Golden State Warriors 97, San Antonio Spurs 87: Historically bad shooting can’t get job done


San Antonio had a chance to put this series in the back seat, to situate the rearview mirror on the vaunted Oracle Arena as it left northern California with a high probability of leaving it there for good in the 2013 postseason.

But the Spurs slipped. And in doing so, they opened the box offices for Game 6 in Oakland.

And it didn’t look like it would end up in a 97-87 Warriors win in overtime. Not for the first three quarters. In a combination of bad Golden State shooting and good San Antonio defense, the Warriors couldn’t score in the first half. And on top of that, Manu Ginobili was looking like the old Manu for the first time all series.

Ginobili scored 14 of his 21 points in the first two quarters, matching Tim Duncan’s first-half output in a spectacular vintage effort. Manu came in to Game 4 shooting 32 percent from the floor (17 percent from three) in the series, but his performance prior to the break was exactly what a lethargic Spurs team needed. The flat, tired jumpers we’ve seen throughout the series had some pop in them, and Ginobili’s high-arching shots resembled more of the beauty his Game-1 winner possessed.

He looked comfortable.

The only problem was, it wasn’t the icing on the cake that was the anatomy of so many Manu playoff performances before it. He didn’t get to the line — was 0-for-2 in the game — and wreak havoc on a Golden State interior that was ravaged by foul trouble, and on top of that, one of the team’s constants struggled mightily. It was the complete antithesis of Game 3 for Tony Parker, as he labored his way to 17 points on 17 shots. And while Ginobili was doing his damage (the good kind), Parker couldn’t keep up.

It was unfortunate for the Spurs, because the Warriors were ready to give it away. Golden State scored 37 points on 30 percent shooting in the first half, turning the ball over 11 times in the process and just asking for San Antonio to walk out with a commanding 3-1 lead in the series. But the Spurs never took advantage.

San Antonio would only get colder, and as the game wore on, Golden State was the side hitting the big shots. The Spurs shot 35.5 percent throughout — including 25.9 percent from three and 56 percent from the line — and went 1-for-10 in overtime, forking over a chance to steal a second consecutive game on the road and virtually lock this thing up. When you let a team with those kind of shooters off the hook, you’re playing with fire.

The Warriors dominated the Spurs 13-3 in the extra frame, stealing their second win in the series and ending Sunday’s misery for what looked like a tired San Antonio team.

But the silver and black head back home with something they left Texas on Thursday without: home-court advantage.

Despite not taking advantage on the final leg of the current trip to the bay, San Antonio still has the upper hand. On paper, at least. The Spurs have shot just 38 percent from the field in the series, yet remain tied with two of the three potential remaining games on their home floor. Keeping those numbers in mind, you’ll take it.

In fact, today’s shooting performance will go down in the team’s history books. The Spurs haven’t shot worse than 36 percent from the floor, worse than 26 percent from the 3-point line and 56 percent or less from the free-throw line in a single game since a November tilt against the Seattle Supersonics …. in 1997.

It does not get much worse than that. But take your time to digest those stats, then realize the Spurs almost won a playoff game today. If they’d have been anywhere remotely closer to their averages, this one may not have ever been a question.

San Antonio is getting the things it wants, offensively. Shots just aren’t falling, and the separation isn’t there. And on this day, in particular, the Spurs seemed ‘stuck in mud’ from the tip after a quick turnaround (by playoff standards) from Game 3 to Game 4. And much of that started with Parker.

After injuring his calf late in the victory on Friday night, the All-Star point guard lacked the same pep in his step we saw less than 48 hours earlier. But he wasn’t alone. Outside of Ginobili’s early burst and the ever-consistent early Duncan performance, the rest of the team struggled to offer any contributions. And what this sport ultimately comes down to is hitting shots, something Gregg Popovich has buried in our brains repeatedly.

As the Big 3 age, rest becomes more and more important. Who knows why the Spurs couldn’t take the lid off the basket on Mother’s Day? But with an afternoon start that came 36 hours after they walked off the court late Friday night, this team had no legs. Make no mistake about it, the Warriors looked ragged, too. But whether it was younger legs or a boost from the home crowd’s decibel level, Golden State found the energy to close, whereas the Spurs left theirs somewhere in the wake of Game 3’s win.

San Antonio will have less than 48 hours on its own turf before it has to deal with the Warriors again at the AT&T Center on Tuesday night, and if fatigue is a problem, it must be dealt with because there are no breaks on the horizon. As players always say, this is the playoffs. And in the playoffs, you have to make shots.

Otherwise, vacation is a perfect remedy for the weary.

