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Spurs complete amazing comeback to steal game 1 against Warriors

May 7, 2013, 2:33 AM EDT

Warriors Spurs basketball

What. A. Game.

After the contest Manu Ginobili said he had no idea how his Spurs won this game 129 to 126 to take a 1-0 in the Western Conference semi-finals. He’s not alone as I’m sure the Warriors will be tormenting themselves wondering the same thing.

The Spurs looked dead in the water against the Warriors in this one. Down 16 with a shade over 4 minutes to play San Antonio looked resigned to their fate. Tim Duncan went to the locker room with a stomach ailment and his teammates looked ready to simply play out the stretch, trying to find their rhythm for a Wednesday’s game 2.

Only something happened on the way to the Warriors winning their first game in San Antonio in 16 years. Golden State let their foot off the gas and the Spurs took full advantage. Over the next three minutes the Spurs ran off 15 straight points to pull within a single point.  

Tony Parker (28 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists) scored 8 of those 15 points, relentlessly attacking the rim on dribble penetration. Parker was freed up to get into the paint with Klay Thompson — who had done a very good job on Parker up to that point — fouling out on a reach in that seemed harmless at the time, but ended up being so huge. Mixed in with Parker’s brilliance was a Kawhi Leonard three pointer and two free throws from Boris Diaw.

On the Warriors possession after Diaw’s free throws, Jarrett Jack seemingly redeemed what had been a poor game from him up to that point with a step back jumper to push the lead to three with only 30 seconds remaining. However, the Spurs, doing what they do best, diagrammed a wonderful play for Danny Green to get free for a three pointer that tied the game, ultimately sending the game to overtime.

In a microcosm of the game up to that point, the Warriors jumped out to a quick 5 point advantage in OT but couldn’t hold on to their lead. The Spurs continued to fight and tied the game back up, leading to the two teams trading baskets for the entire extra frame. When the buzzer sounded after those 5 minutes, the scoreboard was still even and we were gifted 5 more minutes from two teams giving it their all.

If the game wasn’t good enough to this point, the second overtime was the ultimate climax. The period started with plays being made by unlikely sources as a Harrison Barnes three pointer and two Draymond Green free throws sandwiched a Parker lay in. A Diaw jumper and a Green three pointer gave the Spurs a nice cushion, but that would only last so long.

A Curry finger roll was followed by a fast break that ended with a pass to rookie Kent Bazemore who was able to finish with a reverse lay in put the Warriors back in position to claim a game they rightfully saw as theirs. Holding a one point lead with only 3 seconds to go, all Golden State needed was a single stop.

A stop they couldn’t get. Just like they did to tie the game at the end of regulation, the Spurs ran a nice set with multiple options breaking towards the ball. But just as everyone seemed covered, Ginobili snuck free behind the three point line on the far side of the court. A lob pass over the top of the defense found Manu’s hands and he let the long three go, hitting nothing but the bottom of the net.

Spurs win.

It really shouldn’t have come down to that play, though. The Warriors thoroughly controlled this contest for most of the game. Early on, Klay Thompson (19 points, 8-15 shooting) was hitting his outside shots and Andrew Bogut (10 points 15 rebounds) was controlling the paint on defense. Meanwhile, the Spurs looked like a team who hadn’t played in a week showing a rust and uncertainty in how to attack a steady Golden State defense.

Then, in the 3rd quarter, the Warriors broke the game open behind a brilliant display from Stephen Curry. The young marksman scored 22 of his game high 44 points in the period, dazzling everyone with an array of shots that even left his teammates dumbfounded on what he was doing. And when he wasn’t scoring, he was creating for his teammates dishing 3 of his 11 assists in those 12 minutes. Through that period Curry easily looked like the best player in the series, carrying his team to what looked to be a huge upset that had the potential of turning this series on its head.

It wasn’t meant to be, though. 

The Warriors showed a tremendous amount of fight in this one, never once giving up even after they gave away their huge lead. And, for that, they deserve a ton of credit. But it would be silly to think this type of game will have zero impact on their performance moving forward. They had the Spurs on the ropes, only to be KO’d in the late rounds by letting them back into the fight. Golden State has played this entire playoffs like they don’t know (or don’t care) that they’re not supposed to be this good, but losses like this have a way of sticking with you.

If it’s any consolation, they, along with the Spurs, just gave us the game of the playoffs. I doubt that helps, though.

