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