  • neverthehero

    Here’s my knee jerk reaction, let’s not take a 3 shot with 20 seconds to go with 12 seconds left on the shot clock. Here’s another observation, how about PoP actually lets Neal shoot some. Also here’s some internet coaching, being up 6 with less than 3 minutes to go, let’s put in some fresh bodies just to give some energy at the end of the game. Blair would have helped in that department. Cory only played 9 mins, I bet he was fresh for a 3 minute energy spurt. Think Mills couldn’t have knocked down at least one three at the end?… If everyone is missing shots and running on E, it’s not rocket science to put in some fresh blood just to see if anyone else can knock down a shot…. Take a look at the play by plays with less than 3 minutes to go, that’s not an experienced team I see finishing out a game ( no lay ups? really? can’t even drive one time to try and pickup a foul?) ( if you use tired as an excuse then it’s up to PoP to put in someone else)…. I know basketball happens but it’s a little disappointing when you hear about rest rest rest all season long, the Spurs execution and experience and the legendary coach then look at the play by play and see amatueur minutes.

  • Spurs fan 2222

    The shooting was awful, aside from Ginobili only one other player made a 3 and that was green who was 2-9!. Spurs shot 56% from the free thow line etc. Leonard, Neal and Green need to step up more. Last 2 games the defense has been there but the supporting cast has sucked when it comes to scoring. Also someone please tell Diaw to shoot if he has no oen 5ft from him, how many tmes did he pass up wide open shots!? I hate when he does that… Hopefully they can close it out in 6 but if Curry and Thompson start making shots like in game one and two things will look grim for the Spurs.

  • zain521

    I honestly believe we have the supreme advantage when we play 2 bigs duncan and splitter/diaw instead of small ball. I just wish we did that more. When we match golden state by going small ball we’ll get beat because they’re faster and more physical. I even wouldnt mind putting bonner in the game if we gave him the shots to take. He shot 75% from the 3 point line in the first round, and I think he’s gotten over the hump of playing horrible in the playoffs. Also I hope we do more of the drive and kick with tony parker next 3 games. Just my 2 cents on how I hope we can improve to close this out in the next 2 games. We can’t go into the OKC/Memphis series having played 7 games, we need the rest. But then again, who am I to judge Pop. I trust him all the way

  • Brandon in LA

    Disheartening display of bricks. I lost count of how many Spurs shots clanged harmlessly off the front of the room. I’ve decided to just forget about this game. I bet Pop is telling his team the same thing. It’s now a three game series, with two games at home. At least we popped the “Oracle is too tough a place to win” mystique in Game 3.

    I agree with neverthehero that Neal needs to keep shooting and CoJo deserved more minutes. He has fresh legs and he competes hard every time.

    Blair is also well rested. Put him in there for a few minutes to knock some people around. No more Bonner this series, please. Diaw only seems to play well every other game. Maybe that extra weight he’s carrying makes him fatigue too easy.

  • Brandon in LA

    *Not room, rim.

  • SpurredOn

    To whatever degree series fatigue may begin to take hold, it should be noted that an older Bogut, and the heavy shooting legs of Curry & Thompson may also have some issues. If the SA home crowd helps to carry the Spurs to victory Tuesday night, perhaps the Warriors with the shorter bench will run out of gas under the defensive pressure of the Spurs.


    This was a game one couldn’t feel confident in the Spurs winning even though they held the lead the majority of the game. You knew something wasn’t right. And it’s hard feeling confident about the Spurs when they play with so little confidence.

    Given GS’s injuries and early foul problems, this was a game the Spurs should have easily won by 12. Instead, they played desperate and panicked. This wasn’t about X’s & O’s or about fatigue. This was mental breakdown. All the way from poor coaching decisions to players unable to facilitate team basketball on the court.

    They gave one away instead of steal a commanding lead. Heading back to San Antonio, Golden State now has the upper hand in the physique department. Dr. Phil…are you available? The entire Spurs organization needs some cerebral strengthening heading forward in this series let alone continuing throughout the playoffs.

    Spurs have the talent. Have the experience. Have the skills. Let’s hope they have the stamina to pull this series out. But more importantly, regain and maintain a mentality of confidence and resolve.

