Wednesday, May 15, 2013
SAN ANTONIO — The San Antonio Spurs got the added energy Gregg Popovich wanted against the Golden State Warriors and a stellar performance from Tony Parker that they desperately needed.
Now the Warriors will have to win two in a row to keep the Spurs from returning to the Western Conference finals.
Tony Parker had 25 points and 10 assists, and the Spurs held the Warriors’ starting backcourt to 13 points for a 109-91 victory Tuesday night to take a 3-2 lead in their topsy-turvy playoff series.
Despite being outworked and trailing by as many as 18 points in the second half, Golden State coach Mark Jackson believes his team can rebound and win Game 6 at home Friday and force a Game 7 in San Antonio on Sunday.
“It’s doable,” Jackson said. “Obviously, we have a tremendous amount of respect for them. They’re a heck of a basketball team. We talked about it being a long series. If we won tonight, it would be doable for them to win two games. Two pretty good teams going at it. We look forward to going back home, playing our brand of basketball and putting the pressure back on them.”
The Warriors must put added pressure on Parker, specifically.
The All-Star point guard was 9 for 16 from the field while continually attacking Golden State’s interior defense for layups and short jumpers when he wasn’t finding open teammates. Parker’s 10 assists came with only two turnovers in 34 minutes.
“It’s big for all of us,” Tim Duncan said of Parker’s penetration. “It’s big for him to get some easy ones and he’s not just shooting jump shots all night. It’s big for us because it collapses their defense. He is a wanting and willing passer. He wants to draw everybody in. He wants to find our shooters.
“That’s one thing we’ve done all year long. He gets to the basket a couple of times, all of a sudden everyone’s head starts to get on a swivel.”
Kawhi Leonard added 17 points, Danny Green scored 16 and Duncan had 14 points and 11 rebounds for San Antonio.
Parker’s play also seemed to impact Curry’s offense, too.
“When Tony had it up top, I let him get to his right and that is his strength,” Curry said. “A lack of discipline on my end. I think I held my own in the first four games, but tonight I wasn’t locked in. That is inexcusable. This is a big game. I dropped the ball.”
Harrison Barnes scored 25 points, Jarrett Jack added 20 and Carl Landry 16 for Golden State, but Curry was held to nine points.
“I was terrible, plain and simple,” Curry said. “They outplayed us as a team. Individually, I didn’t have anything on either end. (I was) a step slow, my shot wasn’t falling and I was trying to make plays but defensively I lost a little focus.”
The Spurs held Jackson’s self-proclaimed “greatest shooting backcourt” in NBA history to 6-for-22 shooting. Curry was 1 for 7 on 3-pointers, while Klay Thompson was held to four points while not even attempting a 3.
“The series for us is all about the defense,” Popovich said. “(Leonard and Green) did a good job; (there were) other people who did good work out there. We got a lot of mismatches. They love those mismatches, so we have to play intelligently. I thought we did that tonight.
“But we followed up the defense with a board. There is no stop until the board is secured. That was our main emphasis going into the game.”
Curry has not missed any time since turning his left ankle late in Game 3, but the injury seemed to limit his explosiveness.
Leonard stripped Curry and then outran him to the ball midway through the first quarter, feeding Parker for an uncontested layup. Curry appeared to grimace when he attempted to push off to sprint for the loose ball.
“It is sore, but I came in feeling good,” Curry said. “I was pretty optimistic about how I could play tonight, but it didn’t go that way.”
He played only 4 1/2 minutes in the fourth quarter, leaving the game for good with 4 minutes left and San Antonio leading 102-84.
“It got to a point where they had made plays and I had to look toward Game 6,” Jackson said. “It was just being smart, that’s all. I didn’t want to see him get hurt. Obviously, he wasn’t 100 percent. I just felt if we were going to make a run, let’s make a run and then maybe get him back in, but it was just a long night for us.”
The Spurs outrebounded the Warriors 38-36, forced 14 turnovers and limited them to 16 second-chance points.
“Our energy was good,” Parker said. “We got the 50-50 ball; that was huge for us tonight. It was a tough turnaround for us in Game 4. We missed an opportunity at the end and we realize that. Tonight we played for 48 minutes.”
His energy was just as big a spark.
Parker dove over Jarrett Jack midway through the third quarter to corral a loose ball, rising to lead a fast break that resulted in a dunk by Green.
Even Popovich displayed more energy, chasing referee Ed Malloy down the sidelines from the free throw line to just past midcourt while screaming and motioning for a timeout with 9 minutes left in the game.
The Spurs led for all but the opening 6 minutes of the game and moved one game closer to advancing to their 12th conference finals in franchise history.
“Nobody talks about getting this over with like you’ve got a rash,” Popovich said. “Like you can take a pill or put some cream on it, it’s going to be gone. This is a war.”
Curry and Thompson were held to a combined four points on 2-for-10 shooting in the opening 16 minutes, but Barnes had 13 points and Jack seven.
“We just missed shots,” Curry said. “Early in the game, I got a little off balance a couple (times) trying to get a foul. They play good defense. We didn’t get into a rhythm. We just missed shots.”
Curry did not make his first 3 until there were 2 minutes left in the first half.
The Spurs stopped going inside in the second quarter, helping Golden State rally.
The Spurs returned to attacking the basket in the third, resulting in another double-digit lead.
PACERS 93, KNICKS 82
INDIANAPOLIS — George Hill scored 26 points and Paul George added 18 points and 14 rebounds Tuesday night, leading the Indiana Pacers to a 93-82 victory over the New York Knicks and a 3-1 lead in the second-round series.
Indiana needs one more win to reach the conference finals for the first time since 2004. Game 5 will be Thursday night at Madison Square Garden.
NBA scoring champ Carmelo Anthony fouled out with 24 points. J.R. Smith had 19 on another dreadful night for the Knicks.
The game followed a familiar pattern. New York’s shooting was off, Indiana had a huge rebounding edge and the Knicks couldn’t challenge in the second half.
New York didn’t hang around long, either. Indiana closed the first quarter on a 9-2 run to break a 14-14 tie. New York never got closer than five the rest of the way.