San Antonio Spurs 102, Golden State Warriors 92: Spurs get back on their game

by

For the first time in this series, San Antonio looked like itself.

The Spurs hit their jump shots — many of which were in the mid-range area — and pulled away for a 102-92 Game 3 win over the Golden State Warriors. And what they did on Friday night resembled, for the first time, what this is as a basketball team.

Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson launched their shots — going 5-for-17 and 7-for-20 from the floor, respectively — but this time they didn’t go in. And as the Spurs took what the Warriors gave them, their composure never faltered, even in the crazy atmosphere of Oracle Arena.

Tony Parker went for 32 points, while Tim Duncan dropped 23 and 10 rebounds to carry their team to a 2-1 advantage in what had become a very competitive series with a Golden State squad that had scorched the nets for two straight games. But on this night, San Antonio took back home-court advantage, and with it, control of the series.

“Teams that shoot well do pretty darn well. Tonight we shot 50 (percent) and they were in the 30s,” Gregg Popovich said. “That was the story in the first two games for us, and the worm turned.

“We made shots and they didn’t have as good a night shooting the ball.”

This was the type of game the Spurs had banked on happening. A young Warriors team that had ignited the scoreboard with unbelievable marksmanship over the first two contests fell back down to Earth, and San Antonio was on top of its game.

“They shot 50 percent from the field. We turned the basketball over, gave them 20 points off of turnovers,” Mark Jackson said. “That’s what cost us the ballgame.”

Game 3 came down to the things the Spurs do regularly: hit shots, attack the paint and play good defense. The rotation has been out of whack with Tiago Splitter’s injury and the Warriors’ small-ball tendency, but things were as close to normal as they’ve been in a long time on Friday night.

While it’s crucial the Spurs’ Big 3 played well at this juncture, the role players stepped into a very clear-cut capacity. Boris Diaw, especially. He scored nine points, but he did his damage in a small-ball atmosphere that allowed him to control space down low. We’re finally seeing a full-strength squad — with Tiago Splitter starting in the frontcourt following an ankle sprain that caused him to miss Game 1 — and results have, at least for now, reflected what the Spurs had expected heading in to this second-round series.

And as Golden State struggled to hit shots, the idea that these looks couldn’t possibly keep falling came to fruition. Despite not playing their best ball, the Spurs head in to Game 4 with a 2-1 lead in the series. Even with another game remaining in Oakland, San Antonio has flipped the outlook back in the favor of the silver and black.

The Spurs have figured something out. And as long as the San Antonio system doesn’t fail itself, the Warriors will have their work cut out for them trying to win another series from the perimeter.

And Steph hurt his ankle. Again. His lowest extremities heal more quickly than you’d think — given the porcelain his joints are seemingly made of — but with less than 48 hours before Sunday’s Game 4, the pressure has swung entirely toward the Warriors and the home they call ‘Roaracle.’

If their star isn’t right, the fans in the stands will hardly matter.


  • Nima K.

    well done. Now pleeeeeeeeeeeease repeat in game 4!

  • TheFG21

    We should put nasty pressure on that rolled left ankle. Green did an awesome job guarding Curry last nite. His quickness and movement could be compromised for Game 4 on Sunday.

  • Melbourne Spur

    Game 3 was so important. It has now squashed some of their confidence and belief, it has given us home court back, and we started to play on our terms rather than bowing to theirs. Started big which I liked and called for (and our first quarter was by far the best of the series), picked our moments to go small, and generally played Spurs basketball.

    Other small points…..
    – Save for the game winner in game 1, Manu is struggling big time compared to the Lakers series. Still not right yet in my mind. He has to switch on if we are to get through Memphis (my pick for the other series) and Miami . It’s one thing to say that we live and die with Manu being Manu, but Manu is only being half-of-Manu at the moment, and the other half is not real flash.
    – Tim’s and-1 jumper that drew Bogut’s 5th with the shot-clock running down was the biggest play of the game. Huge swing if that was a stop for GSW.
    – No way they beat us 3 of 4 now including 2 games a home, regardless of how hot they shoot.
    – Green deserves heaps of credit for his D on Curry, not just for this game but all series when he has had the assignment.
    – I really hope Curry has a strong game 4 with no signs of ankle soreness, just so we can’t hear “If Steph didn’t role his ankle……..” crap from all non-Spurs fans. I want this to happen despite a Spurs W ofcourse.

  • TheFG21

    Couple of notes..

    1) Man I think behind Parker and Duncan, Diaw was our best player. Maybe not in numbers but in presence, defense and important shots. Close behind Leonard, then Green. Loved the roles of Spurs last nite!

    2) Is Tiago playing really injured or he’s lacking confidence or he’s damage goods? There was multiples oportunities where he could play one on one vs a smaller player and decided to pass. He must be more aggresive! Look at Diaw. He asked for the ball, posted and played hard down low directly to the basket. I liked Diaw’s aggressiveness!

  • Andrew G

    Tiago’s presence is important — if for nothing else, at least familiarity. I felt like the Spurs didn’t need to make adjustments after the first two games; like Matt said, they played Spurs basketball. They run their game, and make the other team adjust. The Warriors are playing college ball and trying to work around the perimeter, it’s not going to work against competent teams/coaches.

