The Golden State Warriors had history against them on Monday night as they played the San Antonio Spurs, who have not lost a game at home to the Warriors since 1997.
The Spurs kept the streak alive and are now 45-7 against the Warriors in the Duncan era with a 111-96 thrashing of the Golden State Warriors.
Duncan, who went down with a left ankle injury midway through the first quarter and will be out for the next two weeks, left the game with one rebounds shy of passing Dennis Rodman for 21st on the All-Time NBA rebounding list.
With Duncan out, Tiago Splitter contributed with eight points and six rebounds in the first quarter. His contribution, along with 12 first-quarter points form Manu Ginobili, gave the Spurs a 32 to 21 lead at the end of the first quarter.
With Matt Bonner’s outside shot drawing iron, the Spurs relied on Ginobili, Steve Novak and Gary Neal to keep the foot on the accelerator against the Warriors to finish off the first half. Normally a high-scoring duo, starting guards Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry were limited to a combined 2 points in the first half, and watched the Spurs go into the lockerroom with a nine-point lead, 54-45.
The Spurs went on a 18-5 run in the third quarter, led by Tony Parker, George Hill and Steve Novak, who hit two three-pointers during the run. Ellis and Curry tried to get the Warriors back into the game in the fourth quarter, but their 27-25 lead in the fourth quarter wasn’t enough and didn’t come early enough.
Manu Ginobili led both teams in scoring with 28 points. Tony Parker finished with 17 points and 15 assists, and Tiago Splitter made his presence felt with 10 points and 14 rebounds.
“Today (Splitter) had a very good game. In the first half, he played a couple one-on-ones, he passed the ball very well,” Ginobili said about Splitter’s contribution with Tim Duncan out. “As I said probably a million times, he’s a good player, he understands the game, he’s solid, reliable. He just has to be out there and feel confident and know that the team trusts him. That’s what happened to me, what happened to everyone that comes here for the first time, so he’s going to give us a big hand.”
The Spurs are now 57-13 on the season, are 33-3 at home and are seven games ahead of the Los Angeles Lakers, which at this point seems to be an insurmountable lead with just 12 games remaining on the schedule for the Spurs.
“In short, a miracle. Seriously, for the Warriors to beat the Spurs in San Antonio, it will have to take monster games from nearly everyone wearing a Warriors uniform and it would take the kind of defensive effort that the Warriors seldom employ. If I were the Spurs, I would feel pretty darn confident that the streak will stay in tact.”
“We’ll see if the doctor can be accurate, because he was not very accurate with me, so we’ll see.” -Tony Parker
In Black & White
Spurs beat Warriors, lose Duncan (San Antonio Express-News)
Spurs’ Duncan sprains ankle in win over Warriors (San Francisco Chronicle)
As I’ve said all season long, Parker has really embraced his role as a distributor and his assist numbers prove just that. 17 points and 15 assists to go along with a very good field-goal percentage are reason enough to start him in this last stretch of regular season games. With Tim Duncan out, Parker will likely get more touches and be looked to to lead the team along with Ginobili.
Steve Novak has also had two very good games and his role seems to be expanding. His ability to hit threes and score in limited playing time could be a great addition to the bottom of your roster in a deep league if your team is hurting for some 3-pointers.
Matt Bonner is continuing to struggle with his long-range game, and Warriors’ guard Acie Law may be one to keep your eye on after he put up 14 points in 22 minutes last night.
The Four Factors