Warriors shock NBA's top team
Guard Jarrett Jack (center) finished with a game-high 30 points and 10 assists in the Warriors 107-101 win over the Spurs. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
No Andrew Bogut, no problem.
Playing without its starting center, this time unexpectedly due to back spasms, Golden State erased a 13-point, fourth-quarter deficit to force overtime where it went on to beat San Antonio 107-101 at Oracle Arena. It was the team’s first win against the Spurs since Jan. 7, 2008 and ended a 16-game losing streak to the team with the NBA’s best record.
And it all happened with the team wearing short sleeves.
“They’re the best team in the league right now, playing the best basketball so it’s a big win for us,” Warriors guard Stephen Curry said. “(The losing streak against the Spurs) makes it even bigger, to get on the winning side against them.”
While Curry said the drought adds a little something to the win, coach Mark Jackson stood behind his earlier comments that the team is building new history and doesn’t acknowledge the past failures of the franchise as its own.
“It’s been a long year and a half,” Jackson said. “That’s how long it’s been for me. My history is not this team’s history, with all due respect.
“In a year and a half we have not beaten the Spurs and it says a lot for this group to get this win. Big-time win for us.”
Still, it’s hard to ignore the Warriors’ extended struggles against San Antonio. Golden State had lost its last seven against the Spurs at home and 48 of the last 55 overall.
“They played great tonight. You have to give them credit,” Spurs guard Tony Parker said. “They play very good basketball. We had our opportunities, but it didn’t work out for us tonight.”
Guard Klay Thompson tied the game at 98 with a corner jumper with just under two minutes to play in overtime, then came up with a steal that led to a layup for Jarrett Jack, which put Golden State (32-23) on top for good.
After a Spurs miss, Jack, who finished with a game-high 30 points, answered with another bucket, this time a jumper to make it 102-98 with 56.5 seconds left to prompt a timeout from Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. A three from Danny Green followed, but the teams traded misses before the Spurs were forced to foul Curry with 21.9 seconds left. He hit both free throws to extend the Warriors lead to three.
The Spurs (44-13) turned it over on their ensuing possession then were forced to foul Jack, who hit 1-of-2 free throws with 11.7 seconds left to make it 105-101.
San Antonio came up empty when it got the ball back and two more free throws from Jack sealed it with 3.8 second left.
The performance adds to Jack’s case for the league’s Sixth Man of the Year.
“With all due respect to what Jamal Crawford has done for the Los Angeles Clippers and with all due respect to what J.R. Smith has done for the New York Knicks, Jarrett Jack has been the best sixth man all year long,” Jackson said. “He’s carried us at times, been a great voice in our locker room, he’s a great competitor and he’s been outstanding since day one.”
The Warriors came close to winning in regulation. Stephen Curry found Jack for an open three with 7.3 seconds left in to put the Warriors up 93-91 and send the home crowd into a frenzy. But, somewhat appropriately, a back cut from Manu Ginobili on a pass from Tim Duncan tied the game for the Spurs a few seconds later and a heave from Jack at the buzzer to win it was off the mark.
Curry’s wrap-around pass from the baseline to Jack back outside is a pass he works on every day, but hadn’t executed in a game to this point.
“With my assistant coach, Kris Weems, we go through our shooting drills and that’s one of the passes I make before every game,” Curry said. “We had a good laugh about that.”
It was a much-needed win after news that Bogut will be out “indefinitely” as the team evaluates the seriousness of his condition, according to Jackson.
“We will be smart with it and we will not rush it,” Jackson said. “We’ll be patient and let the process play out.”
Jackson said there were no red flags to indicate a long-term problem, but could not place a timetable on when he expects the big man back.
San Antonio took a one-point lead into the fourth quarter at 66-65, but quickly extended its lead to 77-67 less than three minutes later.
Golden State was cold from the field early in the quarter, but came back to tie it at 80 after a three from Curry with just over six to play. Duncan answered with a bucket to put the Spurs back in front on their next possession.
Golden State took its first lead of the second half when Jack hit a pair of free throws to make it 88-86 with 2:56 left.
David Lee added 25 points and 22 rebounds and Curry scored 18 for Golden State.
Duncan was one of six Spurs to finish in double figures with 19 points and 13 rebounds, while Green (20 points), Parker (18) and Ginobili (18) all had big games.
Playing without Bogut is nothing new for Golden State -- he appeared in just 12 of 54 games before Friday -- but his absence against San Antonio was for a new reason.
He did not practice on Thursday and received treatment for symptoms Friday morning at the team facility. He underwent an MRI, but the results weren’t readily available.
Back problems are nothing new for Bogut. A stress fracture in his back kept him out of more than half the 2008-09 season, he missed a game with a back strain in 2009-10 and five games with a sore back last season.
Bogut has been sidelined most of the season recovering from microfracture surgery on his left ankle and did not play in the final 27 games after being acquired in a trade that sent Monta Ellis and Ekpe Udoh to the Milwaukee Bucks last March.
Andris Biedrins started in his place and played 15 minutes. He was surprisingly effective on Duncan. Festus Ezeli came off the bench to play just five minutes as the team stayed with smaller lineups for most the game.
Short-Sleeve Jerseys Unveiled
The Warriors debuted their yellow, short-sleeve jerseys, which were described as the team’s lightest uniform ever. It was the first of three contests the team will wear them in with the additional contests on subsequent home Friday games on March 8 against Houston and March 15 against Chicago.
“It was different, man. A different look,” Curry said. “Obviously it was our first time wearing the color yellow from top to bottom, and also just the sleeves. I don’t’ think it affected shooting percentages much at all, I don’t think we noticed it while we were out there. It’ll be interesting to go back and look at film and see how it looked from a birds-eye view.”
The Spurs players got a good laugh out of the look.
“They’re wearing their normal jerseys, but obviously it’s the first time anybody has worn the sleeves before,” Curry said. “They were laughing, joking around a little bit that we were the first team to wear them. Innovative franchise we’re trying to be, fashion forward.”
The uniforms were designed to allow complete free range of motion.
Authentic jerseys were sold at the arena for $300.
No Aussie Record
Before Bogut was scratched before the game, it had the potential to become the first game in NBA history to feature three Australian players. Spurs guard Patty Mills, the former Saint Mary’s College star, ended up being the lone Aussie to play. Teammate Aron Baynes, a reserve forward, didn’t log any minutes.
The game was televised live nationally in Australia.
#WarriorsTalk Tweet of the Game
1st win in 17 tries v SAS. Jack Diesel player of the game. big ups to the dubs. If the new unies help us win, ill take em. #warriorstalk— Michael Sakoda (@michaelsakoda) February 23, 2013
Next up -- Minnesota
Golden State begins its second-longest road trip of the season Sunday at Minnesota. The Warriors have won three straight against the Timberwolves and three straight at the Target Center. The teams last met on Nov. 16, a 106-98 Warriors win.
Wizards 119, Nuggets 113: Golden State is now 1.5 games behind Denver in the Western Conference playoff standings. … Rockets 106, Nets 96: Houston, which is currently in the No. 8 spot, has won three straight and is two games behind Golden State. … Grizzlies 88, Magic 82: Memphis has a four-game lead over Denver – the difference between the No. 4 and No. 5 spots in the West.