Where: AT&T Center, San Antonio
SAN ANTONIO – In the unlikely event that the prolific Golden State offense needs a pick-me-up, it can turn to forward Kevin Durant, who is capable of jump-starting the Warriors in clutch situations.
Durant provided the spark the Warriors craved when he scored 17 consecutive points in a three-minute stretch of the decisive third quarter on Saturday as the Warriors easily dispatched the San Antonio Spurs 120-108 in Game 3 of the Western Conference finals at the AT&T Center.
The Warriors lead 3-0 in the best-of-seven series with Game 4, a potential clincher for Golden State, set for Monday in San Antonio. No NBA team has ever come back to win a series after losing the first three games.
Durant had 33 points in all, 19 of them in the third period, and pulled down 10 rebounds.
“Yeah, KD got in a groove,” Warriors acting coach Mike Brown said. “He was huge for us. Literally, we didn’t do anything tricky. He got hot, and we just wanted to keep him in the middle of the floor attacking downhill and in pick-and-roll situations. He was terrific. He made the right play every time down the floor, and obviously he made shots. He is who he is.”
San Antonio trailed by nine points at the half and got as close as 69-65 two minutes into the third quarter before Golden State took charge with its superior firepower and unselfish play. By the middle of the fourth quarter, the Spurs were just worn out, settling for shots early in possessions and missing most of them while the Warriors rebuilt an 18-point lead.
“It feels like (San Antonio) can always stay in the game and always put up a fight and win,” Durant said. “So we knew especially (with the Spurs) at home, Game 3, a lot of energy in the building, they were going to come out and hit us in the mouth, and we did a good job of taking that punch and just keep playing.”
The Spurs’ hopes of getting back in this series were severely damaged earlier on Saturday when the team announced that star forward Kawhi Leonard would not play in Game 3 because of a sprained left ankle. Leonard was originally injured in Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals against the Houston Rockets and re-injured the ankle in Game 1 at Golden State.
Stephen Curry added 21 points for the Warriors, who are a perfect 11-0 in the postseason and have won 26 of their past 27 games.
Klay Thompson had 17 points, JaVale McGee hit for 16 (all in the first half) and Draymond Green tallied 10 points, seven rebounds and seven assists as all five of Golden State’s starters scored in double figures. The Warriors outshot San Antonio 54.8 percent to 47.3 percent from the floor.
The Spurs got 21 points from the ageless Manu Ginobili, who hit 7 of 9 shots from the field, and 18 points from LaMarcus Aldridge. Jonathon Simmons added 14 points, and Pau Gasol contributed 12 points and 10 rebounds for San Antonio.
“We knew we were going to be able to bounce back at least emotionally today and play a better game,” Ginobili said. “The fact is that it’s just too tough. We are missing Kawhi’s offense and defense in this series. They were just too much for us today offensively. KD got hot in the moment when we had a chance. They got a lead, and they just played their rhythm and they were better than us.”
The Spurs took a 26-25 lead on a 3-pointer by Patty Mills late in the first quarter and expanded it to 33-27 with 1.1 seconds to play on two free throws by Ginobili. The Warriors stole the final points of the quarter and a little of the momentum when David West threw an end-to-end pass to Ian Clark, who caught the ball underneath the Spurs’ basket and laid it in as the horn sounded, bringing Golden State within 33-29 at the quarter break.
Golden State surged back into the lead in the middle of the second quarter, building a 61-49 advantage with 1:28 remaining while holding the Spurs scoreless for more than three minutes. San Antonio cut the deficit to 61-55 on a free throw and a basket by Ginobili and a put-back by Aldridge, but West canned a 3-pointer with 10.9 seconds left in the half to grant the Warriors a 64-55 lead at intermission.
McGee led the Warriors with 16 points in the half while Ginobili paced the Spurs with 13 points on 4-for-4 shooting from the floor.
Durant caught fire in the third quarter, hitting on 5 of 6 shots as the Warriors built as much as an 18-point lead before settling for a 100-88 advantage through three quarters. Golden State shot 60 percent in the period (12 of 20) but allowed San Antonio some hope when it committed turnovers on three consecutive possessions.
Spurs reserve forward David Lee was forced from the game with a hyperextended left knee late in the first quarter while hitting a layup and being fouled. Lee went straight to the San Antonio locker room and was not able to return to shoot the free throw he earned, meaning he could not return to the game.
“Our competitiveness was great,” San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. “Every time you look up, you’re playing against four All-Stars, so you better be pretty perfect, and competitiveness-wise I couldn’t ask for anything more. We turned it over too much, and we’ve got to make some more shots. But Golden State is a hell of a team.”
NOTES: San Antonio won 33 consecutive home games against the Warriors from the start of the 1997-98 season up until April 10, 2016, when it dropped a 92-86 decision to Golden State for its only home loss on the 2015-16 season. During that stretch, the Spurs posted a 57-13 record against the Warriors. … In Game 2 of the Western Conference finals, the Warriors dished out a franchise-record 23 assists in the first half on the way to a 2017 playoff-high 39, one shy of the team playoff record. … San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich served as an assistant for the Warriors under Don Nelson’s staff from 1992-93 through the 1994-95 season. … Warriors coach Steve Kerr had two playing stints with San Antonio, appearing in 131 games while averaging 3.5 points from 1998-2001 and in 75 games during the 2002-03 season while helping lead the Spurs to their second NBA championship.
Where: AT&T Center, San Antonio, Texas
Officials: #20 Leroy Richardson, #21 Dedric Taylor, #15 Zach Zarba
Leonard scored 26 points, Gasol added 17 points and 13 rebounds and Parker had eight points in a two-and-a-half-minute stretch of the fourth quarter to help San Antonio withstand the Celtics’ comeback attempt.
