Photo Credit: NBAE/Getty Images
Photo Credit: NBAE/Getty Images
With 3.4 seconds left in double overtime, Spurs guard Manu Ginobili finished off an improbable comeback by draining a high-arcing 3-point shot to give San Antonio a 129-127 game 1 win over the Golden State Warriors at the AT&T Center.
Following a defensive lapse that allowed Warriors guard Stephen Curry to find teammate Kent Bazemore for a go ahead layup, the Spurs down by one set up an in-bounds play designed for Tony Parker and Boris Diaw, but the Warriors miscommunication opened an opportunity for Kawhi Leonard to find a wide open Ginobili.
Ginobili, who finished the game with 16 points and 11 assists on a 5 for 20 shooting performance, rectified his night by hitting the game winner just moments after taking an ill-advised 3-pointer with the Spurs up by three.
“I went from trading him on the spot to wanting to cook him breakfast tomorrow,” Spurs coach Greg Popovich said. “When I talk to him and say “Manu”…he goes “this is what I do”. That’s what he’s going to tell me. I stopped coaching him a long time ago.”
Down by 16 points with 4:31 left in regulation, the Spurs finished the fourth quarter on an 18-2 run capped off by a Danny Green game tying 3-pointer that sent the game to a first overtime. The Spurs are now the only team in NBA playoff history to come back and win from such a deficit with only four minutes left in a game.
“It was a crazy game,” Spurs guard Tony Parker said. “We just tried to hang on. We had a great run at the end.”
Parker finished the game with 28 points and 8 assists to pace the Spurs.
Before the comeback, the story of the night was the Warriors’ sharp shooting guard Stephen Curry’s performance, as he scored 22 of his career playoff high 44 points in the third quarter.
“It was a fun game with a lot of action down the stretch,” Curry said. We were just on the wrong side of a couple big shots with Danny Green at the end of regulation and Manu (Ginobili) in double overtime.”
Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes scored 19 points apiece for the Warriors, but Thompson fouled out in the fourth quarter.
The Spurs played the final four minutes of the game and a majority of the overtimes without Tim Duncan on the floor who was still feeling the effects of the flu. Duncan still contributed 19 points and 11 rebounds.
“He’s been sick and he gave it a shot,” Popovich said. “It became pretty apparent there that he wasn’t going to tell me the truth anymore, so I had to pull the plug myself.”
It was returning Spurs forward Boris Diaw who picked up the slack for Duncan and the injured Tiago Splitter who missed his second straight playoff game with a sprained right ankle. Diaw only had seven points but each basket came at a crucial time in the game.
“My teammates have been in the playoffs for about two and a half weeks now, so they have their rhythm,” Diaw said. I was just trying to come back and not disrupt the momentum they had after winning four games.”
Green scored 22 points and hit six 3-pointers for the Spurs, while Leonard added 18 points and defensively had the biggest impact guarding Curry.
“Kawhi was huge,” Parker said. “I thought Kawhi in the second half, especially in the fourth quarter, did a great job on him (Curry).”
The Warriors have now lost 30 straight games to the Spurs in San Antonio, which includes both regular and playoff games.
Game 2 in the best-of-seven series is slated for Wednesday night with an 8:30 p.m. tipoff time.