    Have faith, after game 2 people were writing the Spurs off. Winning game 3 was a start, but that doesn’t mean the series is in control just yet. The Warriors are going to come out fighting like the Bulls: they’ll kick, scream, and flail around. As long as the Spurs play their brand of basketball, keep their heads straight, and don’t get suckered into acting like the college kids on the other team, this will be over in 5.

    Any word on Parker’s leg? People are focusing on Curry’s ankle, but Tony was hobbled in the fourth. Also, I don’t know if the writers actually read these comments, but I’d like to see the articles dated, if feasible.

  • idahospur

    The Spurs played a good game. As in they didn’t play four minutes plus ten of overtimes of game one, or a good five minutes of game 2. They played well the entire game and finally looked like a team looking like a Finals contender.

    I read over the Game 2 report after last night’s win. Pop said that he was glad Curry and Thompson took turns in Games 1 and 2 being the leader and hoped that neither of them would perform well in Game 3. Seems he was already prepped at that point.
    Spurs are the better team and are looking that way. Injuries happen, especially when players do not get rest during the game.
    If Spurs take Game 4, I see closing in San Antonio in 5. If GSW takes 4, I think it will be pushed to 7, with each team winning their home games.
    GO SPURS GO!
    PS For any Spurs fans who watch Psych, this week’s episode contained a letter which said “GO SPURS!” written on it.

  • Andrew G

    I blame Manu’s poor outings on Pop. The Laker games left him unprepared to handle the minutes he’s playing in this series. 20 minute limit every game, followed by a week of rest, followed by almost 30 minutes a night in the Warrior series–he just doesn’t have his legs after one day of rest.

    Luckily, Danny wants to play this year. I’m just waiting for Kawhi’s big game.

  • Jaydog7

    The Return of The System! The ball movement
    was on point in the 3rd qtr. Two things with GS:
    1.) without David Lee in the lineup, they are hurting
    He’s their workhorse down low, and the only one that
    can truly make Duncan work defensively
    2.) Jarret Jack with that bad pass at the end of the 4th
    Qtr. again shows GS’s lack of execution late in games.
    There’s no way you are going to beat a team like San Antonio
    with mistakes like that, especially when they hold you
    to under 40% from the field.

    Oh and props to Gary Neal for trying to draw that
    charge, even though he was a step late!

  • junierizzle

    I’m waiting for a big game from Leonard too. He’s been solid thus far but we need a game where he goes for 16 in a quarter and finish with 27 points. This series is Taylor made for him.

  • junierizzle

    I think its more than just Curry and Thompson missing shots. Why were they missing shots? Because Spurs finally got into them and harassed them. That’s how I thought they would play D from jumpstreet. Now I hope they stick to it.

  • Allan

    frankly speaking, i don’t really care about the means, as long as the end means we won. there are usually no side notes on sports history books anyway, it;s not like they’ll put an asterisk on our 5th championship saying, stephen curry was injured that’s why we won the semis.

  • td4life

    I agree with you about Timmy’s crazy three-point play. On a night when our confidence and shooting was just so dialed in (especially Tony’s) and the guys really looked like the Spurs, once Timmy was able to bail out that possession as the shot clock ran down, I 100% knew that we had this game.

  • Brandon in LA

    Pop made some great adjustments. Like playing Diaw more, letting Parker guard Curry when he was fresh in the first half but putting Green/Leonard on him in the second half when Parker was tired, and putting in Joseph early to give Parker a breather.

    I also love that Pop gave Bonner a quick hook after he passed up his first open shot, then bricked his next three wide open shots. Bonner can’t guard the Warriors little players and if he’s not scoring, he’s useless. Unfortunately, after playing well in the Lakers series, the Red Mamba has regressed to Playoffs Bonner. This series just isn’t for him. Give Diaw his minutes, and put Blair in if Diaw gets tired.

    It’s great seeing Duncan constantly talking to Leonard. He’s showing great leadership by taking “the future of the franchise” under his wing. Leonard kept bricking his free throws because he was rushing them, and it looked like Duncan finally pulled him aside and told him to slow down and take a breath before he shot. Funny seeing Duncan giving free throw advice.

    With Neal and Ginobili struggling, Diaw has been the X factor in the Spurs victories. I’m waiting for Neal to bust out of his slump and score 17 points. But if he keeps tossing up bricks, why not give Patty Mills a chance? At the very least, Mills will add a lot of energy and he’ll be able to chase around the Warrior guards. He’s the only guy we have who can score as quickly as Curry. Neal looks like he’s too slow to get open, and when he does get an open look, he rushes the shot.

  • Brandon in LA

    I just have to laugh now when a TV commentator says “Uh oh, you can’t keep leaving Bonner open like that.” Then Bonner tosses up a brick or passes to a non-open teammate. Spurs fans know better than to think Bonner’s shooting percentage will stay anywhere near what it was in the regular season.

  • sr. beaverotti

    Corey Joseph hounding Jarret jack was marvelous. One less guy to wear down Tony. Great to know he can be counted on.

