ORACLE ARENA — The Warriors knew they couldn’t play San Antonio and make mistakes.
It’s been said over and over. When you play an elite team, you can’t turn the ball over or play carelessly, because those teams will capitalize on every misstep.
Despite 20 Golden State turnovers, head coach Steve Kerr was encouraged by the way his team battled San Antonio. He said there isn’t much to be done against a team as experienced as the Spurs who have been together for over a decade:
“We didn’t have any turnovers of insanity as I call them. The problem is they (Spurs) never turn it over. … I mean look, I retired 12 years ago, and the same three top players and the same coach are still over there. Its insane. In 2003 I hung it up and Duncan, Parker, Ginobili and Pop are still here. I wish they would just go away, but they’re not going away.”
Early on Golden State shot the ball well, killed it on the defensive glass and were keeping up with the Spurs.
But keeping up wasn’t an easy task with the Warriors 12 first-half turnovers to the Spurs measly three.
Fortunately for the Warriors, Harrison Barnes decided he would earn his keep and played the role of savior in the opening frames, finishing the night with a season-high 22 points.
Kerr told SFBay that after Barnes’ first made bucket he knew he had it going, and Barnes just continued to execute throughout the night:
“Harrison was fantastic, it’s good to see him getting going early. … He was aggressive and he played very well.”
With the only first-quarter hot hand, Barnes kept Golden State alive. But coming out of halftime it was all San Antonio.
In the third quarter, the Spurs outscored (32-26), out-rebounded and out-passed the Warriors for a 82-70 lead heading into the final frame.
Looking for some offensive help, Kerr subbed in Marreese Speights for Andrew Bogut in the fourth quarter and Speights delivered, scoring 11 points and getting the Warriors within six points of the Spurs.
Kerr told SFBay that, even on limited opportunities, he can always count on Speights to make an impact:
“Mo is like our designated spark plug. I love this guy. I don’t play him that much but it seems like every time I do he comes in and plays well. He stays ready and he’s a pro.”
Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson tried to help bring the Warriors back into the game, combining for 45 points on the night, but the Spurs never loosened their grip and the Warriors lost their second game of the season.
Thompson had another exceptional scoring night with 29 points but also led the team with four turnovers. He told SFBay the next time they play the Spurs he’ll make sure he’s more prepared:
“Just next time we see them we can’t mentally make mistakes against the Spurs. Maybe against other teams, but against them, they’ll always capitalize.”
The Warriors continue their three-game home stand hosting Brooklyn on Thursday followed by Charlotte on Saturday.
The Warriors lost back-to-back contests for the first time this season, losing at Oracle for the first time. Meanwhile the Spurs won consecutive games for the first time this year. … Golden State committed 20 turnovers, its fouth-straight game with at least 20 micues, which is the team’s longest streak of 20-plus turnover games since a five-game stretch to open the 1996-97 season. … Golden State managed a franchise-low one offensive rebound (Festus Ezeli). … Stephen Curry was 0-for-7 behind the arc tonight, snapping a streak of 75 consecutive games with a three-pointer. The streak had been the longest active stretch in the league and is the fifth-longest in NBA history. … Tim Duncan became the 11th player in NBA history to record 14,000 rebounds in his career, doing so on his fourth board of the night.