After losing home-court advantage in the second round of the Western Conference playoffs on Wednesday, San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker had an interesting comment regarding the series between the Spurs and Golden State Warriors.
“If you want to win in the playoffs,” said Parker after game two, “you have to win on the road.”
Parker and the Spurs did just that Friday night as the series shifted to Oracle Arena where ESPN added a noise meter to track the volume in the arena. Only on Friday, the noise meter never had a chance to rise often as the Spurs controlled the tempo and momentum for almost 48 minutes of the game.
"It's a huge win for us,” said Parker (32 points, 5 assists) of defeating the Warriors 102-92. “It was a must-win situation. I thought our team was very focused. By far our best game of the series."
Though the game was competitive, the injury bug bit both squads Friday night. Warriors guard Stephen Curry (16 points) sprained his ankle in the fourth quarter and was limping excessively. He finished the game, but was hobbling the entire way.
Parker said he took a Jarrett Jack knee to his calf in the fourth quarter and though it’s a new injury, he said he’ll be ready for Sunday’s game four.
In game two, Spurs forward Tim Duncan said the Warriors had control of the tempo in the series. On Friday, the Spurs retook that control from the tip as Coach Popovich elected to start with Tiago Splitter in the starting lineup, as he had done routinely in the regular season.
After the game, Popovich said his team looked and played more comfortable with Splitter back in the starting lineup. That was the case as the Spurs jumped out on the Warriors early with a 32-23 lead in the first quarter.
The two French players, Parker and Boris Diaw, poured in 20 combined points in the first to guide the Spurs while Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard locked down Curry and Klay Thompson effectively.
The script reversed in Oakland as the home team Warriors were now the ones with shooting struggles, as they shot 44% in the first quarter while the Spurs shot a scorching 65%.
The Spurs set a trend that continued throughout the game as they shot 51% on the night and the Warriors finished shooting 39%. San Antonio’s largest lead was 11 and though the Warriors would tie a few times, they were never able to reclaim the lead as the Spurs would always push it back to 9-10 points to close each quarter.
"It's a make or miss league," said Warriors head coach Mark Jackson of his team shooting 39% from the field and 32% from 3-point range, an area they dominated in game two.
Parker kept his foot on the gas throughout the night as he had only missed three shots going into halftime and had already scored 25 points. Duncan chipped in with 23 points and 10 rebounds, along with two blocks. Leonard scored 15 points and grabbed nine rebounds.
In the third quarter, though he was struggling shooting the basketball, Manu Ginobili scored eight of his 12 points to keep the Spurs surging. Thompson also poured in 11 of his 17 points in the third, but he ended the night shooting 7-of-20 from the field.
“We had more guys play well,” said Coach Popovich after the game. From Green’s defense on Curry, to Cory Joseph giving solid minutes off the bench, Friday saw a Spurs team running more than just a 1-on-1 type of offense. Instead, there was ball movement and spacing as the team tallied 21 assists and just 11 turnovers.
Defensively, the Spurs were consistent throughout the night as they held the Warriors to 92 points on the night and a no more than 25 points in a quarter.
"We can't hang our heads,” said Thompson after the game. “That's the worst thing we can do."
For a young team that just had its momentum taken from them, and also not knowing the health status of their superstar, it’ll be interesting to see how the Warriors respond in game four on Sunday.
Jackson said if Curry doesn’t play Sunday, a huge dose of the Warriors’ offense will be run through Jarrett Jack who struggled in game three with 11 points and two turnovers on 5-of-12 shooting.
Thompson though, believes the Warriors’ star Curry will be back Sunday.
"I have faith in Steph,” said Thompson. “I think he'll bounce back."
I'll promise you one thing, if you want a ring this season we absolutely need Manu, Bonner, and Tiago. Like it or not. It is true Manu can't move like before, but he can still make plays in spurts you all know that. Sour grapes after a win ?? C'mon enjoy what we've got. Those guys mentioned definitely need to pick it up for Sunday. Parker may not be able to go. Stay the ship. Keep pounding the rock. Go Spurs !!!
The rest of the team must pick up more offensive load from TD and TP. Green is solid in defense but not aggressive on offense. Must knock down 3s. Manu plays as poorly as I see since the beginning of this series. His shot is flat and he plays as an old man.Why not put De Colo in the game. At least he can play defense better than Manu. It's time for Manu to back up his talk by playing better. Talk is cheap. If he does not play well, it's time to let him go. Diaw plays great 1st and 3rd game. Splitter looks lost at time and turn the ball over back to back in the 3rd quarter very badly. I think it's better to get Al from Utal if Splitter ask for 10 mil/yr. Splitter is even worse than Asik from Houston.
