The San Antonio Spurs were able to stave off elimination and avoid a sweep at the hands of the Golden State Warriors, winning game 4 by a score of 103-90.
Gregg Popovich was absent from the sideline still recovering from the death of his wife Erin. Ettore Messina remained in the head coach role he assumed in game 3.
There was an added sadness to the atmosphere of this game, albeit of an obviously less serious nature. The possibility loomed that it could have been Manu Ginobili’s final game in the NBA after an illustrious career spent entirely with the San Antonio franchise.
The Warriors went with the same starting lineup they had in their first three games of Andre Iguodala, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, and JaVale McGee.
The Spurs went with the starting lineup of Patty Mills, Dejounte Murray, Danny Green, Rudy Gay, and LaMarcus Aldridge for the third straight game.
Turnover issues reared their ugly head early on for Warriors, as the Spurs scored their first 10 points off Warriors turnovers.
The first quarter ended with the Spurs ahead 30-22. Durant was the only Warriors player who scored more than 2 points in the opening quarter. The Warriors as a team shot just 38% from the field and a paltry 25% from 3-point range in the first quarter.
The turnover split between the two teams early on was indicative of why the Spurs were in control of the game. The Warriors committed 6 turnovers in the first quarter, while the Spurs did not have any turnovers.
The Spurs spent the second quarter pulling away and truly playing as though their season depended on this one game. Halftime arrived with the Spurs ahead of the Warriors 56-42.
Durant was the game leader with 12 points at the half. Green was tenaciously cleaning up the boards for the Warriors. He grabbed 13 rebounds in the first half and also dished out 6 assists.
The Spurs had three players in double digits at halftime. Murray lead the way with 11 points, while Aldridge and Gay each had 10 points.
The Warriors continued to shoot poorly from the field. They shot 34% on field goals and 31% on 3-point field goals in the first half.
The Spurs were in the midst of their best shooting performance of the series. They shot 45% from the field in the first half and 47% from downtown.
Turnovers were continuing to derail the Warriors as well. By halftime, the Warriors had committed 10 turnovers, while the Spurs only had 1.
The Warriors refused to go away quietly, however. They began the third quarter on a 10-4 run to cut into the Spurs lead.
The third quarter ended with the Spurs lead dwindling to 77-71. The Spurs were shooting the lights out for the first time this series. They were 11-22 from downtown through three quarters.
The Warriors were shooting just 41% from the field and 33% from 3-point range entering the fourth quarter but were hanging around thanks in part to dominant rebounding.
They out-rebounded the Spurs 50-23 through the first three quarters, including a 19-7 advantage on offensive rebounds.
The Warriors continued to chip away at the lead into the fourth quarter. They got to within 2 points of the Spurs about halfway through the quarter. The game tightened up, but the Spurs were resilient enough to be able to hang on to the victory and fight off elimination.
Durant led the game with 34 points and added an impressive 13 rebounds. Green came just a point and assist away from a triple-double, finishing with 9 points, 18 rebounds, and 9 assists.
Aldridge led the Spurs with 22 points and 10 points. The Spurs had an effective shooting game for the first time this series.
The Spurs shot 46% from the field and 54% from 3-point range. Conversely, the Warriors shot just 38% from the field and only 25% from downtown.
On the verge of elimination, the Spurs stepped up and hit the shots they needed to hit to keep their season alive. The series will now return to Oakland for game 5.