That always seems to happen when these two teams play.
Duncan had 30 points, 12 rebounds and five assists before
fouling out with 2:51 left and the Spurs never trailed in a 103-99
win over the Warriors on Wednesday night.
"They always find a way to make it a game," Duncan said. "But
we made big shots. We didn't want to go on a break before the
Tony Parker added 21 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds, and
Stephen Jackson had 14 points and nine rebounds for the Spurs, who
almost blew it after building a big early lead. Jackson made a
3-pointer with 14 seconds left to seal the win.
The Warriors immediately fell behind and were left to try to
play catch-up the entire game against the hot-shooting Spurs, who
made their first six 3-pointers and shot 56 percent in the first
Golden State, which had won its previous three home games, was
led by Gilbert Arenas with 28 points, including 15 in the fourth
quarter. Jason Richardson added 16 points and six rebounds. Arenas
also had seven rebounds and four assists before fouling out with
"I took a cold shower at half and then was ready to go," said
Arenas, who had four points at halftime. "It was my fault in the
first half. I got frustrated with the refs and couldn't get out of
The Spurs withstood an impressive comeback effort by the
Warriors, who trailed by only six points entering the fourth
quarter after being behind by as many as 18.
Arenas scored 10 straight to tie the game at 88 with 5:53 left,
but the Warriors then went cold on offense and missed some crucial
free throws, including two by Erick Dampier. Arenas hit a 3-pointer
with 1:26 remaining, but missed the next time down the floor.
Richardson scored five straight points during one stretch in the
third quarter to get Golden State back in it.
The Spurs were smart down the stretch, picking up their
defensive pressure and taking better care of the ball after
committing a season-high 27 turnovers in a win at Miami on
Saturday. They finished with 10 turnovers.
David Robinson, who will retire after the season, started his
final game in Oakland despite soreness in his right knee. He had
only six points and six rebounds, but he scored a putback dunk on a
miss by Parker with 2:26 left.
"I didn't want to lose my last game here," he said. "It feels
good. I saw a lot of signs and jerseys."
San Antonio spoiled what would have been a notable victory for
Golden State. The Warriors have 21 wins and were looking to surpass
their victory total from last season. The franchise has not won
more than 21 games in a season since finishing 30-52 in 1995-96.
Now, the Warriors will have to wait until after the All-Star
break to do it, but Eric Musselman's team has exceeded the
first-year coach's expectations so far.
"It's a disappointing loss, yet we still have 21 wins at the
break," he said. "If there's someone who hasn't said we've gone
beyond expectations, they're smoking something funny."
The Warriors finished 1-3 against the Spurs this season, and had
lost 16 in a row to San Antonio coming into 2002-03.
The Spurs still must play at Denver on Thursday in their final
game before the All-Star break. They follow the break with a tough
road trip: at Portland, at Los Angeles to face the Lakers, then at
San Antonio led 65-49 at halftime. The Spurs' 65 points at the
half were just two fewer than they had all game in their 67-65 win
at Miami _ a game which saw the teams combine for the ninth-fewest
points since the 24-second shot clock was introduced in 1954.
Musselman is giving his players Thursday off leading
into the All-Star break. Troy Murphy, Richardson and Arenas are all
playing for the sophomore squad in the Rookie Challenge on Saturday
in Atlanta. Musselman will be in Atlanta and plans to take the
three to dinner. ``I'm just kind of there in case they get bored,''
Musselman said. ``I'll have my cell phone on.'' He was looking
forward to hanging out with his players and not having to be an
authority figure. ... F Antawn Jamison watched the Warriors finish
a combined 140 games below .500 in his first four NBA seasons. ...
Duncan left the game for nearly two minutes in the fourth quarter
after hurting his right groin. He shot 11-for-20 and made all eight
of his free throws.