The San Antonio Spurs are one win away from advancing to the Western Conference Finals following a convincing, 109-91 victory over the Golden State Warriors Wednesday night.
Tony Parker led the way for the Spurs with 25 points and 10 assists on 9-of-16 shooting. Tim Duncan wasn't able to (completely) erase his shooting woes, but finished with a double-double as well, with 14 points on 5-of-13 shooting to go along with 11 rebounds.
Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green also came up big for the Spurs. Leonard finished with 17 points and seven rebounds, while Green chipped in 16 points of his own.
Harrison Barnes led the Warriors with 25 points on 10-of-18 shooting from the field. He was one of just three Warriors players who scored in double figures. Jarrett Jack had 20 points and Carl Landry tallied 16.
Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson had a night to forget, though. Curry played 35 minutes on an ailing ankle and went for just nine points and eight assists on 4-of-14 shooting. Thompson fared even worse, going just 2-of-8 from the floor for four points.
The Spurs started out hot. Scorching, even.
They hit on 72.2 percent of their shots in the first quarter (13-of-18) en route to a 37-point period. I mean seriously, it was mesmerizing.
Led by Barnes' nine points in the opening period, the Warriors managed to notch 28 points of their own. They knocked down 52.4 percent of their shots overall and went 3-of-6 from downtown.
Curry's 1-of-6 showing didn't further the cause, however. He had two assists, including a nifty half-court lob to Andrew Bogut, but his erratic shooting helped dig the Warriors into a nine-point hole.
Fortunately for Golden State, San Antonio didn't fare as well in the second quarter. Gregg Popovich's crew followed up their 72.2 percent display in the first quarter with a 33.3 percent clip leading into halftime.
The Warriors put up 23 points in the second, cutting the lead to three as they headed into the locker room. Barnes led all scorers with 15 points, while the Spurs were led by Duncan, who after a hot start, finished the half with 10 points on just 3-of-9 shooting.
Meanwhile, Golden State's Splash Brothers (Curry and Thompson), combined for just 4-of-16 shooting through the first two quarters. With their two most lethal shooters struggling to find the bottom of the net, the Warriors were beyond fortunate that it was just a one-possession game.
San Antonio came out gunning in the second half, though. The Spurs outscored the Warriors, 17-9, in the first half of the the third quarter, pushing their lead to 11. Another surge brought the Warriors back to within six, but the Spurs finished strong and took an 11-point lead into the fourth.
Nothing appeared to change early in the final period, either. The Spurs increased their lead to 14 and Curry's ankle forced him to the bench. But the Warriors weren't done pressing, even without Curry. They cut the lead to eight midway through the fourth.
The Spurs responded with a mini-run of their own, bringing their lead back to 11 inside of six minutes to play. Jackson was then compelled to send Curry and Andrew Bogut back in the game, but they weren't enough.
San Antonio increased its lead to 18 points with just four minutes to play and never looked back.
It's worth mentioning once again that the Spurs barely missed during their first-quarter onslaught:
Spurs lead 37-28 after 1st quarter, shooting 72.2% (13 of 18). Warriors need Steph Curry to be Steph Curry again - 1 of 6 so far.— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) May 15, 2013
Though the Warriors got off to a less-than-desirable start, it always pays to look at the bright side, like the fact that an injured David Lee and the liability known as Richard Jefferson didn't lead Golden State toward self-destruction early.
RJeff and injured Lee are in and the Warriors aren't down by 40. So that's a win.— Ethan Strauss (@SherwoodStrauss) May 15, 2013
It was quite the opposite, actually. Down by nine entering the second period, Golden State fought back to cut the lead, in no small part thanks to Mark Jackson's motivational pep talks in team huddles.
We don't know for sure what he said, but it's only right to assume his talks comprised of some proverb-like sentiments.
"Teach a team to fish for Spurs and they will eat forever." -- Hand of God— Tom Ziller (@teamziller) May 15, 2013
Jackson likely wasn't just preaching to his players, either. Word has it there was a certain hip-hop mogul in need of some perspective sitting near the Warriors' bench.
Lil Wayne sitting baseline right by end of Warriors bench— Marcus Thompson (@gswscribe) May 15, 2013
Lil' Wayne wasn't the only one who should have been eavesdropping on Jackson's inspirational, yet suitable-for-children soliloquies.
Coach Pop is known for speaking his mind, and Game 5 was no exception, as he could be heard yelling expletives at Tony Parker during the third quarter.
Pop had a message for Manu: "Tell Tony to stop walking the f------ ball up"— J.A. Adande (@jadande) May 15, 2013
Though the language was questionable, the message was clear and well-received. San Antonio outscored Golden State, 29-21, in the third.
Speaking of "receiving," Ginobili may be getting a phone call from the league offices after blatantly flopping midway through the third quarter. And I'm not sure "But I have a bald spot" will be an effective enough defense to escape a fine.
I'm not sure if Manu Ginobili flopped on that last play or if he was weighed down by his bald spot.— Not Bill Walton (@NotBillWalton) May 15, 2013
Through three quarters, it also became apparent that Curry wouldn't be able to escape the wrath his sore ankle wished to induce.
Curry's Game 5 < Curry's ankles— Ethan Strauss (@SherwoodStrauss) May 15, 2013
While it wasn't enough, Barnes attempted to do his best Curry impression, scoring 25 points of his own and making NBA history in the process.
Harrison Barnes is 1st player in NBA history to score 25 Pts in consecutive playoff games after never scoring 25 in any career game. (Elias)— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 15, 2013
Not even a superb performance from Barnes could prevent the Spurs from pulling away in the fourth quarter, though. And when I say "pulled away," I mean really pulled away. There was even a Tracy McGrady sighting.
TRACY! #ALLOFTHEALERTS— Holly MacKenzie (@stackmack) May 15, 2013
These two teams now head back to Oakland, where the Warriors will look to stave off elimination and force a Game 7 Thursday night, while the Spurs will hope to earn yet another bid to the Western Conference Finals.