Curry-less Warriors whiff chance to close out Spurs

Series heads back to Oakland on Tuesday night after 103-90 Game 4 loss

Bonta Hill
April 22, 2018 - 4:47 pm

Maybe the Golden State Warriors spent too much time sightseeing in South Texas, or they assumed the San Antonio Spurs would lay down in Game 4 and want to avoid a flight back to the Bay Area.

But the Spurs mustered up enough pride to force that flight (and a Game 5), hitting a back-breaking 15 3-pointers in a 103-90 win Sunday afternoon.

Down 3-1 in this best-of-seven first-round series, who knows if Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich will return to the sidelines, who is understandably away from the team after his wife over four decades, Erin Popovich, passed away Wednesday morning.

However, as the Spurs will attempt to overcome long odds and become the first team in NBA history to rally from a 3-0 deficit, the Warriors must be seething at the missed opportunity to close them out.

The Warriors lost by 13 despite out rebounding the Spurs 61-34 (24-7 advantage on the offensive glass). They missed countless open looks and couldn’t overcome Klay Thompson’s worst shooting performance (4-of-16, 12 points) of the 2018 postseason.

They also can shake their head at the tough shots LaMarcus Aldridge made, as well as the 40-year-old Manu Ginobili turning back the clock and scoring 10 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter.

Green kept the Warriors in it with his all-out hustle and intensity while stuffing the statsheet with 9 points, 18 rebounds, and 9 assists, but twice Aldridge hit two ridiculous soul-crushing buckets over the outstretched arms of the reigning defensive player of the year.

Here’s his desperation heave off the glass that gave the Spurs a 93-86 lead with 4:21 left.

Aldridge, who finished with 22 points and 10 rebounds, followed up that three-point prayer with this dagger with 1:52 left in regulation and gave the Spurs a commanding 98-90 lead.

Another game means another grueling 48 minutes for this Warriors team trying to hold down the fort without Stephen Curry. Without the deadliest shooter in the history of the NBA, there’s going to be days where the Warriors struggle and look befuddled offensively.

Kevin Durant went into iso-mode offensively, needing 28 shot attempts to score 34, but he isn’t worried about this loss having any lingering effects on the Warriors going forward. Nor is Green concerned about Thompson’s offensive struggles in the matinee.

In the words of Durant, it was just another “L.”

With no timetable on Curry’s return, it’s tough trying not to think of a potential second-round matchup with the New Orleans Pelicans, who are currently on a nine-game winning streak.

But for at least another two nights, the game-planning for Anthony Davis and company will have to wait. The Warriors unfortunately still have unfinished business with the Spurs.

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