Classic. The only description that stunned and amazed writers up and down the tables at the AT&T Center could muster after Jarret Jack’s off balance three hit the back board and bounced away Monday night after a 3 hour thriller. Earlier in the evening the Spurs warmed up and watched Miami drop a stunner to Chicago due to rust mostly, and hoped that they wouldn’t have the same problem befall them. Unfortunately it did as the Spurs started 3-16 in the first quarter.
As the game wore on the offense didn’t get any better and the defense was equally as bad as the Spurs as the lead for Golden State would teeter between 2 to 8. Going into the 4th quarter the Spurs trailed by 12 92-80. The lead stayed double digits most of the quarter and with 3;57 left, Tim Duncan headed for the locker room suffering from continued flu like symptoms. Almost immediately Klay Thompson was whistled for his 6th foul, which turned out to be a turning point, as the Spurs finished the game on a mind blowing 18-3 run, to tie the game and send it to overtime thanks to a game tieing three from Danny Green. In the overtime the Warriors raced out to a five point lead quickly the overtime only to have it quickly tied up again on a sidelines three pointer from Boris Diaw.
After Manu Ginobili’s shot missed at the buzzer, the evidence was clear. You had two exhausted ball clubs fighting tooth and nail to gain that early advantage in the series, and of course one overtime wasn’t enough to decide. The second overtime opened similarly as the first with Harrison Barnes draining a three to give Golden State the early lead. However the Spurs, as they had the entire night clawed back on the backs of Tony Parker, Boris Diaw, Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard and Manu Ginobili. Danny Gree howeve shined in the 2nd OT with a huge three pointer, and a transition bucket to give the Spurs a 5 point lead at 126-121. After a bucket by the Warriors with under a minute to go, Manu Ginobili found himself with the ball, and in typical Manu fashion shot with 11 seconds on the shot clock and 47 seconds on the game clock. After the miss Stephan Curry raced down and flipped in a running left hander to cut the precious lead to one with 29 seconds left.
The Spurs quickly inbounded the ball to Parker, who then drew the clock down to a minimum, raced to the basket and missed a very easy off balance layup. The Warriors hurriedly grabbed the rebound, and after a beautiful pass by Stephan Curry to Whit Bazemore of all people, the Warriors were up by 1 with 3.9 seconds left in the game.
Exhausted was not the word to describe the combatants. Drained. Shot. Whatever metaphor that could be though of, it could be applied here. As the Spurs set up, Kawhi Leonard imbounded the ball to a shockingly wide open Manu Ginobili who drained one of the bigger shots of his career giving the Spurs a 129-127 lead with 1.2 seconds to go. The Warriors stunned called timeout to draw up a play.
The ball inbounded to Jarret Jack who fumbled the pass, ran sideways, threw the ball up and it bounced away harmlessly for an improbable, amazing comeback by the cardiac kids, the San Antonio Spurs, had come from 16 points down with less than 4 minutes left in the 4th quarter to winning an absolutely crucial game 1 and stealing it away from Golden State.
Theres little doubt this game will go into the anals of basketball lore as a simply an amazing comeback in amazing circumstances. The Spurs however looked to bounce back, play better on the offensive side and the defensive end of the court, or, they will be looking at a quick exit out of the playoffs. Can the Warriors come back after that gut punch? Can Tim Duncan return to good health and rightfully dominate the side? Can the Spurs adjust and not let Thompson or Barnes get loose and kill them again?
Guess we will have to find out again Wednesday night. Rest up tomorrow. The way this series seems like it will go, we may all need it.
While Stephan Curry had an amazing 44 points and 11 assists, the switch of Kawhi Leonard onto him in the second half seemed to slow him as after the third quarter he went 1-8 on jump shots. A move to look to Wednesday night to see if it stays the same.
Tiago Splitter missed the game due to the ankle sprain suffered against the Lakers in the first round. A game time decision, in my opinion, it seemed he may have been able to go, but the team erred on the side of caution and held him out one more night. Hopefully he can play Wednesday. His good pick and roll defense will desperately be needed.
Boris Diaw played for the first time in almost a month after surgery to remove a cyst form his lower back. Diaw a huge component in the come from behind victory scored 7 points, pulled down 5 rebounds, and 2 huge steals. Diaw as the game went on got better and better, even blocking a Stephan Curry 3. If he can defend on the perimeter, play well, and be aggressive and make his jump shots, the Spurs will get a bit more of an upper hand in this series.