(puts down cigarette)
Was it as good for you as it was for me, Spurs fans?
I can’t even think of where to begin. I was mentally prepared to write negative grades, then the impossible happened. My grades may be very generous, but I’m on such a high after that game that I can’t give bad grades. You guys understand, right? So let’s get to it.
Who’s Hot: The obvious answer would be Stephen Curry, but this was a total team effort. Golden State shot above 60% for 40 minutes of basketball, until their collapse. Still, shooting 51% on the road is incredible. Nothing that the Spurs did defensively was working. Even when the Warriors missed shots, the Spurs were completely out of position, leading to plenty of offensive rebounds and second chance points.
Who’s Not: The question for the Spurs wasn’t would there be rust, it was how much rust would they have? And the answer was plenty. The Spurs started the game shooting 20% worse than the Warriors and still only managed to be down by 3 after the first quarter; a theme that would continue throughout the game. Individually, Manu Ginobili was horrendous for the about 31 of his 36 minutes of action. Not only the turnovers and defensive lapses, but shooting 5-for-20 from the field (2-for-9 from 3). But we all know he eventually redeemed himself.
Turning Point: Steph Curry scored 22 of his 44 points in the 3rd quarter, which seemingly buried San Antonio, but that wasn’t the turning point that decided this game. With 3:57 left in the 4th quarter, and the Warriors leading 104-88, Tony Parker drove baseline and drew a foul on Klay Thompson, which was his sixth and final foul. Mark Jackson thinking the game was in hand, decided to go to everyone’s favorite former Spur, Richard Jefferson. Here’s what followed:
Parker nailed the free throws, cutting the lead to 14. San Antonio cut the deficit to eight with just 2:42 left, as it was announced that Tim Duncan’s return was doubtful with his stomach virus still acting up. Parker drives and turns the ball over, leading to a Warriors fast break, as Gary Neal fouls Jefferson hard, forcing him to the free throw line where he misses both. Spurs come back down the floor, Leonard nails a three to make it 104-99 Golden State. Curry comes down the floor, gets blocked by Diaw. Spurs recover the loose ball, Parker drives for the layup and makes it a 3 point game. A pair of Diaw free throws and a Jarrett Jack jumper make it 106-103 Golden State. Then Daniel Green happened, which sent this game into the first overtime. And you know the rest.
NBA playoff teams with at least a 16-point lead at the 4 minute mark were 392-0 until last night. Thanks to the San Antonio Spurs, that record is now 392-1, and Golden State is now on a 30-game losing streak in San Antonio.
Up Next: It’s hard to imagine the Spurs/Warriors topping Monday night’s thriller. But the Warriors will get a chance at redemption on Wednesday night at the AT&T Center. Tip-off is at 8:30 PM Central Time.
Tony Parker, PG | 28 points (11/26), 8 rebounds, 8 assists
Tony Parker missed a lot of wide open jumpshots all game long, and even though you can’t completely stop Steph Curry, Parker let Steph get almost everything he wanted. Even at one point, dribbling the ball off TP’s foot and swishing the jumper in his face. But his performance in the fourth and throughout overtime, in Duncan’s absence, was beautiful.
Danny Green, SG | 22 points (8/14), 1 rebound, 1 assist, 3 steals, 2 blocks
Oh, Daniel. The Twitter nickname Icy-Hot has never been more accurate. Green was more Icy than usual, even after starting the game with a beautiful 3-pointer. But Danny Green proved that he doesn’t shy away from moment, after hitting the game tying 3-pointer. Green also had some key buckets in overtime and a couple tremendous blocks down the stretch. The kid can do it all.
Kawhi Leonard, SF | 18 points (7/11), 9 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals
A big difference between last year’s postseason and this year. When the Spurs needed a key bucket or stop, Leonard could do his part on defense, but offensively he was nowhere to be found. Last night, Leonard didn’t hesitate to pull from the 3-point line to make it a five point game, and also showcased his mid-range fadeaway in overtime, to keep it close. And with Kawhi Leonard, the Spurs small ball lineup is a thing of beauty. George Hill who?
Tim Duncan, PF | 19 points (6/15), 11 rebounds
Duncan had his share of rust and let a hobbled Bogut do damage on the interior. But he still managed to produce a double-double in 34 minutes of action, to somewhat neutralize Bogut’s production. Also, Duncan’s slightly subpar performance was caused by his stomach virus he’s still fighting, so we’ll cut him a break.
Boris Diaw, C | 7 points (2-4), 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals, 1 block
Boris Diaw aka Bobo the Land Walrus has an underwhelming stat line for starting and playing 26 minutes. But it was his first game back after having surgery to remove a cyst in his back. And the stats don’t tell everything. The one block came on a Steph Curry 3-pointer, that started a Spurs fastbreak, leading to an easy Parker layup. And Diaw also hit a beautiful corner 3-pointer with 2 minutes left in the first overtime, to tie the game at 111.
Bench | 35 points (12/35), 11 rebounds, 13 assists, 2 steals
This wasn’t the same deadly bench we saw against the Lakers, but they still got the job done. Despite Manu’s struggles, he still managed 16 points, 7 rebounds and 11 assists. And since he hit the game winning 3-pointer, I can forgive the 25% shooting, the ridiculous 3 he bricked and turnover he had just minutes before. Also, Gary Neal’s shooting in the first half seemed to keep the Spurs afloat, so I’ll forgive him for going 0-4 in the fourth quarter. The rest of the bench didn’t play enough to warrant any type of criticism, though I’d like to see more Bonner instead of Diaw. But with Splitter’s return imminent, that won’t happen.