In a battle between the two indisputable best teams in the NBA, the Golden State Warriors shut down the San Antonio Spurs in front of a raucous crowd in Oakland, winning 112-101 and clinching the best record in the NBA.
With their win, they became just the second team in NBA history to win 70 or more games in a season.
The Warriors needed to win their remaining 4 games to break the 1995-1996 Chicago Bulls’ wins record of 73, and seemed determined to put their recent home loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves behind them.
This showdown featured the most combined wins between two teams meeting in a regular season game in NBA history. The hype surrounding this matchup had reached a fever pitch, with each team wanting to prove supremacy as the regular season dwindled down.
The Spurs were still in contention for the top seed in the Western Conference heading into the game, and Gregg Popovich opted to start his normal lineup and forgo an opportunity to rest his key players.
The game had hardly begun before Pop called an early timeout, furious that the Spurs’ perimeter defense allowed Klay Thompson to hit an open 3.
More from Spurs News
- Spurs show remarkable poise against Bulls, unlike many fans
- Devin Vassell is the latest in the Spurs’ collection of silent assassins
- San Antonio Spurs: 5 Players to avoid in any LaMarcus Aldridge deal
- Is Gregg Popovich hiding Luka Samanic as a secret weapon?
- San Antonio Spurs News: More DeRozan trade talk from Chris Haynes
Passion was running hot on both sides. Draymond Green ran into early foul trouble having to guard LaMarcus Aldridge, and the frustration that ensued lead to the fiery Green being called for his 11th technical foul of the season.
The Spurs played tough defense and forced the Warriors into a series of early turnovers, but the Warriors continued to push the ball on the fast-break and get easy finishes.
Spurs fans had a scary moment when Aldridge jammed his finger midway through the 1st quarter, forcing him out of the game for a brief stretch of time. It was later diagnosed as a dislocated right pinky, and although Aldridge eventually returned, he wasn’t much of a factor for the rest of the game.
The Spurs’ interior defense forced the Warriors into easy misses down low, but the Spurs’ offense was underwhelming in low-scoring first quarter. The Warriors had a 20-15 lead after the opening quarter despite shooting poorly from the field.
The Warriors continued their run to begin the 2nd quarter. The Spurs found themselves in a field goal drought for over 4 minutes until Kyle Anderson gave them their first basket of the quarter. The Warriors climbed the lead to 15 midway through the 2nd, settling into a groove with their offense. Curry’s 3 pointer near the end of the quarter extended his record of 149 straight games with a 3 pointer made.
Halftime arrived with the Warriors winning 52-40, lead by strong performances by Harrison Barnes and Thompson. The Spurs shot only 41% against a tenacious Warriors defense, while the Warriors shot the ball well from outside in an impressive first half.
The Warriors extended the lead to 23 to start the 3rd quarter, apart of a 16-3 run. The Warriors displayed impeccable ball movement, as the Spurs struggled to slow them down. Curry asserted himself with a strong 3rd quarter, and with a seemingly insurmountable deficit, Popovich took out his starters in a clear signal that the Spurs had conceded this game to the Warriors. The 3rd quarter ended with a lopsided score of 87-69 in favor of the Warriors.
The Spurs refused to quit, and cut the lead to 10 at one point in the 4th quarter. Undaunted by the comeback attempt, the Warriors hung on to a comfortable lead through the 4th quarter, with the game ending in a final score of 112-101.
The Spurs (65-13) play next on April 8th at Denver. The Warriors (70-9) play next on April 9th at Memphis.