The 30th time was not the charm for the Golden State Warriors.
The sixth-seeded Warriors headed into their Western Conference semifinal matchup with the San Antonio Spurs losers in their last 29 attempts in the Alamo City. But history is the least of their concerns following a crushing 129-127 double-overtime defeat in Game 1.
How exactly did this latest Warriors nightmare unfold? Well, strap yourself in and prepare for a topsy-turvy travel through 58 minutes of playoff basketball at its best—or worst if you're a Dubs fan.
Perhaps feeling the effects of their week-long layoff, the Spurs stumbled out of the gate, misfiring on seven of their first eight field-goal attempts. The Warriors, still riding high off their six-game defeat of the third-seeded Denver Nuggets, stormed out of the gate and opened the contest on an 11-3 run.
A pair of old San Antonio reliables, Tony Parker and Tim Duncan, stopped the bleeding with back-to-back buckets midway through the opening period. Then a barrage of Spurs shooters awakened, with Manu Ginobili, Matt Bonner and Gary Neal each burying triples to help Gregg Popovich's team limit the damage and left it with just a 28-25 gap after the first 12 minutes.
The teams traded baskets and empty possessions over the next five minutes, but a pair of Stephen Curry three-point bombs pushed the Warriors lead to 42-33 at the 6:11 mark of the second quarter.
SPLASH!!! @StephenCurry30 knocks down another triple, this one off the @andrewbogut screen. #LetsGoWarriors2013-5-7 02:36:29
The battle-scarred Spurs responded with their regular contributors, as Duncan and Parker embarked on their own 10-4 run to bring the deficit back to three. Andrew Bogut supplied Golden State's next four points, but he left some points at the charity stripe as Popovich employed the hack-a-Bogut strategy.
Marcus Thompson @ThompsonScribe
Spurs going to Hack-a-Bogut2013-5-7 02:49:16
Mark Jackson pulled Bogut after the big man missed three straight from the line, and rookie Harrison Barnes buried a triple on the Warriors' next trip to make it a 53-47 game with 16.9 seconds left in the half. Jarrett Jack fouled Duncan on the ensuing possession, and the big man converted both of his chances.
An errant Draymond Green three-point attempt at the buzzer left the Warriors nursing a 53-49 lead into intermission.
Dime Update @DimeUpdate
Halftime at the AT&T CEnter and the Warriors hold a 53-49 lead over the Spurs. Stephen Curry has 10 pts and 5 asts at the half.2013-5-7 02:54:51
Duncan trimmed the gap to two on the opening possession of the second half, but then the Warriors All-Star snub began his mechanical third-quarter mastery.
Curry buried a pair of jumpers, one of them a three, on each of the Warriors' next two trips. But Kawhi Leonard and Matt Bonner pulled the Spurs within one at the 9:45 mark of the third.
Curry added another triple to his stat line and found Draymond Green for a dunk and then a three as the Warriors opened up a 66-59 lead. Klay Thompson, Barnes and Bogut started doing the heavy lifting on offense for the Warriors, but Leonard, Duncan and Danny Green kept the Spurs within striking distance.
Duncan split a pair of free throws to make it a 66-60 game with 4:10 left in the quarter, but Curry caught fire, running off a solo 14-2 run over the next three-plus minutes to give the Warriors their biggest lead of the night at 90-72.
Rick Bonnell @rick_bonnell
If you are not watching @StephenCurry30 lighting up the Spurs, then you've missed something special.2013-5-7 03:40:35
Ginobili broke loose for an and-1 finish on the next trip, and Danny Green followed up a Barnes dunk with another three. The Warriors turned the ball over on the ensuing in-bounds pass, and Jarrett Jack fouled Gary Neal before San Antonio inbounded the ball.
Neal hit both of his free throws, Jack missed a three at the buzzer, and the Warriors lead was trimmed to 92-80 to enter the fourth quarter.
Ginobili put the Spurs on the scoreboard first with a driving layup at the 11:20 mark to make it a 10-point game, but San Antonio was held scoreless over the next three minutes.