  • SICK-WIT-IT

    I LOVE HOW MY COMMENTS FROM A MONTH AGO STILL RING TRUE. JARRET JACK HAS NOTHING FOR US AND CURRY AND THOMPSON CAN’T HIT MIRACLE SHOTS FOREVER. THIS SHOULD GET WRAPPED UP IN 5 UNLESS MORE MIRACLE SHOTS GO IN. GO SPURS GO. BRING THE HEAT!

  • assistman

    I’d also prefer to see Blair (and even Mills) in this series over Bonner (and Neal), but it’s not gonna happen. Pop is gonna keep giving the opportunities to the rotation guys he’s gonna lean on the coming series. Blair would deliver, but Pop just loves Bonner’s skill set and wants his guys to struggle through it and find their game.

  • neverthehero

    this is only going to happen if he gets the green light from PoP and gets fed the ball.

  • TheFG21

    For next season I think San Antonio should get rid of Splitter and look for a dominant Center like Al Jefferson or something to that caliber. W/ Timmy retiring soon and Manu losing his touch, we need a competitive and scoring force in the Paint to compliment Parker and future “Big 3 guy” K.Leonard. At some point, Splitter lost his confidence. Most of the time if he isnt picking n roll he has this lost face that I dont know what to think. When GS guards are grabbing the rebounds in plays involving him you know something is wrong.

  • Andrew G

    Lol @ Al Jefferson being a dominant center. Tiago got injured, Pop is easing him back in. He is great on the pick-and-rolls, which is what the Spurs run to death. He takes a huge beating all night and rarely gets his share of the calls, he’s exactly what the Spurs need.

    Complaining about his rebounding is silly. Golden State lives off of long, perimeter shots. Long shots = long rebounds, which he won’t have access to inside the paint. Trying to confine him into a “big 3″ role is unreasonable as well. We all saw the success Denver had this season with no “big 3″. Tiago is simply a piece of the puzzle, he does what his coach asks of him, and does it well. He just needs his legs under him, which will take time. Have patience, Pop sees all, and knows all. 10 more to go.

  • assistman

    For better or worse, I expect SA will make Big Al an offer. There will be lots of competition for Patrick Patterson, but I think the Spurs will try to woo both of them together if they can find a way to swing it. We also a need depth on the wing like Reddick, Matt Barnes, or Igoudala, but we don’t have enough cap space to fill all our roster needs. If Splitter is affordable, he might be the better signing in conjunction with one of these other guys.

  • junierizzle

    He has a light, now sure how green but he has a light. They post him up and they let him try and take his man off the dribble. He has had his opportunities now he just has to make the most of it. He already gets points on hustle and open looks. Now he hast to score on his one-on-one opportunities. Spurs are famous for not caring who scores. If Leonard starts to get hot they’ll ride him.

  • CiaPop

    Al Jess is too slow to play with Duncan to me, I think someone more mobile like Smith is a better choice.

    Duncan Baynes
    Smith Diaw

    Wouldn’t suck.

  • CiaPop

    Baynes has a jumper like Tim, Smith like to shoot 3 (although he shouldn’t) and can post up like Diaw, there would be a perfect symmetry between both units.

  • TheFG21

    Lol @ Jefferson?!? Dude he’s much more of a presence down low, can play the pick n roll and he’s as slow as Tiago. Imagine TD retiring and Splitter as a center piece on the Paint, yep it sucks. I recognized the pick n roll of Tiago but that is. And the rebounds guards were stealing from Splitter were In.the.Paint. Not long perimeter rebounds. Im not talking about total rebounds at the end of the game but specific opportunities in the paint.

    The ideal guy would be a healthy Bynum, very defensive and very very quick hands. But we know he’s an injury ticking bomb…

  • senorglory

    I’ve seen nothing but big games from kawhi, and couldn’t be happier with him.

  • senorglory

    Even Hubie remarked that splitter was “a young man without confidence.”

  • Titletown99030507d

    Pop Wrecked His Confidence By Inserting Bonner And Blair And Taking Away Minutes Compared To What He Was Getting When He Was On A Roll. Pop Screwed HimJust Like He Did Blair Last Season. End Of Story. Too Bad.

  • Titletown99030507d

    Thank Pop For That.

  • Titletown99030507d

    Thats So True. Good Observation. Hes In System Where A 37 Year Old Gets First Billing Shooting From The Top Of ThE KeY Averaging 40 Minutes A Night Where Haf Of Of Those Go In On A Good night. But Hey He Earned It. TiagoWill Excel In System Geared For Him. Not In A System Where Every Body Is A Gunner Wants To Put The Team On Its shoulders.

  • Titletown99030507d

    Baynes Is Even Slower Than Splitter. PleaSe. He Will Get Ate Up By Quicker bigs.

  • Titletown99030507d

    Try Again.

  • http://www.facebook.com/brandon.ochoa.35 Brandon Ochoa

    You know what happened? There was no pregame break down on here so the spurs lost. As simple as that…

  • CiaPop

    Duncan would be paired with Smith and Baynes with Diaw dummy.

  • Pingback: The San Antonio defense has taken control of the series