Done deal: Warriors eliminated by Spurs 94-82
Published: Thursday, May 16, 2013 at 3:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, May 17, 2013 at 8:56 a.m.
OAKLAND — Youth and flair took the Warriors to the second round of the NBA playoffs. Poise and experience made sure they didn't go any further.
The San Antonio Spurs, playing in the postseason for the 16th consecutive year, beat back every run the Warriors made Thursday night at Oracle Arena, eventually pulling away for a 94-82 victory in Game 6 of this semifinal series.
The Spurs advance to face the Memphis Grizzlies in the Western Conference finals. The Warriors must wait six months to resume their development. Certainly, they proved themselves to be one of the NBA's up-and-coming teams, coming back from 13 points down to put another scare in the Spurs.
“Sometimes one of the best statements that you can make is fighting,” Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. “I talked about this being a group that at the end of the day, our tank will be on empty and the light will be beaming bright. I truly believe that's exactly what took place. Guys battled. Guys gave me everything they had.”
But a team that made the playoffs and knocked off the Denver Nuggets in the first round largely on the strength of spot-on shooting proved to be too inconsistent against the Spurs. Those shots abandoned the Warriors in Game 6. They hit just 38.8 percent from the field (33 of 85), 25 percent from 3-point range (4 of 16) and 63.2 percent from the free-throw line (12 of 19).
“They did a good job of corralling our pick-and-rolls, daring our big guys to make plays,” Jackson said. “They was trying to be disruptive, with Steph (Curry) especially. At the end of the day, we got some great looks. Didn't knock 'em down.”
That wasn't good enough to get past the Spurs, who got 19 points from Tim Duncan, 16 points and 10 rebounds from Kawhi Leonard, and a surprising 14 points from light-scoring center Tiago Splitter.
Those numbers helped make up for a night of dreadful shooting by Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, the reliable old guards who have been there for much of San Antonio's lengthy playoff streak. Parker hit 3 of 16 shots, Ginobili just 1 of 6.
The two did combine for 19 assists, though — 11 by Ginobili — and Parker hit two huge 3-pointers when they counted most, one with 3:16 left after the Warriors had cut the score to 77-75, and another with 1:15 left that made it 88-79.
Golden State never got closer than seven points after that.
Jackson threw in the towel with 37 seconds left, pulling Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Jarrett Jack from the game to warm applause.
Curry has been Mr. Third Quarter for the Warriors throughout this postseason, but he got things boiling a little earlier on Thursday. He went extra-high off the glass on a drive past Parker to make it 33-25 in the second quarter, and turned it up a notch a few minutes later, smacking a leaning 3-pointer over Ginobili and then splitting the defense for a layup to make it 39-36.
Curry closed out the first half by driving past Green for a layup with three seconds left, making the halftime score 47-40 in favor of the Spurs.
With Curry and Bogut nursing injuries in the lower extremities, the one thing the Warriors couldn't afford was another injury. But that's exactly what they got late in the first half when Harrison Barnes collided with San Antonio's Boris Diaw and landed face-first. Barnes remained on the floor for nearly five minutes and left with a cut above his right eye; he wound up getting six stitches, but returned to start the second half.
Barnes eventually went to the bench with a headache. “I just saw it in his eyes,” Jackson said. “It's not worth it. He's had an incredible run.”
A Warriors spokesman noted that he had gone through a full concussion test before getting back on the court.
Earlier in the quarter, Bogut had repaired to the locker room to get his left ankle retaped. He was replaced by Andris Biedrins, who had trouble guarding Splitter. Bogut didn't play at all in the fourth quarter.
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