Spurs grind out win over Warriors

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Photo Credit: Rafael Gutierrez

In their first meeting since the 2013 Western Conference Semi-Finals, the San Antonio Spurs (5-1) defeated the Golden State Warriors (4-2) 76-74 at the AT&T Center Friday night.

On a night full of poor shooting and chippy play, the Spurs managed to outlast the Warriors down the stretch. Warriors forward Andre Iguodala had a chance to tie the game in the final seconds, but missed on a layup attempt to secure the Spurs’ victory.

“Overall they are a hard team to guard,” said Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich after the game. “Our defense was some of the better defense we played this year. Our help was better than it’s been. We certainly couldn’t put in a basket, so the defense was really important to us tonight.”

The Spurs shot an abysmal 39% from the field, highlighted by a two-minute scoreless stretch to end the game.

Golden State’s Toney Douglas led all scorers with 21 points, while Tony Parker led the Spurs’ scoring with 18 points.

“It was an ugly game offensively. The only guy who could put it in the hole was (Tony) Douglas,” said a relieved Popovich after the game. “He was on fire. Everybody else seemed to be struggling, we were fortunate; anybody could have won that game.”

With the defensive nature of the game being so ugly, Golden State Head Coach Mark Jackson had nothing but pride for his guys after the game.

“We’re two teams that lay a solid foundation of solid defensive principles,” said Jackson after the game. “It was a grind out there. It was tough to score on both sides. I’m very proud of my guys’ energy and effort. We lost to a very good team.”

The Spurs held on by a stout defensive stand and pivotal offensive rebounds down the stretch.

“It (the offensive rebounds) helped, we didn’t make the shots,” said Spurs center Tiago Splitter after the game. “At least we had those offensive rebounds to make the clock run and give us another chance.”

Splitter dominated the offensive glass grabbing five boards, ending the game with four points and eight total rebounds.

The Warriors were playing without Stephen Curry and struggles to distribute the ball in the first quarter, scoring 20 points on just four assists. The Spurs on the other hand, had great ball movement in the first quarter with nine assists, five coming within the first five minutes alone.

Tony Parker came out with his shooting touch in the first quarter, scoring eight points on 3-of-5 shooting.

The Spurs continued their strong play in the second quarter, ending the first half leading 40-33.

The Spurs held the Warriors’ streaky guard Klay Thompson to just six points in the first half.

“It’s still early,” said Spurs guard Manu Ginobili after the game. “Some teams are new, others have a few additions, and others are still a bit rusty. Usually the first month of the NBA does not have the best play. Teams are just starting to get their rhythm.”

The Spurs hope to start fresh on the road after this ugly win, as they take on the New York Knicks in Madison Square Garden on Sunday, Nov. 10.