Jackson: 'This is going to be a heavyweight championship fight'
Tony Parker scored 32 points Friday night, 25 of which came in the first half. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
OAKLAND-- Gregg Popovich got his wish.
Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, who lit up the Spurs in San Antonio, both had off nights in Friday's Game 3 showdown and San Antonio took advantage with a 102-92 victory.
The Spurs coach, begrudgingly, was complimentary of the duo's lights-out shooting after Game 2.
"Maybe the next iteration is that neither one of them will be hot in Game 3," he mused. "That's what I'm hoping."
And that's what happened.
Tony Parker scored 32 points and Tim Duncan added 23 while Curry (5-of-17, 16 points) and Thompson (7-of-20, 17 points) both struggled.
To make matters worse for the Warriors, Curry sprained his left ankle with four minutes, 40 seconds left in the game. He waved off a would-be substitution and didn't exit until the game was clearly out of hand.
"He said he could make it, which did occur," Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. "I took him off the ball. Just trusted that he said he was OK."
Curry limped badly through the Warriors locker room and did not take questions after the game. He immediately began receiving treatment for the injury.
Jackson wasn't sure what Curry's status would be moving forward.
"No, not right now. Just sprained the left one," he said. "Icing it. Get treatment. We'll see where he's at."
And if he's unable to go?
"If not, credit again to our ownership and our management group, Bob Myers and his seventh place (Executive of the Year finish), outstanding job of going to get Jarrett Jack," Jackson said. "We will give him the basketball and trust that we'll be just fine.
"Hopefully Steph is ready. If not, we got guys more than capable of going out and getting us a win."
Jack spoke with Curry after the game and said he thought the team's unquestioned leader would be ready for Game 4.
Shortly before tipoff, Popovich made it clear what needed to change for the Spurs to have success.
"It’s not that difficult, we need to shoot the ball and we need to score," he said. "We’ve been shooting horribly and that’s the biggest difference in the games."
Again, that's where Game 3 was different.
Golden State outshot San Antonio 48.7 percent (89-for-184) to 41.8 (81-for-194) in the first two games, but that discrepancy flipped immediately as San Antonio built a 57-48 halftime lead.
San Antonio finished 50.6 percent for the contest (40-of-79), to just 39.3 for Golden State (35-of-89).
No one was better than Parker, who shook off a 7-for-17 performance in Game 2 to score 25 first-half points on 11-of-14 shooting. Conversely, Thompson, who scored 29 in the first half on Wednesday, hit just one first-half field goal, a 3-pointer.
"This is a make‑or‑miss league. We look at it like we did not defend at the level that we defend," Jackson said. "They shoot 50 percent from the field. We turned the basketball over, gave them 20 points off of turnovers. That's what cost us the ballgame."
The second half was a roller coaster for Golden State.
It needed less than four minutes to cut nine-point halftime deficit to one and a three from Curry tied it at 65 near the quarter's midway point before San Antonio used a 11-0 run over the next four minutes to retake control.
Thompson ended the skid with a jumper, but the quarter ended with San Antonio leading 79-69.
San Antonio's strong finish to the third started when Warriors center Andrew Bogut went to the bench with his fourth foul. After he re-entered at the 11:45 mark of the fourth with the Warriors down 10, Golden State needed less than two minutes to cut the deficit to 79-78, and was a Draymond Green free throw away from tying it.
Green missed and a minute later, the Spurs led by seven.
Golden State would not recover.
With the Warriors trailing 34-23 and Oracle relatively quiet, Jackson inserted David Lee at the 11:37 mark of the second quarter. His impact was immediate.
First, the crowd erupted, then he pulled down an offensive board on his first trip down the court, scored on a put-back and converted the free-throw to finish an and-1.
Before the game, Jackson said if Lee were to play it would be in short spurts. In that three-minute spurt, his only appearance of the game, Lee scored five points and pulled down a pair of rebounds as the Warriors cut five points off the 11-point deficit.
"I felt 60-70 percent out there," he said. "I felt much better out there tonight than I did in Game 6 against Denver. It comes down to how much Coach wants to use me knowing that I'm not 100 percent."
When Lee was inserted, Popovich, who coached Lee on the All-Star Game, immediately sent in 3-point threat Matt Bonner -- a move done seemingly to force David Lee to cover more ground on defense.
Lee said he was encouraged by his ability to move laterally after having to guard Park on a switch.
“I’m happy for (Lee) because he’s a competitor and the last thing he wants to be doing is sitting on the sidelines while they’re playing so well," Popvich said. "I’m happy that he’s back. At this point it doesn’t change what we’ll do too much.”
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