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The Golden State Warriors had history against them on Monday night as they played the San Antonio Spurs, who have not lost a game at home to the Warriors since 1997.
The Spurs kept the streak alive and are now 45-7 against the Warriors in the Duncan era with a 111-96 thrashing of the Golden State Warriors.
Duncan, who went down with a left ankle injury midway through the first quarter and will be out for the next two weeks, left the game with one rebounds shy of passing Dennis Rodman for 21st on the All-Time NBA rebounding list.
With Duncan out, Tiago Splitter contributed with eight points and six rebounds in the first quarter. His contribution, along with 12 first-quarter points form Manu Ginobili, gave the Spurs a 32 to 21 lead at the end of the first quarter.
With Matt Bonner's outside shot drawing iron, the Spurs relied on Ginobili, Steve Novak and Gary Neal to keep the foot on the accelerator against the Warriors to finish off the first half. Normally a high-scoring duo, starting guards Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry were limited to a combined 2 points in the first half, and watched the Spurs go into the lockerroom with a nine-point lead, 54-45.
The Spurs went on a 18-5 run in the third quarter, led by Tony Parker, George Hill and Steve Novak, who hit two three-pointers during the run. Ellis and Curry tried to get the Warriors back into the game in the fourth quarter, but their 27-25 lead in the fourth quarter wasn't enough and didn't come early enough.
Manu Ginobili led both teams in scoring with 28 points. Tony Parker finished with 17 points and 15 assists, and Tiago Splitter made his presence felt with 10 points and 14 rebounds.
“Today (Splitter) had a very good game. In the first half, he played a couple one-on-ones, he passed the ball very well," Ginobili said about Splitter's contribution with Tim Duncan out. "As I said probably a million times, he’s a good player, he understands the game, he’s solid, reliable. He just has to be out there and feel confident and know that the team trusts him. That’s what happened to me, what happened to everyone that comes here for the first time, so he’s going to give us a big hand.”
The Spurs are now 57-13 on the season, are 33-3 at home and are seven games ahead of the Los Angeles Lakers, which at this point seems to be an insurmountable lead with just 12 games remaining on the schedule for the Spurs.
In Retrospect I spoke with Joshua Russell of Warriors Court prior to the game and asked about Golden State's chances to end the Spurs home winning streak against the Warriors.
"In short, a miracle. Seriously, for the Warriors to beat the Spurs in San Antonio, it will have to take monster games from nearly everyone wearing a Warriors uniform and it would take the kind of defensive effort that the Warriors seldom employ. If I were the Spurs, I would feel pretty darn confident that the streak will stay in tact."
"We'll see if the doctor can be accurate, because he was not very accurate with me, so we'll see." -Tony Parker
In Black & White
Spurs beat Warriors, lose Duncan (San Antonio Express-News)
Spurs' Duncan sprains ankle in win over Warriors (San Francisco Chronicle)
As I've said all season long, Parker has really embraced his role as a distributor and his assist numbers prove just that. 17 points and 15 assists to go along with a very good field-goal percentage are reason enough to start him in this last stretch of regular season games. With Tim Duncan out, Parker will likely get more touches and be looked to to lead the team along with Ginobili.
Steve Novak has also had two very good games and his role seems to be expanding. His ability to hit threes and score in limited playing time could be a great addition to the bottom of your roster in a deep league if your team is hurting for some 3-pointers.
Matt Bonner is continuing to struggle with his long-range game, and Warriors' guard Acie Law may be one to keep your eye on after he put up 14 points in 22 minutes last night.
The Four Factors
We all know that Tim Duncan is a tough dude, I'm just a little worried that he might get back later than expected because of his age. I hope I'm wrong with this.
Seriously if History repeats itself like what happened in 2005, we are celebrating another championship this year! That's the spirit! Go Spurs Go!
If Duncan can comeback like a week before the playoff starts, Tiago continues to blossom and the Spurs get the number seed I really like our chances this year.
This is a glass half full kind of senario if you think about it? this injury allows Tiago Splitter & DeJuan Blair to amp up on their game in terms of stepping up. In 2005 Timmy went down with a silmular injury, he was out for six games & the Spurs went on to win the NBA Finals. This can help the Spurs in many ways & not just the bigs but even for TP & Manu. "Now if you recall back in the 2005 season Timmy hurt his ankle, he was out 6 weeks going into the playoffs. That's when Tony Parker & Manu Ginobili really stepped up their games. I thought those two guys matured a ton & they were able to be huge contributors. As a matter of fact I thought Manu Ginobili in '05 shared a piece of that MVP trophy against the Detroit Pistons with Tim Duncan. He was that good, but I don't think he plays that well without Tim Duncan. Because you take Tim Duncan if Tim Duncan is there that last 6 weeks of the season Manu & Tony doesn't have that responsibility. But without Timmy really those 2 guys blossomed & it played huge dividends come playoff time." Sean Elliott
@TomTheSpursDude Very well said Tom! And thanks everyone for the comments and reads! Let's all hope that Tim Duncan heals fast.
Great take, Tom. Liking what I'm seeing out of Tiago and hope he can continue that in Tim's absence.