  1. badintent - May 7, 2013 at 3:10 AM

    Great Defense on Curry.Check. Held to only 44. Next game he goes off for 54 and GSW wins.But Manu wins Flopamatic Award hands down.

  2. erckle31 - May 7, 2013 at 3:10 AM

    Wow. It’s as if the Warriors hand-wrapped, got on their knees and begged the Spurs to take that game from them. That was utterly horrific.

    • eventhorizon04 - May 7, 2013 at 3:11 AM

      It was disappointing how quickly the Warriors faded away after Klay Thompson fouled out.

    • andrewproughcfe - May 7, 2013 at 3:20 AM

      >”It’s as if the Warriors hand-wrapped, got on their knees and begged the Spurs to take that game from them.”

      I didn’t see Curry or Jarett Jack or Bogut or Barnes or Green do anything of the sort. Those guys played their butts off. Curry logged 57 minutes and 56 seconds of playing time – somehow he got a 4-second rest sometime during the game. First player ever to log 40+ points and 10+ assists against the Spurs in a playoff game.

      I don’t think you’ll find any Spurs saying that the Warriors “begged” them to “take” the game.

  3. eventhorizon04 - May 7, 2013 at 3:12 AM

    “If it’s any consolation, they, along with the Spurs, just gave us the game of the playoffs.”

    Agreed…though the screams of that female San Antonio Spurs fan will haunt my nightmares…

    • pistolpete0903 - May 7, 2013 at 3:20 AM

      Lol…and I thought it was just me hearing some female cry Ginobli!!!

      What a game, what a game!!!
      Hope it sets the tone for rest of the series.

    • rickyspanish - May 7, 2013 at 4:32 AM

      That lady has some pipes! She didn’t let up all game.

  4. moseskkim - May 7, 2013 at 3:23 AM

    As great a coach as mark Jackson is especially for someone who has only 2 yrs experience.. Tonight’s game was experience v inexperience. Gsw can win but need to execute 48 minutes. They had trouble finishing the Denver game and I’ve got to blame Jackson’s inexperience at coaching. Stuff like not resting curry, setting up defense, giving up wide open 3′s, having bogut just stand there and let Parker shoot wide open shots on the p’n roll switch. One things for sure, gonna be a great series.

    • llfreedman - May 7, 2013 at 8:32 AM

      A couple of points here:

      1. For as good as Jack has been this year, his wild style scares me in critical moments. Most of the defensive lapses at the end somehow involved Jack…(see Ginobili wide open three). Thompson fouling out was huge as Jack had to play a bigger role…

      2. Draymond Green is an absolute defensive force guarding nearly every position. Most of the big stops the Warriors got involved Green. When Green fouled out I wasn’t surprised how easily Spurs scored for those last two minutes.

      • unxpexted1 - May 7, 2013 at 8:47 AM

        In Jackson’s defense, his team is VERY young and its their first time in the playoffs, these things are to be expected. See the thunder some years back.

  5. txnative61 - May 7, 2013 at 4:28 AM

    Spurs hard won reputation for boring is in jeopardy! Quick Pop! You’re image is slipping!

  6. asublimeday - May 7, 2013 at 4:57 AM

    Still no article on bulls-heat. Great job Kurt.

    He’s probably still crying into his Lebron James jersey.

    • Kurt Helin - May 7, 2013 at 7:45 PM

      You’re not really good at the whole reading thing, are you? By the time this post you are commenting on was live there were three posts up on the Bulls win.

  7. mungman69 - May 7, 2013 at 5:08 AM

    18 point lead with 6 minutes left? No way.

  8. bucrightoff - May 7, 2013 at 6:40 AM

    Ugh, I cannot believe I went to bed when the Warriors were up 16 with 5 minutes left. I mean how did this happen? Warriors looked so in control. I mean series over now, right? How can Golden State come back from this mentally?

    • siege102 - May 7, 2013 at 10:59 AM

      I feel for ya. I turned it off about the same point. Luckily I checked my phone later and realized the Spurs tied it up, so I got to watch both Overtime periods.

  9. kavika6 - May 7, 2013 at 6:58 AM

    Sort of reminds me of the Memorial Day Miracle game. If I remember right that game in 1999 set the tone for the rest of the series against Portland and they never looked back. Great comeback Spurs.