  • Melbourne Spur

    I’m still confident that we will win the series (although game 5 is a must win), but the way we are playing doesn’t shout “championship” to me. All year I’ve been waiting for our team to have a decent crack at Miami. We bail in the first match up, then Spo tried his best Pop impersonation in the second by sitting his guys.
    I have always thought we would beat Miami, but the way we are playing with such little……. not even sure what it is……. enthusiasm, urgency for the moment, desire to kill…… is really disheartening. Maybe they are internally so confident against the Warriors that they are coasting and won’t turn it on until needed, but from where I sit on the other side of the world, I see a team that has no positive body language, energy, or anything that you usually expect to see from a team 8 wins from a championship.
    Other than Mills and his constant towel waving, I am yet to really see a decent fist pump, high five or bench-jumps-to-their-feet-with-excitement moment from anyone. Have our core guys been there and done it so much before that intense playoff moments just don’t give them that extra pep in their step that they need anymore?
    We should have won that game in the first half. We should have been up 20+ given their foul trouble and the way they were shooting, but the lack of whatever it is let us brick free-throws, have careless turnovers, forget to box out, and all kinds of things that just looked lazy. Not fatigued, but lazy. I don’t care how long the season is or how many minutes someone is playing – you get to the NBA Playoffs as a competitor, and fatigue shouldn’t exist. So in my mind it’s laziness, or contempt for our opponent.
    I’m hoping you all who can get to game 5 can do your best to put the poker up the butt of our guys to fire them up, because for some reason so far they just don’t have it. I hope it is because they are only in second gear and saving themselves for the Grizz and the Heat, but it sure doesn’t look like it.

  • Melbourne Spur

    * 10 wins away…… bit ahead of myself.

  • Dublin Bound

    Where was Bonner? Seriously, where was he? Bonner should have gotten more run last night. A couple of timely threes and that game was out of reach. An out and out zone defense is tailor-made for a player like Bonner, he should have been playing(at least until he proved he couldn’t hit).

    Diaw couldn’t hit a shot and worse yet looked like he didn’t want to shoot. If Diaw, isn’t going to take Barnes to the block and abuse him or he’s not going to pull the trigger on a J when the closest defender is 8 feet away, he needs to be on the bench.

    With Diaw playing like that, if not Bonner then Blair. I know Blair has earned his way into Pop’s doghouse by not being able to match up with ‘big’ big men. But last night again was tailor-made, with the exception of Bogut there was no big man out there to post him up. And the energy, boards, and extra possessions he could have brought to the game might have made the difference.

    Worse still I miss Jack. This series again was made for SJax. Not going to cry about it, but seriously could Pop at least let T-Mac play a couple meaningful minutes to see if he can make a difference. T-Mac on Barnes has got to be a better matchup than Diaw or Splitter on him, at least for five minutes.

    We should have won last night, so I have far from lost hope. In Pop we trust, in Pop we trust.

  • TheFG21

    Because it was Mother Day and the whole family went to a Restaurant to celebrate, I had to “watch” the game through NBA GameTime (Gamecast) app and it was FRUSTRATING. Never would do it again. At one part we were losing by one point then all of the sudden the app refreshed and we were ahead by 8pts then 6 then 4 then 2 then EVEN (80-80)… It sucked, it really really sucked not to have seen what was happening. By the time we went to OT, I turned off the iPhone and didnt know of the result hours later when I get home.

    13-3 in OT? Meltdown? From what I read, in the last 9 minutes of play aprox -including OT- they outscored us 25-7. Thats nuts.

    Even though the series shifts to San Antonio tomorrow, now S.Curry is having more time to heal that rolled ankle and Im sure he would be more present in the game.

    In Pop we trust…

  • DorieStreet

    Even Neal had a turn at defending Barnes (he wasn’t shooting lights out, but hoisting and driving for 29 shots will get you points). With Manu and Tim (plus overall D) getting us that 10-point lead, no other Spur stepped up to help increase the lead to a double-digit halftime lead. (Tony was a gimpy going into game 4, and when Landry banged into his thigh, that reduced Parker’s offense even more as the game wore on.)
    Since Green and Leonard’s primary responsibility will be to keep the Warriors’ backcourt from torching the nets, significant scoring has got to come from the rotation guys.
    And it’s time to put Blair on the court–he can’t matchup to the rookie Green or hold his own against Landry?

  • ewhite06

    One thing i have noticed the games watching on TV: Marc Jackson seems to be always peeking at the Spurs bench. Or is it just bad timing with the camera? Is he watching Pop to see what he’s doing and trying to react? I honestly think he’s sneaking a look trying to pickup some pointers. Like a kid trying not to get caught cheating on a test in school. As for the game, i know they have the Big 3, but c’mon… maybe try to purposefully get the ball to someone else? Green and Leonard only get the ball when standing on the 3 point line otherwise its rebounds/putbacks. Can’t we use Leonard and Green’s size to drive on Curry and Thompson (when they are covering them on D respectively)? Make them play some defense, make them spend some energy. They are effectively hiding on D. Is there some reason we can’t go under screens for Jarrett Jack? We tried to go over on all of them and Jack hit just about every shot he took. The rest of the game… The poor shooting just happens sometimes. But the free throw percentage is embarrassing. That would have won us the game by itself.

