Spurs show Warriors how champions roll
ORACLE ARENA — Hasn’t this happened before?
The last time the Spurs were at Oracle Dec. 19, veterans Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, and Tim Duncan rested. The Warriors blew a 14-point second-quarter lead as the Spurs bench beat them.
Saturday, it was a similar scene. Parker played, but Ginobili and Duncan watched from the bench as San Antonio reminded the Warriors what champions play like in their 99-90 victory over Golden State.
Warriors head coach Mark Jackson said his team would take the loss as a learning experience and that he looks forward to playing San Antonio again on April 2:
“That’s an awfully good basketball team. They are outstanding at executing their offense and making you pay the price when you make mistakes … There is a reason why they are the best team in basketball.”
The Spurs capped a key 10-0 fourth quarter run with a three from Danny Green to open up a 87-74 lead with 7:35 to play.
Golden State cut the lead to seven, but Parker and Green danced around the Warriors getting every open look they wanted.
Parker finished the night with 20 points for the Spurs and said that every time key players sit, the rest of the team makes adjustments and settles perfectly into their role:
“Everybody has been stepping up when somebody is not playing. All the guys can do it and we trust each other.”
Stephen Curry’s 20 points and Andrew Bogut’s 17 rebounds led the Warriors in a game where San Antonio set the tone early.
The Spurs were enjoying an easy game in the opening quarter, as Curry was the only Warrior with points on the board seven minutes into the contest with San Antonio leading 22-7.
Klay Thompson and David Lee started to heat up in the second quarter, and, with the help of the bench, the Warriors cut the Spurs lead to just three points going into halftime.
Golden State saw their first lead in the third quarter’s opening minutes when they took over 51-50 on a hook-shot from Bogut — his first and only points of the game.
Curry said the team spent so much time digging themselves out of a hole that when they took the lead, the energy just wasn’t there to close out the game:
“We fought our way back to take the lead in the third quarter, just didn’t have enough at the end to make enough plays to get a win.”
The Warriors started to see their defense materialize and the game stayed tight until the closing moments of the third frame when San Antonio opened up 76-69 lead.
The Spurs closed the game with ease, extending their NBA-season-high winning streak to 13 consecutive games.
The Warriors, now 44-27 overall and 6th in the Western Conference are 1-1/2 games ahead of Dallas and 1.5 games behind 5th seeded Portland. The Warriors have five days off before finishing off their five-game home stand against Memphis on Friday.
The Spurs have now won 51 of the last 59 games against the Warriors. … The Warriors lost despite holding the Spurs to 39.3 percent from the field, just their fifth loss in 24 games in which they’ve held the opposition below 40 percent. … Stephen Curry scored at least 20 points for the fifth consecutive game, the ninth time in his career he’s had a 200-point streak of at least five games. … Tony Parker led the Spurs with 20 points, his 22nd 20-point game this season.