Carl Landry's jumper capped a 6-0 Warriors spurt with 9:00 left in regulation, but Golden State hit its own dry spell. A nearly three-minute scoring drought for the Warriors was broken up by Curry as he and Jack poured in six straight to give Golden State a commanding 104-88 lead with 4:31 left in regulation.
Duncan (illness) left the contest at that point, and Popovich replaced him with Boris Diaw, who hadn't played since April 6 because of a back injury.
And somehow, that's precisely when the Warriors wheels fell off. Thompson fouled out 30 seconds later, taking a key offensive weapon and the team's premier perimeter defender off the floor. Parker, Leonard and Diaw rattled off 15 straight points, with a pair of Diaw free throws slicing the Warriors lead to just one with a minute remaining.
Marcus Thompson @ThompsonScribe
Game completely changed when Klay Thompson fouled out2013-5-7 05:12:20
Curry misfired on a jumper on the Warriors' next possession, but Carl Landry corralled the miss, and Jack buried a jumper to give Golden State a 106-103 lead with just 0:29 left.
After a Spurs timeout, Ginobili found Danny Green for the game-tying three, and the Warriors were unable to score on their possession leading to the first overtime period.
Jaime Maggio @jaimemaggio
Danny Green hits a 3, sends it to OT on the same play that beat the Lakers back in Nov @ Staples. If it ain't broke...2013-5-7 04:38:47
Jack opened the period with another jumper, and Barnes hit another three to open up a five-point lead early in the extra session. But the Spurs responded with a run of seven straight of their own, a Parker jumper and Danny Green layup sandwiched around a Diaw triple, to give them a 113-111 lead with 2:02 remaining.
Following a Curry miss, Parker misfired on his own jumper, but Ginobili tracked down the offensive rebound. But he gave the ball right back as Curry picked off his pass and raced down court for a game-tying layup, his 40th point of the night, with 1:16 remaining.
Matt Steinmetz @SteinmetzNBA
Ginobili not happy that Diaw didn't cut to basket on last play, allowing Curry to step in and make steal, convert fastbreak layup.2013-5-7 04:33:02
Leonard's jumper pushed the Spurs back up two with 1:02 left, but Jack knotted the contest with a driving layup at the 0:20 mark of the period. Ginobili misfired on a potential game-winner, and the contest was headed to its second extra session.
Barnes opened the scoring with a triple at the 3:36 mark, but Parker sandwiched a pair of buckets around two Draymond Green free throws to make it 120-119 with 2:41 left on the clock.
Diaw's jumper on the Spurs' next possession gave San Antonio a one-point lead, and Parker added to that with a pull-up jumper on their ensuing trip.
Jack split a pair of free throws to cut it to a two-point game, but Danny Green knocked down a triple that made it 126-121 with 1:06 remaining. Curry converted a pair of free throws the next time down the floor, and after Ginobili's errant three-point attempt, Curry added a finger roll.
San Antonio ran down the shot clock, and Parker attempted the dagger, but he missed a mid-range jumper. Barnes grabbed the rebound, found Curry on an outlet, and he spotted a streaking Kent Bazemore down the sideline. The rookie calmly dropped in the first postseason field goal of his career on a nifty reverse layup to give the Warriors a 127-126 lead with 3.9 left on the clock.
Bleacher Report @BleacherReport
Kent Bazemore gives the Warriors the lead with 3.9 seconds left. He probably wanted to do this http://t.co/q04gqAp0Gq2013-5-7 04:56:48
Barnes used up the Warriors foul to give just 0.4 seconds later, leaving the Spurs with 3.5 seconds left to find magic.
That's exactly what they found as a Warriors defensive breakdown left a wide-open Ginobili on the wing, and the playoff-seasoned vet buried the go-ahead triple with just 1.2 seconds left.
J.A. Adande @jadande
Ginobili was 4 for 19 before that high-arcing three that took longer than a TV timeout to get there splashed through the hoop2013-5-7 05:00:54
Jack got one final chance to play the role of hero, but he had to force up a contested look that missed its mark.
Fifty-eight minutes and 256 points later, the Spurs were left with a 1-0 series lead, and the Warriors were left with a pile of questions.