    Curry choked, Thompson couldn’t control his fouling and Bogut all but disappeared near the end. Mark Jackson must have noticed that Curry was tired, but instead of resting him he made Jack the go-to guy at the end. Inexperience all around.

    • unxpexted1 - May 7, 2013 at 8:49 AM

      I’d hardly say Curry “choked” last night.

      • anthonymtx - May 7, 2013 at 11:09 AM

        I’m a Spurs fan but I agree. Curry was AMAZING! Lebron needs to come down and give Curry that MVP award! I think of Mark Jackson was smart enough he would have given Curry at least a couple of minutes of rest during the 4th. You could tell that after 40 minutes of play, his legs were giving out. I can tell you one thing, the Warriors just earned the respect of this Spurs fan

      • kavika6 - May 7, 2013 at 11:32 AM

        Curry had a good three quarters but what did he do in the last 4 minutes of regulation and the two overtimes? At one point he was 1 for 7 during that time, I don’t remember after that, maybe one or two more baskets. He had more turnovers/fouls than baskets. Parker took control and ran circles around him.

      • unxpexted1 - May 7, 2013 at 2:06 PM

        Kavika – Thats why i’m not saying it was a choke job, in those last 4 minutes they put a better longer defender in Kawai on him, and he just wanst able to get off against him. Smart move by Pop more than a choke by Curry

  10. lemfaxx - May 7, 2013 at 8:09 AM

    Therefore i conclude that the spurs is not a boring team. They are just simply the best… or best… and best. What a TEAM!

  11. jaerba - May 7, 2013 at 8:21 AM

    Someone here called Jarrett Jack the best backup PG in the league. He was just brutal last night, like he’s been at least a dozen other times this year at the end of games. Terrible iso possessions and that blown assignment on Ginobli. He’s good at penetrating, but I hate it when the Warriors run through him instead of Curry.

  12. saint1997 - May 7, 2013 at 8:23 AM

    COME ON GSW! That’s devastating we were THIS close!!!!

  13. unxpexted1 - May 7, 2013 at 8:53 AM

    What a great frickin game, entertaining throughout and overall quality basketball until the end of regulation by GSW who showed their youth and inexperience.

    If I had to point to the difference in the game, i know most would say Klay Thompson fouling out, but to me it was when Tim Duncan went out. When that happened Jackson went super small with no center and Tony Parker went OFF. I dont know the number but i think he had like 10 straight points and next thing you knew it was a five point game. THey were doing such a good job of stopping him around the rim but once Jackson took Bogut and Ezeli out the game he had no rim protection.

    That was the difference and Tony Parker led the charge. Bad move by Jackson, wasted a great performance by Steph Curry. That kid is legit.

  14. loungefly74 - May 7, 2013 at 10:29 AM

    i know BayMac is punching holes in the walls right now. dang, Warriors let one slip away…

    i’m hoping for a “change of guard” Finals…with the Warriors/Grizz coming out of the West and the Pacers out of the East. Media would hate it…but basketball fans would love it.

  15. azarkhan - May 7, 2013 at 10:47 AM

    What a game! Those Warrior guards – Curry, Jack, Thompson – are fantastic.

  16. baymac408 - May 7, 2013 at 12:00 PM

    We let the game get away… TRUE!! But, I bet a lot of people didnt think we would be beating the spurs all game like that.. It really hurt when Klay fouled out.. It’s probably why we lost but none the less great game!! Hopefully we can steal the next game then back to Oakland! GO WARRIORS

  17. norcalsportsknowledge - May 7, 2013 at 1:39 PM

    Curry has been amazing in the 3rd,just takes the game over. But at the end of games it’s a different story. I wish he’d own the 4th and not the 3rd. Dubs players aren’t the only ones not performing under pressure down the stretch. Come on Jackson, you’ve done great stuff, but that run at the end of the game is on you.

  18. klownboy - May 7, 2013 at 1:47 PM

    The Spurs REALLY dodged a bullet in Game 1…

  19. jda247 - May 7, 2013 at 2:08 PM

    Someone should have asked Coach/Preacher Mark Jackson, “Did God/Yahweh help the spurs come back in the 4th quarter?”

  20. spthegr8 - May 7, 2013 at 2:28 PM

    @baywack
    Y’all had a great season. But, IT’S A WRAP!!!! Lets just hope y’all aren’t a flash in the pan & can repeat this success next year. But like you, this team is very young!!

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