  • ewhite06

    Bonner was on the bench where he belonged. I saw him come in and started counting. And just like clockwork he picks up his first foul with 10 seconds. I know he’s a great 3 shooter but he’s can’t keep his hands to himself. Diaw is not exactly quick but handles the ball much better and knows where to look (being an ex-PG). He just needs to get some confidence with his shot and take them when open.

  • lvmainman

    Bogut shot better from the free throw line than Ginobili or Green. Curry, on one good leg, outscored, had more assists, and more rebounds than Tony Parker. Pop is getting outcoached because Jackson is willing to use his bench. Biedrins, Jefferson, and Lee all got playing time. Why can’t Pop use McGrady for 3-4 minutes a half?
    Spurs will not win this series unfortunately.

  • TheRealDirtyP1

    DeJuan seems to get those rebounds that we’re not getting and go up for the putbacks. Pop doesn’t trust the guy, and if Pop doesn’t trust you, well, you’re f*cked.

  • SpursSurge82
  • TheRealDirtyP1

    Bogut is getting just about every rebound, we’re getting one shot just about every time down the floor, but that’s by design to slow their transition game. What you should be hoping is that Jarrett Jack hits a rough patch. He’s been the consistent one for them, and the one taking shots to end games and overtimes.

  • junierizzle

    It’s the playoffs, it ain’t gonna be pretty. Bott line is Green and Leonard have to play big. Like Bird-manand Cole for Miami Big. SorrY but Green and Leonard shouldn’t have noodle legs. When Spurs were winning Rings Bowen, Kerr, Horry and even Finley hit timely threes. Green and Leonard hit a couple of more shots and we steal this ugly game. I don’t know about you guys but I’ve been a little disappointed in Leonard thus far. He’s played decent but I think the Spurs thought he would be game-changing good not decent. What happened to his free throw shooting?

  • Andrew G

    Yea the sky is falling in.

    Outcoached? Really? The fact that he’s calling on Jefferson, whom we all know is awful, and Lee, who is playing with one leg and is an empty body on defense, shows how desperate he is. Tony Parker was just as hobbled as Curry was, but I guess ignoring the facts helps prove misguided points.

    What possible benefit is there to playing McGrady, who has been with the Spurs for all of a month? Go jump on the Warriors bandwagon, where you belong.

  • Thomas Coggins

    Agree Diaw is passing up some easy buckets, Tony (17 points) Manu and Tim are finding the hole not Green and Neal Leonard needs to take charge, post, drive and shoot, free throws free throws free throws would ahve won this game, need some nasty

  • Colin

    Free throws

  • Colin

    Calm down man, you’re overrating the importance of towel waving and fist pumps.

    Contempt and laziness for the Warriors? Really? I guarantee none of that is going on.

    I’m just as worried as you are but these boys know how the game is played. We dictated the style of play in Oakland. I’m looking for SA to come out in game 5 just like they did in game 3 and punch GSW in the face. If they don’t, look out…………..

  • Colin

    We dictated the style of play in both games in Oakland. The game plan was to allow Barnes to beat us. He scored 26 points on 26 shots, that is very inefficient and it worked. Our boys will be fine in the confidence dept, they made the Warriors play how the Spurs wanted.

    GSW shot horribly from the field as well but made their free throws.

    Everything else being equal, missed free throws were the difference, simple as that.

  • TD BestEVER

    I agree about Blair needing some minutes…….. This series is perfect because he plays more like a SF that can’t shoot anyway……. he has the quick feet/hands to give Barnes/Green a little trouble and would definitely own them on the boards……. He might even foul someone REALLY HARD…….. Anything is better than watching TP limp around and Manu hoisting up all that crazyness and TD trying to fight off the bigger stronger Bougut and still make the rotations to stop the driving players………We need ENERGY, HUSTLE, REBOUNDS…… IF that’s not DJB then why didn’t we trade him……

  • Jake Richards

    Of course! Totally agree! . The Warriors are a strong , solid and capacious team. We will see what Jackson can give for the Spurs.. ..

  • idahospur

    The saddest thing is that even though the Spurs have played poorly, it could have been a sweep and our team would be back in San Antonio waiting for OKC/Memphis. Get focused and win the next two!

  • Niyari

    i mean we really lost that game on poor free throw shooting, they’re normally the one thing we’re consistently good at. of course, it would help if we had someone like Barnes stepping up on offense.

  • who’s it

    this is going to be a good one!!!

