Tony Parker had 18 points and eight assists and Tim Duncan had 15 points and eight rebounds to help the Spurs rout the Warriors 111-90 for their 19th straight victory.
“They’re a great basketball team,” said Warriors coach Mark Jackson. “The best team in basketball right now for a reason. Another job well done, individually and collectively. I give them a lot of credit.”
Manu Ginobili had 13 points, six rebounds and five assists and Kawhi Leonard added 11 points and four steals for San Antonio (59-16), who has not lost since a 21-point defeat in Phoenix on Feb. 21.
“They’re playing amazing right now,” said Warriors' Stephen Curry. “Best team in the league right now.”
The loss was also the 31st straight regular-season defeat in San Antonio for Golden State (46-29), who played without their starting frontcourt. David Lee (hamstring) dressed but did not play. Andre Iguodala (knee) did not dress after playing over 40 minutes in Tuesday’s scintillating overtime victory over Dallas. Andrew Bogut (pelvis/groin) did not travel with the team. Jermaine O’Neal started at center but was pulled after playing just the first four minutes for rest.
“It wasn’t a fair fight because it’s late in the season, it’s a back-to-back,” said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. “They got 3 important guys out, two big guys and Iguodala. That makes it pretty tough. But they worked it as long as they possibly could. They don’t stop. They just keep on coming. We took advantage of it and we move on.”
Marreese Speights came off the bench and led the visitors with 22 points and nine rebounds. Jordan Crawford scored 16 points. Klay Thompson had 15 points and Curry added 11 points and 10 assists for the Warriors, who fell to 2.5 games behind idle Portland for fifth place in the Western Conference. With seven regular-season games remaining, Golden State leads Dallas, Memphis and Phoenix by two games in the race for the final three playoff spots in the West.
“With the lineup we had tonight we had to fight,” said Curry. “I think the energy and effort was there all game long. Just came up a little short. I like the way we played. It’s going to take a lot to beat those guys. We knew that coming in, but to split the road trip and have three home games in a row, we’re looking forward to that.”
Golden State had a promising start, scoring the game’s first four points and forcing Popovich to call a timeout after just 69 seconds in. San Antonio responded by going on a 29-8 run and led 31-18 after one quarter. Duncan had 12 points and four rebounds. Parker had six points and four assists. Leonard provided the defense with three steals. The Spurs shot 54 percent and nine of their 13 field goals were assisted.
The Warriors managed to cut the deficit to nine late in the second quarter, but San Antonio scored the last six points to lead 57-42 at halftime. The Spurs shot 48.9 percent in the first half to the Warriors’ 40 percent and dominated in rebounds (27-13), offensive rebounds (6-0), points in the paint (30-20) and second-chance points (12-0).
San Antonio extended the lead to 19 early in the second half, but Golden State crawled their way back to within 74-67 with 4:30 left in the third quarter. Speights started the second half and sparked the Warriors with eight points. Thompson splashed two 3-pointers and Curry added five assists.
However, that would be the closest the Warriors would get. The Spurs scored the next 18 points and shutting out the Warriors for over six minutes to turn this game into a rout.
“It felt like a couple of stops and we could get over the hump,” said Curry. “They came out blazing in the first three minutes of the third quarter and that was tough to overcome. They got their rhythm and their confidence up right out of the gate. In order to get that many stops, you really have to force them out of what they do and that was tough to do tonight when we needed to get over the hump.”
Despite another loss in San Antonio, Jackson was more than appreciative of his team’s effort.
“The good or great teams I've played on, the mentality coming to Dallas and San Antonio was to win both and worst-case scenario, split,” said Jackson. “We did that short-handed and now it's about taking care of business moving forward. Really proud of the way the guys battled.”
Jackson would not go into details on the brief conversation he had with Popovich at half-court after the game.
“Just got a tremendous amount of respect for him,” said Jackson. “He’s been great, all-time great coach, not just in basketball but in sports. Just letting him know of the respect, appreciation and wishing him the best moving forward.”
San Antonio’s attempt for a 20th consecutive victory will be a back-to-back in Oklahoma City. Popovich would not tip his hand when asked if he’ll do something he often does in these situations and that is to rest Duncan, Parker or Ginobili.
“I don’t want to speculate on that sort of thing,” said Popovich. “We talk about that internally and we’ll try to figure out what we want to do, but I’m not going to discuss it in a group outside our guys.”