In what will go down as one of the most exciting playoff games in recent history, the San Antonio Spurs overcame a near-20-point deficit at home in the final few minutes of regulation to eventually defeat the Golden State Warriors in two overtimes.
A last-second shot from Manu Ginobili ultimately handed the Spurs the victory, 129-127, in the opener of the teams' second-round series.
Ginobili scored 16 points, while Tony Parker led the late push, scoring 28 points alongside eight rebounds and eight assists. Tim Duncan contributed with 19 points, as did Danny Green with 22 of his own. Stephen Curry led the way for the Warriors with 44 points.
The Spurs began the game slowly and sluggishly—most likely attributable to rust and their extended rest following their four-game sweep of the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round. The Warriors took advantage of their struggling opponents, exploding out of the gate to gain early momentum.
However, the Spurs soon countered Golden State's hot start, following Manu Ginobili's lead as they cut the deficit within three following the end of the first quarter, and four at the end of the half.
The second half began as the first ended, with both teams trading baskets. No matter how hard the Spurs pushed, however, they remained at the tail of Golden State, who enjoyed another dominant third quarter on the shoulders of Curry and Klay Thompson.
Even when Danny Green found his shot, the Warriors had an answer, though San Antonio remained within reach.
And then Stephen Curry happened.
Reminiscent of his incredible third-quarter in Game 4 against Denver, Curry scored 22 of his 44 points in the third, single-handedly leading a 16-2 run to extend Golden State's lead to 12 heading into the final quarter.
The final 12 minutes of action began similarly to the first 12, with San Antonio struggling on all cylinders. And then—almost as miraculous as Curry's third quarter—the Spurs began to score.
Despite the absence of Tim Duncan—who exited for the locker room after 34 minutes of action due to flu-like symptoms—the team closed out the final three minutes with an outstanding run, bringing the game within three.
The comeback was completed following a Danny Green three, and a Curry miss took the game to extra time.
With two minutes left in overtime, the Spurs took the lead for the first time since the opening possession, but the Warriors tied it up and the two teams subsequently went into a second overtime.
Despite a sequence of errors, Manu Ginobili came through in the clutch, hitting the game-winning three to give the Spurs the early advantage in the series.
Like the Heat, the Spurs began the game slowly.
You can already clearly tell the difference in rhythm between these two teams.— Matthew R Tynan (@Matthew_Tynan) May 7, 2013
The Warriors took advantage of their opponents' struggles to build early momentum.
The Spurs, however, continued to get good looks and never fell too far behind.
Spurs are missing but the quality of their shots is extremely high. This should even out quickly.— Fred (@DartFred) May 7, 2013
It was only a matter of time before they made a run toward the end of the first quarter...
Three-point ball game shooting 39% to 60% after the first quarter? I'll take it. #GoSpursGo— Ben Hunt (@benhunted) May 7, 2013
...until a third-quarter explosion from Steph Curry put the Warriors on top.
Curry was on his own 5-0 run. First over Parker, then over Green. #Spurs down by 7 again...........— Paul Garcia PS (@24writer) May 7, 2013
Ugh. Steph is gonna drop 20 in the 3rd again isn't he?— Ian Dougherty (@EeyoreWolfDough) May 7, 2013
Curry college mode, activated.— Jesse Blanchard (@blanchardJRB) May 7, 2013
This third quarter performance by Stephen Curry would be absolutely unbelievable... if we hadn't seen it twice already.— Kyle Boenitz (@KyleBoenitz) May 7, 2013
Even a defensive switch could not stop the surging star.
Now Curry is lighting Leonard up. Remarkable stuff.— Dan McCarney (@danmccarneysaen) May 7, 2013
Until the Spurs began to connect.
Now they start playing?This would have been nice 20 minutes ago.— Fred (@DartFred) May 7, 2013
Spurs making that final push. If Dubs clam up like they did in game 6 vs. Nuggets, Spurs could make this interesting...— Darius Soriano (@forumbluegold) May 7, 2013
And it was quite the miraculous run.
THINGS ARE HAPPENING— Zach Harper (@talkhoops) May 7, 2013
The comeback was completed with a Danny Green game-tying three, sending the game to overtime.
Unreal. Unreal. Unreal.— Dan McCarney (@danmccarneysaen) May 7, 2013
I CANT BREATHE— josh guyer (@jortle) May 7, 2013
And then the excitement continued...with another overtime.
Double OT #Spurs fans. 115-115. I do not think my heart can take much more.— sa2ny2004 (@sa2ny2004) May 7, 2013
Manu Ginobili then put the icing on the cake, leading the Spurs to the miraculous Game 1 comeback and victory.
What a game.— Andrew A. McNeill (@drew_48moh) May 7, 2013
How many people in San Antonio are calling into work later today with this excuse for their boss: MANU GINOBILI— Paul Garcia PS (@24writer) May 7, 2013
OK, I admit I had given up on Ginobili. I was yelling at my TV after he missed walk-off and shot that awful 3. Then ... MANUUUUUUU!!!!— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) May 7, 2013
The Spurs will host Golden State on Wednesday as they look to extend their lead in the series.