SAN ANTONIO – With San Antonio Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich missing as he grieves the loss of his wife of 40 years, the Silver and Black had one goal on Sunday afternoon.
Win one for their leader.
The Spurs dug deep and avoided elimination as they earned a 103-90 Game 4 win over the Golden State Warriors at the AT&T Center to keep their season alive.
In a change from the previous three games, the Spurs were in control the entire game. San Antonio led by as many as 17 points and the Warriors never led. The win also snaps a seven-game playoff losing streak for the Spurs.
“The guys played with great heart,” Spurs assistant coach Ettore Messina said. “In these situations, the guys are fine with playing a good game. These days to have a little joy is something we want to savor.”
Here is what went good and bad for the Spurs, as well as three standout players: LaMarcus Aldridge, Rudy Gay, and Manu Ginobili.
- The Spurs kept their season alive, forcing a Game 5 back in Oakland.
- After three games of not shooting the ball well, San Antonio found their shot in Game 4. The Silver and Black shot 45 percent for the game and 53% from three-point range, going 15-for-28.
- Golden State’s defense dared Dejounte Murray to shoot the 3-ball and he made them pay. Murray went 3-for-4 from beyond the arc and finished with 12 points.
- Manu Ginobili took his grandpa juice.
- San Antonio played better defense on Klay Thompson after he torched them for thee games. Thompson had just 12 points on 4-of-16 shooting.
- Kevin Durant continued to burn the Spurs, scoring 34 points on 42 percent shooting. However, he struggled from three-point range, going just 4-for-13.
- San Antonio’s struggles in the third quarter continued as they were outscored 29-21 in the period as the Warriors opened with six straight points.
Three Standout Players:
If the Spurs had any chance in Game 4, it was due to the play of LaMarcus Aldridge. The All-Star forward finished with 22 points but struggled from the floor, going 7-of-19.
He scored 12 points in the second half but did not shoot the ball well. Despite that, he had two of the biggest shots of the night. With Golden State forward Draymond Green playing aggressive defense, Aldridge hit a turnaround three-pointer that went off the glass to put San Antonio up seven.
Then, with three Warriors around him, he hit a high arching shot over Green. That would put the finishing touches on the win for the Spurs.
The Spurs played with heart on Sunday afternoon and no one on the Silver and Black has more heart than Manu Ginobili – he showed it in Game 4.
Ginobili finished with 16 points with 10 coming in the fourth quarter. He hit two huge three-pointers, drove the paint for a layup, and hit a one-handed floater over Draymond Green to put the final touches on the win.
“The feeling of the last quarter was great,” Ginobili said. “We were all fired up. We saw we were in a great situation to get the win and we needed it. We didn’t want to go down 4-0. We competed better and we deserved it.”
With his status on returning for a 17th season up in the air, the sellout crowd at the AT&T Center made the 40-year-old Ginobili feel the love. After he banged knees with Sean Livington, Ginobili came up hobbling. The fans rose to their feet chanting “Manu!” “Manu!” – and he felt that love back.
In just his second playoff appearance of his career, Rudy Gay did his best to make sure the Spurs did not go down without a fight.
Gay finished with 14 points and seven rebounds as he started his third game of the series. Rudy was aggressive from the opening tip, scoring the first points of the game. He helped Aldridge in the post, backing down Green and providing Aldridge to be open when JaVale McGee switched over on him.
Inserting Gay into the starting five has made San Antonio a much better team. And on Sunday, the move showed why it works when all the players are firing on all cylinders.
The Spurs trail the best-of-seven series 1-3 and will return to the court on Tuesday night when they take on the Warriors in Game 5 of their first-round series. A start time will be announced by the league soon.
Yes, it is really about shooting woes, if you somehow shoot 50%+ from 3 point line, you can be out rebounded by a large (almost double) amount and still win by 13. Of course Thompson has to have an off day, the Spurs have to have very little in turn overs as well, it is even better if they can do the same in Oakland as well.