After defeating the Phoenix Suns in Phoenix on Wednesday, the San Antonio Spurs resumed play on Thursday in Oakland against the Golden State Warriors, who had recently welcomed back forward Andre Iguodala from injury.
On the Spurs’ side, Tony Parker would miss his second game due to injury while Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili also wouldn’t play against the Warriors in order to rest. So, who were going to be the Spurs’ main options on Thursday? It ended up being a slew of them from an Italian to two Americans, an Australian, a Frenchman, a Brazilian and more, as the Spurs ended up defeating the Warriors on the road 104-102.
In the first quarter, the Spurs would find themselves down 12 points early as Patty Mills (20 points, 5 rebounds) was the only one who could provide a spark offensively with 7 points initially. Toward the end of the quarter though, Marco Belinelli (28 points, 10-of-18 shooting) and the Spurs’ reserves would end the quarter with a 7-0 run, Belinelli scoring all of those 7 points on 3-of-3 shooting to cut the Warriors’ lead to 23-18 after one.
The Warriors would come out quick once more to start the second quarter as their lead rose to 14 points, but then it would be Kawhi Leonard (21 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists) who ran the Spurs’ offense in the half-court on his way to 14 points in the quarter on 5-of-7 shooting. Mills added another 7 points while Danny Green (11 points) finally caught a break with an efficient quarter as he scored 8 points in roughly six minutes. The Warriors would turn the ball over five times and it would start a negative trend for them that would follow for the rest of the game. By halftime, there were the Spurs leading on the road 53-51.
In the third quarter, Belnelli finished being six points shy of the entire Warriors team in scoring, as the Spurs outscored the Warriors 29-23, and Belnielli scored 17 points alone in the quarter at an efficient 6-of-7 shooting. Stephen Curry (30 points, 15 assists, 4 steals) also heated up in the third with 10 points, but the Warriors had little to no answers for Belinilli as he was knocking down 3-pointers off of screens or working on curl-jump shots as well.
The fourth quarter went down to the wire as the Spurs and Warriors exchanged baskets all the way until the end until Boris Diaw put the team on his back in the closing minutes to finish with 7 points in the quarter as he set-up some significant plays down the stretch. First, as the Warriors had a chance to either take the lead or tie the game, Diaw blocked Curry and the Spurs resumed the possession. Then, on the final offensive play of the game for the Spurs, Diaw grabbed an offensive rebound, and put the shot up and missed the eventual tip-in Tiago Splitter would make to win the game.
A few career highs: With his 28 points, Belinelli set a season high in scoring for himself. Diaw finished with a season high six assists, while Leonard also finished with a season-high 21 points, and Mills a season-high 20 points.
With the win, the Spurs improved to 21-5 on the season. They’ll have Friday off before facing the number one team in the NBA at the moment, the Oklahoma City Thunder, in San Antonio on Saturday.