LaMarcus Aldridge had 22 points and 10 rebounds for the Spurs, who led from start to finish to trim Golden State's lead in their Western Conference series to 3-1. The Ginobli in this game was nearly indistinguishable from the vintage Manu of the mid-2000's; he was hitting tough acrobatic layups, making Warrior defenders fly by with his pump fake, and draining three pointers. The other team - looking to prove a point, even a futile one - would come out and play inspired basketball, while the Warriors - putting out the body language of a teenager dragged to a birthday party for one of their parents' friends - would coast through the opening minutes or even the entire first half.
With speculation about whether he will retire after the season swirling again, Ginobili was asked if he thought it would be his last game as the fourth quarter began.
"You know how important Pop is, not only for us players, but the whole organization and the whole NBA", Ginobili said Saturday (via the Associated Press).
The second quarter kept the game somewhat tighter.
And because of that, the Warriors will have to play at least one more game in a series that they should have been wrapped up in drama-free fashion Sunday.
And Sunday's outcome - and, in turn, Tuesday's game - was eminently avoidable. It was less than two years ago that, after taking a 3-1 lead over the Cavaliers, a flawless storm of factors left Golden State grappling with the biggest collapse in NBA Finals history.
And to think, the Warriors sounded mindful the Spurs would play with emotion as coach Gregg Popovich handed off coaching duties to Ettore Messina for the second consecutive playoff game so he could grieve over his wife, Erin, passing away this week.
The Warriors were shooting just 41% from the field and 33% from 3-point range entering the fourth quarter but were hanging around thanks in part to dominant rebounding. They got to within 2 points of the Spurs about halfway through the quarter.
The Spurs kept on firing through the second quarter, turning defensive stops into open jumpers. Yesterday they totaled 19 assists, and the ball tracked through Kevin Durant and Draymond Green.
"Our leader is struggling, so we are trying to respond and play as if he was here, and hopefully he keeps pushing us from home". "So, if I played with him, he must be old".
The Spurs jumped out to a 14-point halftime lead, but quickly watched it evaporate in the third quarter. Thompson averaged 25.3 points in the first three games.
Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker - franchise cornerstones for 16 and 17 years, respectively - might retire this summer. Rudy Gay (14), Dejounte Murray (12) and Kyle Anderson (10) also finished in double figures. In this picture, Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors warms up before their game against the San Antonio Spurs in Game 2 of Round 1 of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at ORACLE Arena in Oakland, California, April 16, 2018. San Antonio made big shots when they needed them, and the Warriors could not string together the kind of runs that usually quickly get them back in the game.
Patty Mills, driving against the Warriors' Andre Iguodala in the Spurs' 103-90 win in Game 4 of the first-round playoff series Sunday, hit three three-pointers. The Warriors were 7 for 28.
"I just thought our execution was pooor and their defense was great", Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. Green came just a point and assist away from a triple-double, finishing with 9 points, 18 rebounds, and 9 assists. The Warriors racked up 5 turnovers in a bit over 4 minutes. Aldridge continued to be a hard player to check for the Warriors, using his length to get shots off against Draymond Green and JaVale McGee.
"I can't put a timetable on it", Kerr said.