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No stars, no problem: Spurs reserves too much for Warriors in 104-102 win

Dec 20, 2013, 2:55 AM EST

When the Spurs rest Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili they still are pretty darn good.

Ask the Heat — last year Gregg Popovich and the Spurs were fined $250,000 by the league for late notice resting the big three for a Thursday night showcase game in Miami. What people forget is the Spurs almost won that game (they lost 105-100).

Better yet, now you can ask the Warriors.

Duncan, Parker and Ginobili were out again for a nationally televised game (this time with better warning from the Spurs, so no fines). But this time San Antonio got the win — a Tiago Splitter tip in with 2.1 seconds left gave the Spurs 104-102 victory on the road in the Bay Area.

It’s a tough loss for Golden State — they shot themselves in the foot in this game turning the ball over 24 times. Look at it this way: 22.7 percent of the time they came down the floor they turned the ball over. The Warriors bail themselves out of mistakes by knocking down threes but they hit just 8-of-31 in this game. You are not beating the Spurs that way no matter who they put on the court.

Golden State had a 10-0 run in the first quarter to take an early lead and were up by as many as 14 in the second quarter. But then Kawhi Leonard happened — he had 14 of his 21 points in the second quarter as the Spurs went on a 19-4 run and then we had ourselves a ball game. One that stayed tight the rest of the way.

Marco Belinelli came alive in the third scoring 17 of his team-high 28 as the Spurs made plays and maintained a small lead but could never pull away. The game was sloppy, with too many turnovers at a fast pace (106 possessions), but that kind of favored the scrappy Spurs.

Still, you expected a few big shots and a Warriors run — and you got the big shots. Stephen Curry hit a second-chance three pointer to tie the game at 102-102. Curry had 30 points and 15 assists in the game (plus 5 turnovers) and this looked like another dramatic game where the Warriors were going to pull out a dramatic win at home despite their play.

Then this happened.

Ballgame.

Golden State can only blame itself here — this is a good team with a +3.6 per 100 possessions point differential (which would suggest a record more like 16-11, not 14-13), but a team that doesn’t play consistent defense and hurts itself too often. This game is a perfect example of that.

And it’s a perfect example of a Spurs team that just executes its system no matter who is on the court.

  1. davidly - Dec 20, 2013 at 3:55 AM

    Probably the most solid team, top-to-bottom, of all time. At least in my viewing lifetime.

  2. 00maltliquor - Dec 20, 2013 at 4:09 AM

    I woke up, GSW were -3.5

    30 min. ’till the game the line had jumped double what it was in the morning to -7.
    I later on figured out it was because not only was TP hurt, but Pop pulled Timmy and Manu too. Still, the spread jumped CRAZY plus 75% of the money betted was on GSW.

    Needless to say I took SA despite the big 3 out and being on the road against one of the NBA’s best crowds playing a much hyped up Warriors squad with all the key players playing in a game they needed desperately and should have won easily.

    THANK YOUUU SAS!! Man I swear coach Popovich should get a Coach of the Decade award. That man has his team fully prepared and ready to go from star player down to 13th man. It’s absolutely amazing.

    You see other teams chalk full with talent or potential that should be doing waaay better like BKN, NYK, CLE, MIN, GSW and then you see the Spurs….Aaron Baynes. Nando De Colo. Patty Mills. Cory Joseph. Matt Bonner. Tiagooo Splitter. Boris Diaw. Danny “Cavs throwaway” Green. Jeff Ayers. Marco Bellinelli. And yes, of course Kawhi Leonard.

    I mean, SERIOUSLY!!!!^^^^^^^ No, seriously, really!!??? Pop is the MANNNN!!!!

  3. 00maltliquor - Dec 20, 2013 at 4:14 AM

    Man I swear coach Popovich should get a Coach of the Decade award. That man has his team fully prepared and ready to go from star player down to 13th man. It’s absolutely amazing.

    You see other teams chalk full with talent or potential that should be doing waaay better like BKN, NYK, CLE, MIN, GSW, SAC and then you see the Spurs….Aaron Baynes. Nando De Colo. Patty Mills. Cory Joseph. Matt Bonner. Tiagooo Splitter. Boris Diaw. Danny “Cavs throwaway” Green. Jeff Ayers. Marco Bellinelli. And yes, of course Kawhi Leonard.

    I mean, SERIOUSLY!!!!^^^^^^^ No, seriously, really!!??? Who shakes in their boots to any of those guys names mentioned? Pop is the MANNNN!!!! Together, collectively, these guys are a MACHINE.

  4. muhangis - Dec 20, 2013 at 5:46 AM

    Since last year I’ve been seeing Patrick Mills as very underrated and T.J. Splitter as very overrated.

  5. bucrightoff - Dec 20, 2013 at 7:08 AM

    Games like this are why Popovich is the best coach ever. There’s never been a better coach in terms of maximizing his players ability, and he consistently puts his players in situations to succeed. Even without the big 3, Pop could probably take this team to the playoffs.

    • money2long - Dec 20, 2013 at 12:15 PM

      i think he’s clearly leapfrogged doc for my choice as who will take over Team USA if coach K ever departed.

      • mogogo1 - Dec 20, 2013 at 12:23 PM

        Only question is why you ever had Doc above Pops. I like Doc, but there’s never been a point in time when he was half the coach Popovich is.

      • money2long - Dec 20, 2013 at 1:28 PM

        don’t underestimate doc in terms of uniting players to sacrifice. doc is also good at communicating to all players. it’s not that one coach was above another. it was who was a good fit. you couldn’t have went wrong either way.

  6. timberwolvesbrisin - Dec 20, 2013 at 8:45 AM

    “Golden State can only blame itself here — this is a good team with a +3.6 per 100 possessions point differential (which would suggest a record more like 16-11, not 14-13),”

    You sad the same thing about the wolves, the fact of the matter is you are what your record says you are. All that means is youve had some blowouts. The wolves have blown out some crappy teams in the East, hence their + status. It’s a skewed stat, that is rather meaningless, you are what your record says.

    • prideonice - Dec 20, 2013 at 1:48 PM

      The Wolves also blew out OKC.

    • kavika6 - Dec 21, 2013 at 4:43 AM

      I disagree timberwolvesbrisin. Strength of schedule makes a lot of difference.

  7. patsfan92 - Dec 20, 2013 at 11:37 AM

    and the warriors are a top 3 team in the west? lol

  8. azarkhan - Dec 20, 2013 at 12:13 PM

    “They [Spur subs] did play well in the absence of our players, but it happens a lot in this league when players are hurt and other players want to prove something,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “They want to show the coach they should be getting more minutes and that the coach doesn’t know what the heck he’s talking about.”

    • mogogo1 - Dec 20, 2013 at 12:28 PM

      Just Popovich not wanting to blow his own horn. On most teams, with most coaches, that translates into guys throwing up tons of shots trying to show how they should be the go-to guy. The Spurs are a cohesive unit, no matter who is playing.

  9. lemfaxx - Dec 20, 2013 at 4:56 PM

    Hear vs Spurs II!!!

  10. kanemoney - Dec 23, 2013 at 2:30 AM

    1. This is why Pop is the best coach of our decade.

    2. This is why Golden State is not a legitimate contender. Funnest team to watch? Maybe, but don’t place any bets on them in the playoffs.

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