San Antonio Spurs shut makeshift Golden State Warriors down in fourth quarter

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SAN ANTONIO — Manu Ginobili flipped his palms up toward the ceiling and shrugged at the suggestion the Spurs might feel sympathy for the banged-up Golden State Warriors.

“Nobody does when we have injuries,” he said.

Taking advantage of a depleted squad missing its three biggest stars in Stephen Curry (right ankle), Kevin Durant (ribs), and Klay Thompson (fractured thumb), the Spurs (41-30) fought off a late Warriors rally with a 20-4 fourth-quarter run to capture a much-needed 89-75 win Monday night to move into fifth in the Western Conference standings. To make matters worse for Golden State (53-18), it lost yet another stalwart in Draymond Green, who suffered a pelvic contusion in the second quarter and didn’t return.

“The Spurs turned it up a notch,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “They’re fighting for their playoff lives, and they played like it. In that fourth quarter, they picked up full court, and they pressured us all over the place. They were fantastic defensively.”

Offensively too, as LaMarcus Aldridge scored all but three of San Antonio’s 20 points during the fourth-quarter run to finish with a game-high 33 points and 12 rebounds.

Aldridge has now produced six games this season with 30 or more points and 10 or more rebounds, which is the most for the Spurs since Tim Duncan put together six such performances during the 2004-05 campaign.

“I was just trying to make plays,” Aldridge said. “It was a big game for us and we needed to win. The ball found me. My teammates always look for me.”

Aldridge poured in 19 of the team’s 28 points in the fourth quarter, outscoring the Warriors 19-12 on 7 of 10 shooting.

Aldridge has scored at least 25 points in three straight games. The last Spur to accomplish that feat was Kawhi Leonard from March to April in 2017.

“He’s great and has been great all year. On the offensive glass, coming up big offensively and making buckets and drawing fouls,” San Antonio guard Danny Green said. “Also blocking some shots. He was a rim protector tonight and started that fourth quarter for us. L.A. obviously did what he does, but he also found the open guy and made the right play, which was big for us tonight. Without him, it could be very ugly.”

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LaMarcus Aldridge goes on a 11-0 run in the fourth quarter, outscoring the Warriors 19-12 in the frame and lifting the Spurs to a victory.

The win over the Warriors marks the Spurs’ first four-game winning streak since early December.

“I guess we lost enough that we got tired of it,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “So they’ve shown a lot more activity just in general, a lot more communication, and activity in the last four games. That’s what we did for most of the year, except for that stretch of 10, 11 games. And we’ve gotten that back. So hopefully, it will continue.”

The bottom four teams of the top eight in the West now sit within one game of one another in the loss column.

The Spurs had lost three consecutive games against the Warriors in which they led at halftime, and they seemed destined for a similar fate in this matchup.

On Monday, San Antonio built an eight-point halftime lead (49-41) on the strength of 21 combined first-half points from Aldridge (12) and Rudy Gay (9).

But 2 minutes, 6 seconds into the second half, the Warriors had pulled to within three points at 49-46, before Spurs point guard Dejounte Murray reeled off six straight points, punctuated by a two-handed transition dunk off a steal from Warriors point guard Quinn Cook.

“Everybody is bringing the juice,” Murray said. “We can’t get comfortable.”

The Spurs actually led by as many as 16 points, and they blew that advantage as the Warriors took their first lead 63-61 with 2.8 seconds remaining in the third on a Kevon Looney bucket.

San Antonio has surrendered sizable leads in every game this season against the Warriors. The Spurs led by double digits in three of four outings against Golden State. On March 8, the Spurs held an eight-point lead with less than five minutes remaining before falling 110-107.

The Spurs are now 5-5 in their past 10 games in which they led by double digits at any point, according to research from ESPN Stats and Information research. San Antonio owned a 29-4 record under such circumstances prior to that this season.

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Kyle Anderson and LaMarcus Aldridge pass it back and forth before Aldridge finishes with the layup.

Poor three-point shooting cooled the typically red-hot Warriors. They have now connected on a combined 2-of-23 on 3-pointers in their past two first halves against the Spurs, hitting only 1-of-11 from range in the opening half of the March 8 matchup in which Curry suffered the right ankle injury that is still keeping him out of action. Golden State finished Monday night’s loss making only 3-of-19 from the 3 line (15.8 percent)

The trio of Curry, Durant and Thompson average a combined 73 points for the Warriors. Should Green be forced to miss time, tack on another 11.4 points.

“We’re already short-handed, and then we lost another All-Star, the glue to our team, Draymond, at halftime,” said Cook, who led the Warriors with a team-high 20 points. “I thought we ran out of gas a little bit, and they took advantage of us. LaMarcus obviously took the game over, and those guys are fighting for their lives right now.”

Green received X-rays at the AT&T Center, which proved to be negative. But it’s unknown how much time Green might miss, even though the forward said he expects to play Friday when the Warriors host the Atlanta Hawks.

San Antonio moves into the fifth outing of a six-game home stand Wednesday against the Washington Wizards.

Popovich pointed out quickly after Monday’s matchup that it “wasn’t a fair fight” due to Golden State’s injuries, but San Antonio’s Danny Green apparently shares Ginobili’s viewpoint on the situation.

“Not many fair fights out there,” Green said. “For us most of the season, we’ve been wounded. We feel a little bit bad for them, but not much. We don’t wish injury on anybody, but we’ve been injured for most of the season and nobody really cares or feels sorry for us. It’s not like they’re going to give us extra wins because we have some low bodies. They still played well. They gave us a dogfight.”



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