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Tony Parker’s big game leads Spurs to game 5 victory over Warriors

May 15, 2013, 1:03 AM EDT

Spurs guard Parker drives on Warriors forward Barnes and guard Curry during their NBA basketball game in San Antonio, Texas

One thing this series hasn’t had is a blowout. Game 5 changed that as the Spurs turned up their defensive pressure and got some key performances from some role players to rout the Warriors 109-91 and get within a game of advancing to the conference finals for the 2nd straight season.

The star of the night was Tony Parker who poured in 25 points while also handing out 10 assists. Parker was aggressive and efficient (making 9 of his 16 shots), attacking the paint off the dribble where he was able to convert 5 of his 7 shots at the rim. Parker rarely settled for a long jumper, instead keeping the pressure on the Warriors’ defense and either creating for himself or drawing multiple defenders and hitting teammates for open shots.

Parker’s assertiveness was key in helping the rest of his teammates get good looks, especially the role players who struggle to create offense for themselves. A key beneficiary was Danny Green who, after struggling for the past three games, found his stride in this game by finding space from the outside for his jumper and getting out in transition to finish at the rim. Green finished the night with 16 points on 6-10 shooting (2-5 from behind the arc) and made his mark with his tireless work off the ball.

Also huge was Kawhi Leonard whose poise and patience served him well in creating good offensive looks. Leonard only missed one of his eight shot attempts, scoring 17 points in the process. Leonard did damage from inside and out, finishing at the rim in the open court (including a fantastic dunk over Harrison Barnes) while also hitting three shots from behind the arc.

While the Spurs were getting contributions from their role players, so were the Warriors. Jarrett Jack had his second straight good game, scoring 20 points on 16 shots including several big baskets that kept the Spurs from running away with the game even earlier than they did. Harrison Barnes also stepped up big, scoring a team high 25 points (10-18 shooting) and becoming the first rookie since Tim Duncan to reach that 25 point threshold in back to back playoff games.

But while Barnes and Jack had very good nights, the Warriors’ starting backcourt played quite poorly.

Stephen Curry only had 9 points on 4-14 shooting, struggling to create space on his jumper and losing his burst as the game advanced. The Spurs attacked Curry masterfully at the other end of the floor, running him off countless screens and wearing him down in the process. Having to work so hard while on that not yet healed left ankle surely played a part in his struggles.

Thompson, meanwhile, never got in a rhythm and struggled to escape the clutches of Leonard’s suffocating defense all night. It wasn’t just that he went 2-8 from the floor, failing to get to shoot a three pointer or a free throw in the process, but that he was held to such a low shot output and mostly erased as an option all evening. Thompson hasn’t been great since his game 2 explosion, but when he’s engaged and involved in the offense, good things happen for the Warriors. Tonight, though, he was mostly invisible.

And with their two key offensive performers struggling, the Warriors simply couldn’t generate the points they needed to keep pace. As the game advanced, they had to press more and more to get into their offensive sets. Their struggles devolved into sloppy, turnover prone action that enabled the Spurs to get easy buckets and blow the game open.

So here the Warriors are, facing elimination for the first time these playoffs. They’ve yet to lose back to back games in the post-season and in order to stay alive, they’ll need to avoid doing so when game 6 rolls around. It’s not a question if they have the fortitude to do so, but whether or not they’ve simply hit that wall after battling further than many thought they could.

The Spurs, on the other hand, are looking to slam the door on another opponent, finding and exploiting the cracks in their foe to advance another round. They’ll be facing a raucous crowd and a team fighting for their lives, but you get the feeling that with their experience they know exactly what they’re in for.

  1. savvybynature - May 15, 2013 at 1:30 AM

    I expect a great series with the Grizzlies. Both teams playing with the requisite physicality and execution right now. Should be good.

  2. moseskkim - May 15, 2013 at 2:19 AM

    I wish curry was healthy and to an extent dlee. Chances don’t come often when ur knocking on the door of the conference finals and just wish everyone was healthy cuz as much as I respect the spurs as an organization, warriors are very entertaining to me and I wonder what would’ve happened if everyone was healthy. I would say.. Next year but bogut and currys ankles are not a good bet to hold up.

  3. eventhorizon04 - May 15, 2013 at 2:28 AM

    This is a fun but straightforward series. The Spurs are a fairly consistent offense that produces good looks in the paint thanks to dribble penetration by Parker and Ginobili and low-post scoring by Duncan.

    The Warriors have two backcourt members capable of getting hot at any time and hitting crazy long-range shots. Otherwise, their offense is Jarrett Jack drives and Harrison Barnes post-ups (which are both inconsistent).

    So we know what we’re getting with the Spurs every night. However, the Warriors though need somebody to “go off” to be competitive. Whether it’s Curry in game 1, Thompson in game 2, or Barnes in game 4, the Warriors need somebody to get “hot” to produce enough points to win since their players, while talented, are young and haven’t been consistent game-to-game performers.

    So for the next game, if the “Splash brothers” stay cold, the Spurs probably win.
    If one of them catches fire, then the Warriors probably win. I just know it’ll be fun to watch.

  4. Foul Dwimmerlaik - May 15, 2013 at 4:24 AM

    If the Warriors won the game, I’d still say the same thing: DON’T dismiss off the losing team of game 5. Unlike the other series where it is 3-1, a 3-2 deficit isn’t that bad.

    Of course, both mean that the next games could be the last, but having won twice means that you have what it takes to beat the other team AGAIN. Thing is, the Spurs can still afford to lose one. For the Warriors, it is win or go home.

    As I said before, this is a battle of adjustments: who would take advantage of their strengths and the weakness of their opponents? Both teams capitalized on both in this series. It is now a matter of who can execute better.

    Props to both teams for this great dogfight. May the best team win.

  5. baymac408 - May 15, 2013 at 12:00 PM

    Damn tony Parker and Danny green are playing good.. Leanord to… And curry and Klay are looking stagnant in the offense.. Klay needs to move with the ball better and around screens.. Gotta do a better job screening and knock down those looks.. I hope we can get it to game 7.. It’s been fun watching my Warriors play at this level.! GO WARRIORS TILL I DIE

  6. azarkhan - May 15, 2013 at 1:15 PM

    The Spurs need to begin running plays for Kahwi Leonard. His offensive game has grown exponentially since his rookie year. He’s quick enough to take a forward off the dribble and tall enough to shoot over a guard. With Parker, Ginobli, and Duncan getting old, the Spurs need Leonard to score in the 4th quarter.

  7. klownboy - May 15, 2013 at 1:57 PM

    Looks this series will go 7 as I had predicted. Best series of the playoffs thus far.

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