The San Antonio Spurs roared into Oracle Arena Saturday night looking every bit the team on a 12-game winning streak — even with starters Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobuli resting on the bench. Five minutes into the game, the Spurs had built an 11-point lead over the Warriors and looked ready to blow Golden State off the court. The final score — a 99-90 victory for the Spurs — belied how thoroughly San Antonio dominated every aspect of the game.
Every Spurs starter but Boris Diaw ended the game with double-digit points, led by Tony Parker with 20. Danny Green pumped in 18, Tiago Splitter scored 17, and Kawhi Leonard added 16. Marco Bellinelli had 15 off the bench.The tempo was fast, the passing was crisp and the outside shots were effortless. It’s no wonder the Spurs have the best record in the league at 52-16. The team’s now 13-game winning streak is the longest in the Tim Duncan-Greg Popovich era.
The Warriors made it a game in the second quarter after the bench held the Spurs in check late in the first quarter. David Lee, Klay Thompson and Steph Curry led the attack with a combined 19 points to pull Golden State to within three at the half. The Dubs roared to life to start the third and briefly took a one point lead, before succumbing to the Spurs’ superior passing and shooting.
Turnovers were a big problem for Golden State. After the game, coach Mark Jackson addressed the issue:
Some of them were their activity. High active hands and some of them were just careless plays. We have to be better. We went back to times when we made crucial mistakes. We didn’t take care of the basketball. This is one team that you can’t do that against because they execute and they make you pay the price. The turnovers definitely cost us tonight.
Curry had six of the Warriors’ 18 turnovers. He talked about how tough it is to get going against the Spurs:
They’re deep and they run their system. They execute at a high level. They always seem to try to make the right play. The ball moves so well.
Curry led the scoring for the Warriors with 20 points, tying Parker for the game high. Thompson poured in 16 in the losing effort.
The loss drops the Warriors to 44-27 and sixth in the Western Conference. The Portland Trailblazers have a game-and-a-half lead on Golden State but have two fewer losses. The Dallas Mavericks trail the Warriors by the same margin. The standings are sure to look different on Friday night, when the Warriors play their next game, at home against the Memphis Grizzlies. Coach Jackson is looking forward to the five-day break as it will give his players time to get healthy.
— Jermaine O’Neal, who finished with nine points, seven rebounds and two blocks, discussed what Jackson said to the team after the game as they head into their mini-break.
It was a message for us about this game and even these next four or five days. We’ve had a pretty hard schedule, as far as the amount of games in a short period of time. We’ve got a lot of guys banged up and now we get an opportunity to take a couple days off and kind of reboot the system and let the body heal and get ready for the stretch run. Because (the difference) between (Western Conference seeds) four and nine is whatever team stays focused for the most part. If you don’t, you’ll find yourselves on the outside looking in.
— Warriors held the Spurs under 40% shooting for the second time this season but lost both contests.
— Spurs 13-game winning streak is the longest in the NBA this season.
— Curry had 20 points, 6 assists and 6 rebounds for his 16th 20-5-5 game of the season.
— Splitter recorded his 5th double-double of the season and tied a career high 14 rebounds.
— Andrew Bogut had 17 rebounds for his eighth 15+-rebound game of the season.