Time to get rid of Bonner, Neal, Blair and save at least 8 mil.
@Gospurs2013 Two years ago, I had been suggesting that these 3 players MUST be released. Neal is too undersized and so is Blair; Bonner never can fix his game. He is one of those guys with ideal length but doesn't know how to use it. But coach Pop seems to love these 2 so much The Spurs will not miss any sleep without Splitter. Hey, they will not only save $8m but $18m with Jax gone. The Spurs can sign free agents like JJ Hickson and trade for Varejao. Maybe they can call on the services of Hanga (SG) and Bertans (SF). Move up the draft board and get a quality rookie.
@Gospurs2013 Manu had a +/- of +13. That was the second best +/- of the game (Kawhi +16). 'Plays as poorly'. He had a bad first half but got back in the second half. You have to look at the other stuff Manu does. He makes the others better. He gets calls, deflections... Despite his 1-8 shooting, we still won the game with double digits.
@ChrisCano @be_Spurs @Gospurs2013 +/- means that when he was on the floor, the Spurs outran GSW by 13 points. That does not compute with 'was torched on every play'. Ginobili has his role with the second unit. Even with the poor shooting, his minutes are still justified IMO. And there is a lot of upside. Not to mention that he got a couple of questionable calls against him. That could be the difference between 12 and 16 points.
Then about the fanclub. It is clear that Ginobili is nearing the end of his carreer, and he's paid a lot right now. But his next contract will (should) be more reasonable. 'Needs to go' is just plain disrespectful. Where would you send him to? Cleveland? Sacramseattle? He should end his carreer in San Antonio. And treating your valued franchise players with respect is what will convince quality free agents that seek a ring to come to our small-market franchise.
@ChrisCano @be_Spurs @Gospurs2013 He is playing poorly right now. But I remember people saying the same things last year. To me, he still plays good even when he plays poor for his game. The only thing he does bad, is shooting too much. But I think Pop wants him to shoot because he has ffaith in Manu, that his shooting will return on time to advance in this series. I do not agree with the above stats, a lot of stats are a joke if you ask me. Tony won this game for us. But it would be impossible without a lot of players. Especially Duncan, but also Leonard, Green's (especially defense), Diaw (which was one of the better players in G3 if you ask me) and of course.. Ginobili..
The biggest problem in my opinion is the team not clicking. I think advancing to the finals while struggling is a much better way to get in the west finals than last year, when we won 20 games in a row. Than lost one, and had no idea how to deal with a loss. I think it would be better to lose tonight again, have the series at 2-2. If the Spurs manage to win the next two, advance with 4-2, it would be a better test for team. And if nobody gets injured, you know what they say: if it doesnt kill you, it only makes you stronger.
@Gospurs2013 I've been saying for months he need to go, he is a shell of what he once was, he is too much of a liability out their once he try to take over the game when he just cant. I really think once he is out their it takes away Leonard's positions and his numbers decrease...I think Leonard is the X-factor out their for the spurs...I even seen times where Manu didn't even want to pass the ball to TP when he was calling for it i mean his 4-11 shooting was embarrassing
@Gospurs2013 Yeah, thanks God the Spurs won last night despite Manu snd Splitter. Manu kept on shooting and missing. He shouldn't be guarding Thompson or anyone of the Warrior's backcourt. He is too old and slow to check them He should refrain from making questionable passes. Yeah, maybe let De Colo play. Splitter is just too slow and unable to protect the rim. He can't play Landry or Draymond Green. He is totslly lost in the shuffle and made crazy passes.
Bonner Must find his own shoots and stand infront of his man. Use his 6'10" body. Good work done on Curry and Thompson. ALWAYS assign a player to them and deny touches. GO WIN, GOP SPURS!
It continues to amaze me how no matter who our Spurs play...that team gets ALL the coverage whether they win or not. I just turn down the sound. Even though we won, the recap and all the promos during the game have been mainly about GS. Even when we were playing the overrated Fakers...everything was about them.
@Spursgirl1953 well it adds to the drama, everyone knows that the spurs are going to win, it is the same for the bulls get more coverage than the Heat...It just shows that we are the better team
Solid game by Kawhi. Played a long game though. If Curry doesn't get to play and Spurs take control early, maybe TMac can play some minutes in Kawhi's stead. Recover quick Tony. GSG!