver Sunday night at 7:00 PM CDT against Nikola Jokic and the defending champion Nuggets.