What do you think propelled the Spurs to their series saving win? But the Warriors reverted to the same lack of focus and sloppiness that has been shadowing them since before the All Star Break. With Steph Curry unable to play, Durant is calling his own number more than he ever has as a Warrior, and not always with good results.
The seemingly inevitable never happened, though. San Antonio made big shots when they needed them, and the Warriors could not string together the kind of runs that usually quickly get them back in the game.
The Spurs played all game like their playoff lives depended on it, out-defensed and out-shot the Warriors Sunday afternoon on their way to a 103-90 Game 4 win. "Our aggressiveness was off the charts", Ginobili said. "We have another opportunity to close this thing out at the crib".
If they actually lose one more and finish the series in six games, that would push back the start of the second round against the Pelicans - which would give Stephen Curry a few more days to heal up.
Spurs: Ginobili played in his 217th playoff game, breaking a tie with Shaquille O'Neal for sixth in league history. The 40-year-old Ginobili scored 10 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter, and after the game he answered a question about the "challenge" of playing while "grieving".
Kevin Durant had 34 points and 13 rebounds for the Warriors.
Said Warriors reserve Shaun Livingston, "Again, let this be a lesson to us, all of us, that we got to come out and take care of business - no games".
"We moved the ball". Not only that, but the Spurs didn't make it easy on themselves.
Want real-time Warriors news texted to your phone? But then Warriors unraveled. Golden State didn't have much outside of Durant, with Klay Thompson and Draymond Green struggling to convert shot attempts into points. The Warriors did not make a field goal for the final 4:11 en route to seven consecutive missed shots.
"I smiled when he made that corner three right in front of us at the end of the game. I took it with confidence", Aldridge said. We'll see if we can maintain that for next game.
The Warriors started the game with a 24-second violation. Seven turnovers in the first four or five minutes of a playoff game on the road? Thompson had only five points.
BC-BKN-Warriors-Spurs, 1st Ld-Writethru, 888Ginobili, Aldridge help Spurs beat Warriors to avoid sweepAP Photo TXDA103, TXDA112, TXDA113, TXDA109, TXDA104Eds: Spurs 103, Warriors 90.
The Spurs supporting cast was better than the Warriors supporting cast. They went 8-of-26 from the field. Livingston played 21 minutes. "What, you want us to be in there throwing champagne around?"
Popovich missed his second straight game after his wife, Erin, passed away Wednesday following a prolonged illness. Despite the Spurs' diminished depth without Leonard due to almost a season-long quadriceps injury, the Warriors expressed respect for the Spurs almost two decades of excellence, strong fundamentals and competitive fire.
Finally, the Warriors are still in control of the series, but losing to the Spurs the way they did is discouraging on many levels. We've been through a lot of playoff series.
The Warriors might have known that.
The Spurs jumped out to a 14-point half-time lead, but quickly watched it evaporate in the third quarter. They whittled in crunch time. And while they are not as strong as they've been in the recent past, they typically don't wilt. The second unit came into the game and started to claw their way back into it. David West got a technical foul jumping up off the bench and running to the bike after what he thought was a bad call, but came in and knocked down a couple jumpers. "We're not just going to lay down". The Warriors were reportedly somber in the locker room after the game yesterday, and they should have been.