  • Titletown99030507d

    Timmy has no legs at this point and its showing in his shots. by the way to support some of your statement Timmy has been playing a butt load of minutes.

  • Titletown99030507d

    Timmy missed some as well. I dont remember the last time he missed 2 free throws.

  • Melbourne Spur

    I know they don’t have contempt for the Warriors, I was only trying to offer an excuse for our lacklustre play which at this point in the year shouldn’t be so.
    My issue with the body language/enthusiasm levels is that it might be okay for Tim, Manu and Tony, but I am sure that the young guys would feed off some higher levels of excitement in the team (well maybe not stone faced Kawhi). Without that sort of thing, it is very hard to get through tough patches in games in the playoffs, and it’s also hard to extend hot streaks too.
    Being calm and composed is one thing. Being numb and unemotional is another.
    Here’s hoping our “punch” hits their glass jaw and we can gain some momentum into the WCFs.

  • Titletown99030507d

    id rather give DeColo a shot. Talk about ruining player confidence.

  • Titletown99030507d

    Then why is he still on the team? I would rather have Blair on the court now then Bonner. Bonner just waits too long to set up and that results in the defender running him off the arc making matty put the ball down. Well lets just say thats not why hes on the floor. if he wont shoot get off the court especially if no one cant get the ball through the hoop.

  • Titletown99030507d

    Has any one noticed our two wins have resulted when one of the their players have fouled out? Hope thats not a trend.

  • Titletown99030507d

    Bogut will get his rebounds in this series thats a fact. We just need to make our shots and free throws. The ICYHOT boys need to be more consistent also cut down the TO’s to like half of what I saw in game 4.

  • Titletown99030507d

    The winner of game 5 wins the series. And if we lose than the TD era is over and no way hes getting his fifth. Whats the point of finishing 2nd or 1st in the west for 3 years then run out of gas every single year. Timmy can’t play 82 more games at 30 plus minutes then play 40 minutes in the playoffs next season.

    They need a dominant big man to play with Splitter. Timmy can come off the bench. Next season its time for him to do what Manu has been doing for a while. Lets move forward in that respect.

  • neverthehero

    Well that’s ultimately my issue. Everyone is missing shots and dogged at the end of the game why not put in some fresh bodies even for two minutes. I mean I can appreciate the warrior mentality but damn if you are building brick houses then go sit down. Pop says Blair is always ready , well prove it. 2-3 minutes of each quarter is all I’m asking for.

  • Titletown99030507d

    Thats the reason we lost..trusting in pop. Wheres Decolo? In a suit. Wheres Bonner? Getting run off the arc and trying to be LBJ. Wheres Timmy? Tired and missing free throws – no legs. Where’s the ball movement? No where every body’s gunning as if their trying to fatten their stat sheet. They were lucky to win game 1. Game 3 is the only game resembling Spurs way of playing. Splitter has looked as if he doesn’t give a crap. Oh maybe its because he quit trying to go to the rim after the pick after seeing Spur player after Spur player ignore him and just throw up those silly bricks. He may as well be picking his nose instead.

  • Titletown99030507d

    We didnt have any takers for him. He actually can shoot now. At least he has the fortitude to put up shots where Bonner needs a two week notice. I’m tired of that. Either attempt a shot or get off the court. They need to run Splitter, Blair and Diaw rotation while Timmy sits to rest. Timmy cant play 40 minutes.

  • Titletown99030507d

    if he doesnt foul and make any to’s he could be huge.

  • Titletown99030507d

    Shit that was funny. “I’d be screaming loud too if my team made the playoffs one every 10 years” Is Pop a nazi? I knew it! Just kidding.

  • Titletown99030507d

    What’s with the sound meter? I get it it’s loud in there! We should have a fake sound meter that looks just like theirs and put it on the jumbotron or whatever it’s called instead of seeing two pathetic people kissing each other just because it tells you.

  • Titletown99030507d

    Cant Be Half As Bad AS Typing On This Droid Razer With The Updated FirmWare. Hence The Capitalize Words. If It Aint Broke Dont Fix It.

  • New_Mexico_Spurs_Fan

    . . . . showing in his shots both from the floor and the line.

  • New_Mexico_Spurs_Fan

    As long as Pop doesn’t play anyone, our bench is just as short as the Dubs’ bench.

  • New_Mexico_Spurs_Fan

    Melbourne, i believe in my heart of hearts that it’s fatigue. The Spurs look very much like they did in the final four games of the WCF last year. We look the same, except the fatigue, lack of urgency, lack of LEGS is happening one series earlier . . . because the big three are one year older.

  • New_Mexico_Spurs_Fan

    Green’s missing both free throws down the stretch were inexcusable.

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