Golden State coach Mark Jackson insisted the Warriors’ historic collapse in the opener of the Western Conference semifinals would only help his team’s growth.
The young Warriors took a big step in their development, withstanding another furious rally by the Spurs for a 100-91 victory to even their series at one game each and snap a 30-game skid in the Alamo City.
Klay Thompson had a career-high 34 points and 14 rebounds, and Stephen Curry added 22 points for Warriors, which hadn’t won in San Antonio since February 14, 1997. None of the losses was as painful as the one Monday.
”I truly believe the problems are tribulations for where you are going,” Jackson said. ”Game 1 made us better. We did not panic. We made plays. That could be a heck of a basketball team that’s extremely well-coached and has no quit in them. We don’t have any give up in us, either. The bottom line is we made the plays we needed to make.”
Tim Duncan scored 23 points and Tony Parker added 20 for San Antonio Spurs, which had won 5 straight in the postseason. Manu Ginobili had 12 points and Kawhi Leonard had 11 points and 12 rebounds.
The Golden State Warriors Warriors blew a 16-point lead with 4 minutes left in regulation in the series opener and lost 129-127 in double overtime. No NBA team had blown such a big lead with such small time left in a playoff game.
It appeared Golden State was headed straight for a similar collapse Wednesday night, but the heartbreaking loss actually helped settle the players’ nerves.
”Coach told us to have amnesia at halftime,” Curry related. ”We’re a young team so that might help that we can forget about it and just keep playing and having a good time, not worry about that 19-point lead getting cut to 6. That’s going to happen; you’re on the road against a great vet basketball team, so you can’t get too rattled.”
Golden State led by 20 points with 8:38 left in third quarter, but San Antonio pulled within 97-89 on Ginobli’s 3-pointer with 4:23 left in the game.
Though it was the closest the Spurs would come, as they missed 6 straight shots before Cory Joseph sank a 16-footer with 18.9 seconds remaining.
”What happened in Game 1 wasn’t about their inexperience,” Ginobili expounded. ”It’s one of those things that happen rarely. We shouldn’t have won that game. They came out hungrier and with more determination. They just did a much better job than us.”
Thompson, who scored 29 points in the 1st half, finished 8 for 9 on 3-pointers and 13 for 26 overall.
”Klay was unbelievable,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. ”A lot of those shots were tough. A few of them were wide open because of mistakes, but other ones were difficult shots, either contested or off-balance, but he knocked them down. That is what the playoffs are about; players have to make shots.” Basketball lines.
The Warriors did so as a group.
Harrison Barnes had 13 points; Carl Landry added 10 and Andrew Bogut had 6 points and 11 rebounds.
After scoring 44 points in the opener, Curry’s total was cut in half as he shot 7 for 20 from the field.