The San Antonio Spurs needed a win to stay alive in the playoffs. Did they pull it off?
The San Antonio Spurs entered the AT&T Center in a must-win situation. Down 0-3, a loss would send them home for the rest of the spring, and the summer, before fans see them in the fall of 2018. To avoid this, they needed to topple the Golden State Warriors and control their All-Star players.
For the first quarter, the Spurs played with some intensity. They stayed ahead of the Warriors for most of it, with 3-pointers and some quick work from Rudy Gay, who emerged as the No. 2 scorer behind LaMarcus Aldridge this series. Seven early turnovers were forced, as well, to push the momentum in San Antonio’s direction.
The second quarter kept the game somewhat tighter. Both teams battled for baskets, but a mid-quarter run from the Spurs, led by Dejounte Murray of all players, opened the lead to 15 points. Due to his inconsistent outside game, the Warriors relaxed on the second-year point guard, but that cost them five quick points, along with another 3-pointer hit earlier in the game. Add in another open 3-pointer and the Spurs were up 56-42 at the half.
Dejounte Murray went 3-3 from three-point range in the first half.
Only two Spurs point guards ever with more threes in a half of a Playoff game without a miss: 4 by Patty Mills (2014) and Steve Kerr (2003).
— Jordan Howenstine (@AirlessJordan) April 22, 2018
Rebounding, however, painted a different picture. The Warriors grabbed 37 boards to San Antonio’s 18.
Rebounding is the only thing keeping this game closeWarriors: 37 total, 16 offensiveSpurs: 18 total, 13 defensive
The Dubs have collected over half of their misses.
— Tom Petrini (@RealTomPetrini) April 22, 2018
The third quarter featured an almost phantom technical foul against David West, who ran to the tunnel to ride a bike while not playing. Strange, for sure, until ESPN showed a clip that West jumped up and down before going to the tunnel. So, to follow that, LaMarcus Aldridge hit a 3-pointer to keep this game at a 12-point distance.
3-pointers continued to go as the Spurs kept their lead in double digits. Patty Mills sunk another one, while Manu Ginobili played like he was not the second-oldest player in the NBA. However, despite the positive play, Golden State kept the score within reach, cutting it to 77-71 at the end of three quarters.
The Spurs were not able to pull away in the first six minutes of the fourth, as the Warriors cut the lead to five — the closest the lead had been in the second half. It always felt that Golden State was a Kevin Durant shot or two away, the sharp rebounding differential coming into play, or the decline in turnovers, from making this contested.
Then, there was this ridiculousness in the fourth quarter. Can you explain how this went in?
The Warriors made this as close as two points, but they never stole the lead from the Spurs, who found plenty of late-game shots from Aldridge and Ginobili, who many thought could be in his last game. They had the AT&T Center on its feet for those final, tense minutes in the fourth.
— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) April 22, 2018
“There will be a Game 5. The Spurs season is still alive,” as ESPN announcer Mike Breen aptly put it. 103-90 win for the Silver and Black.
Game 5 takes place on Tuesday, April 24 at 10:30 p.m. ET on TNT. It was a remarkable game for the Spurs, but can they do this, again, at Golden State’s place?