The Golden State Warriors clawed their way back into the game in the fourth quarter, but their inability to get a defensive rebound when they needed one or to execute their offense in crunch time without injured Stephen Curry proved costly in a 76-74 loss to the San Antonio Spurs at the AT&T Center Friday night.
For the Warriors, it was their 30th consecutive regular-season loss in San Antonio, dating back to Feb. 14, 1997.
Andre Iguodala’s potential game-tying running jump shot at the buzzer rolled off the rim, but the Warriors had chances aplenty to tie the game or take the lead in the closing moments.
David Lee got the Warriors to within two at 76-74 with 2:23 remaining in regulation, but in a game that was billed as a matchup of two of the Western Conference’s elite teams, neither Golden State nor the Spurs seemed to be able to execute anything at an elite level in the closing moments other than taking turns shooting themselves in the foot.
With the Warriors back to within two, Klay Thompson came through with a big block on a long jumper by Tony Parker, but Manu Ginobili ran down the rebound for the Spurs.
That was a recurring theme in the fourth quarter—San Antonio had six of its 11 offensive boards in the fourth quarter.
Tim Duncan then clanked a 16-footer that caromed out of bounds and Golden State took a timeout with 1:42 to go. In Golden State’s next possession, it appeared the Warriors had a favorable matchup—Thompson with the ball being guarded on the perimeter by Spurs center Tiago Splitter, but Thompson settled for a 27-footer with nine seconds left on the shot clock that drew nothing but iron.
On the ensuing possession, Ginobili missed a 3-pointer, but the long rebound went right out to Duncan. Andrew Bogut sagged rather than helped on a screen and Ginobili’s miss sailed right over his head out to The Big Fundamental. After a 20-second timeout by the Spurs, Ginobili missed a layup and Lee grabbed the board for the Warriors.
Bogut missed a 10-footer on the other end and Tony Parker corralled the long rebound after it bounced off several hands. A Kawhi Leonard missed 3-pointer was rebounded by Splitter and once again San Antonio had a chance to burn clock. This time the Warriors were forced to foul as the clock was inside of 24 seconds.
Parker, however, gave the Warriors the gift they couldn’t even have hoped for when he clanked not one, but both of the free throws.
On the Warriors’ final possession, Thompson drove the lane and passed back to an open Bogut, who passed up the 10-footer and tried to pass it back to Thompson. The ball went out of bounds and was originally ruled San Antonio’s possession, but the call was overturned when video review showed the ball deflected off Ginobili’s hand before leaving the playing surface.
That left Golden State 8.5 seconds. Iguodala got the ball up top off the baseline inbounds play, drove against Marco Belinelli, but his shot bounced twice on the rim before rolling off, sealing the win for the Spurs.
Golden State trailed 64-55 heading into the final period. The Warriors dug an early hole, with Harrison Barnes starting in place of the injured Curry—who bruised his left ankle in Minnesota Wednesday night. San Antonio took a 27-20 lead after a quarter and then held the Warriors at bay.
Until the fourth period, anyway.
Golden State had by far its worst shooting night of the season, hitting just 29-of-71 from the floor (40.8 percent) and 8-of-20 from distance (40 percent). The Warriors came into the game second only to the Miami Heat at 50.2 percent from the floor and second to the New Orleans Pelicans in 3-point accuracy at 45.9 percent.
San Antonio was worse—shooting 39.2 percent (31-for-79) and making just 5-of-19 from deep (26.3 percent). But the combination of Golden State’s 19 turnovers to San Antonio’s 12 and the Spurs gaining 11 offensive boards to just six for the Warriors made the difference.
Toney Douglas came off the bench to lead the Warriors with 21 points. Lee added 13 and Thompson had 11 on 5-of-16 shooting. Bogut had 13 rebounds and Lee had 10 and Bogut was also the top facilitator with five assists.
Iguodala finished with nine points, six turnovers, six rebounds and four steals.
Parker led the Spurs with 18 points, but was a horrific 4-for-10 from the free-throw line, and Leonard added 13. He was the only other Spur in double figures. Splitter grabbed eight rebounds for San Antonio, Duncan had five assists and Leonard had four steals.
The loss dropped the Warriors to 2-1 on their current four-game road trip and to 4-2 on the young season.
The Dubs close out the trip on Saturday night at Memphis, with a 6 p.m. Pacific time tip off scheduled.