Even a day later, the San Antonio Spurs still found it difficult to explain how they won the opener of their second-round series against the Warriors.
The Spurs overcame Stephen Curry’s 44 points and became the first team in postseason history to rally from a 16-point deficit with 4 minutes remaining and earned a 129-127 victory in double overtime on Monday.
Game 2 is Wednesday night in San Antonio.
“I don’t know how we managed to tie the game,” Manu Ginobili said Tuesday. “We had some really big shots before regulation, in the first overtime and second overtime. It got us the win, but not sure if we deserved it.”
After missing seven straight shots, Ginobili hit a game-winning 3-pointer with 1.2 seconds remaining to hand Golden State its 30th straight loss in San Antonio going back to Feb. 14, 1997.
The Warriors, however, have shown they can get over a tough loss.
Golden State won three straight in the opening round after dropping the series opener to Denver.
Overcoming that loss to the Nuggets gave the young Warriors a boost in confidence, as did Monday’s loss.
“We were the better basketball team for the most part of that game,” Golden State coach Mark Jackson said. “Now we did some things that we’ve got to do better, but we’ve got to leave that game feeling good about where we are.”
The Warriors feel especially good about Curry’s performance.
The guard had 44 points, including 22 in the third quarter. He also had 11 assists.
Curry shot 9-for-12 in the third and was 4-for-6 on 3-pointers. At one point in the third quarter, he lost his dribble, calmly scooped up the ball and made a jumper from the top of the key in one fluid motion that exasperated Tony Parker.
Limiting Curry’s production in Game 2 is key to San Antonio preserving its home-court advantage.
“We’d like to figure out how to hold Curry below 40,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “I’ve got like 10 phone calls out for people asking for suggestions. He’s unbelievable, unbelievable. He’s something to watch.”
The Spurs held Curry to six points following the third quarter after giving the defensive assignment to Kawhi Leonard, who is 6-foot-7.
“Kawhi did a good job of just running me off the 3-point line and funneling me to help and relying on that second line of defense to step up,” Curry said. “There are certain plays where I looked at the film and I could have attacked a different angle or on different spots on the floor and still got my jumper off against Kawhi. I’ll make my adjustments there.”
The Spurs also benefited from Klay Thompson fouling out.
Thompson had 19 points and five rebounds while defending Parker for much of the game. Parker had 16 points in the fourth quarter and two overtimes.
“The fact that Thompson was out of the game helped a little bit (defensively against Curry), too,” the Spurs’ Boris Diaw said. “That’s more help, more shift, but we tried different things. He’s a great player, he’s tough to stop. I think he got tired too because it was a long game, but we had to try different things, tried to help a little more at the end of the game.”
Curry said while his legs felt a little heavy at the end of regulation, he actually felt stronger in the overtimes.
Slowing Curry helped the Spurs close regulation on an 18-2 run to force overtime, despite losing Tim Duncan for much of the final stretch to a stomach bug.
Duncan left the game with 3 minutes left in regulation and only played the final seconds of each overtime.
Duncan said he was feeling better Tuesday morning.
“I was in the locker room watching it as we were getting closer and closer,” Duncan said. “I debated whether even coming back out there. Whatever superstition or whatever it may be, I wanted to stay right where I was. It felt bad coming out there and they get a lead again, but was just great to see everything going the way we wanted it go.”
Ginobili’s game-winning 3-pointer came 43.7 seconds after he took an ill-advised 3 that appeared to cost the Spurs the game when Kent Bazemore’s reverse layup gave the Warriors a 127-126 advantage with 3.9 seconds left.
“I went from wanting to trade him on the spot to wanting to cook breakfast for him tomorrow morning,” Popovich said.