The Spurs led 100-85 with 4:31 to play but had to hold on as Boston forged a 10-2 run that cut the San Antonio advantage to 102-95. Leonard hit two free throws and a jumper to cement the win for the Spurs.
“This was a really good win for us because Boston executed better than most everybody in this league,” San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. “Our ball movement was a little more aggressive tonight and we communicated well defensively. This was one of our better games on the defensive end of the court.”
San Antonio 109, Boston 103
When: 1:00 PM ET, Friday, November 25, 2016
Where: TD Garden, Boston
BOSTON — Kawhi Leonard took over down the stretch and the San Antonio Spurs extended three winning streaks with a 109-103 victory Friday that ended the Boston Celtics’ three-game winning.
The Spurs, who trailed by 14 points in the first half, rallied for their eighth straight win overall, their ninth in as many road games and also beat Boston for the 10th consecutive time. Leonard, who finished with 25 points, 10 rebounds and four assists, scored nine points in the fourth quarter — all in the final 7:17 — as the Spurs improved to 13-3.
The San Antonio bench totaled 56 points and 17 rebounds, with Patty Mills scoring 19 points and rookie Davis Bertans and veteran David Lee adding 15 points apiece — a career high for Bertans and season high for Lee, who turned back the clock and also grabbed a season-high 12 rebounds in just 17:31 of playing time.
Lee may have been seeking revenge against the Celtics, who had him at the start of last season and hardly used him before he finished the season in Dallas.
Starters Danny Green and LaMarcus Aldridge scored 11 and 10 points, respectively, with Aldridge clinching the decision with an offensive rebound and two free throws with 17.4 seconds remaining.
Isaiah Thomas led the Celtics (9-7) with 24 points and eight assists while Avery Bradley had 19 points and eight rebounds. Al Horford added 12 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks while Marcus Smart, coming off the bench, had nine points, 10 assists and four rebounds.
The Spurs led 8-6 when the Celtics started an 18-2 first-quarter run to grab a 24-10 lead. Boston had a similar start in its last game at Brooklyn, where a 17-point lead was squandered. In this game, the Spurs never caught up in the first half, but they did get the lead down to one on two different occasions, fell behind again by seven before closing the half with a 5-0 run and tying the game 56 seconds into the second half.
The Celtics, coming off sweeping a three-game road trip, went 5:51 without a point in the second quarter as San Antonio used a 12-0 spurt to get back in the game. Boston then needed 2:37 to score in the second half, running that drought to 3:38 bridging the halves as the Spurs built an eight-point lead.
Five straight points by Bradley brought the Celtics even with 5:08 left in the third quarter and Kelly Olynyk (nine points) then nailed a 3-pointer to put Boston up by three with 4:19 left in the third.
The Spurs ended the quarter when, down five, they got back-to-back 3-pointers in the final 24.3 seconds — Mills hitting a long bomb with 0.4 on the clock.
NOTES: Spurs coach Gregg Popovich on his team being 8-0 on the road and 4-3 at home before Friday: “It’s a weird year. We lost three in a row at home, and last year we lost one all year. Now we’re undefeated on the road. Don’t ask me. I guess that’s why they call it a game. You never know what’s going to happen.” … San Antonio F Kawhi Leonard entered the game averaging 25.1 points per game but was 26.8, to go with 5.8 rebounds and 3.8 assists, in eight road games. … Celtics coach Brad Stevens, asked why his team swept a three-game road trip, said: “Health. It’s nice to have everybody back.” … Celtics C Al Horford, who returned (along with F Jae Crowder who missed eight games with a sprained ankle) from a nine-game absence (concussion) in time for the trip, scored 59 points, grabbed 21 rebounds, dished out 18 assists and made eight blocked shots in the three games. … The Spurs finish their three-game trip at Washington Saturday night, while the Celtics are off until Monday night’s game at Miami.
SAN ANTONIO – (Wire Service Report – Special to Digital Sports Desk) – The San Antonio Spurs will retire the No. 21 jersey of future Hall of Famer Tim Duncan, who retired in July after 19 seasons and five NBA titles. The team announced the ceremony will take place on Sunday, Dec. 18 when the Spurs host the New Orleans Pelicans. A special postgame event honoring Duncan will take place on the AT&T Center floor.
Duncan will become the eighth Spurs player in franchise history to have his number raised to the rafters, joining Bruce Bowen (12), Sean Elliott (32), George Gervin (44), Avery Johnson (6), Johnny Moore (00), David Robinson (50) and James Silas (13).
Duncan and Gregg Popovich have the most wins by a player-coach duo in NBA history (1,001) and the forward finished his career in San Antonio as one of just three players in NBA history, along with John Stockton of the Utah Jazz and Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers, to spend 19 seasons with one franchise. Duncan, selected by the Spurs as the first overall pick in the 1997 NBA Draft, posted a 1,072-438 regular-season record. The .710 team winning percentage over a 19-year stretch is the best in all of the NBA, NFL, NHL and MLB over that time.
Duncan helped the Spurs reach the playoffs in each of his 19 seasons and became the only player in league history to start and win a title in three different decades. The Spurs won at least 50 games in his last 17 seasons, the longest streak in league history, and posted at least a .600 winning percentage in each of
Duncan’s 19 seasons — an all-time record for most consecutive seasons with a .600 win percentage in the four major U.S. sports. In his final season with the Spurs in 2015-16, Duncan became just the third player in league history to reach 1,000 career wins, as well as the only player to reach 1,000 wins with one team. He helped the Spurs to a franchise-best 67-15 record and also became one of two players in NBA history to record at least 26,000 points, 15,000 rebounds and 3,000 blocks in his career (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is the other).