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Spurs respond on the road with win

The SportsXchange

OAKLAND, Calif. -- When the Big Two became the Big Three again, the San Antonio Spurs re-established themselves as a Western Conference power on Friday night.

Tony Parker and Tim Duncan helped San Antonio build an early lead and Manu Ginobili, a nonfactor in the first 2 1/2 games of the series, saved all 12 of his points for when the Spurs needed them most, helping the West's second seed go up 2-1 in the best-of-seven playoff series with a 102-92 road victory over the Golden State Warriors.

Danny Green and Parker hit consecutive 3-pointers to stop a Golden State run and Ginobili capped a big second half with a layup with 1:57 to go as the Spurs, leading most of the way, bounced back from a Game 2 loss at home to regain the upper hand in the Western Conference semifinals.

Game 4 of the series will be played Sunday afternoon (3:30 p.m. EDT) in Oakland, with the series returning to San Antonio for Game 5 on Tuesday.

"It's a huge win. It was a must-win for us," said Parker, who had been the second-best point guard in the series to the Warriors' Stephen Curry for the first two games. "By far our best game of the series. Hopefully, we can do it again."

The Warriors might have lost more than just a game. The oft-injured Curry sprained his left ankle trying to make an offensive move with about five minutes remaining and didn't score again, relegated mostly to spotting up in the corner.

A decision on his availability for Game 4, and perhaps the rest of the series, will be made Saturday or leading into Sunday's start.

"He'll get treatment. We'll see how that responds. Hopefully, he'll be ready to go," Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. "If not, we've got guys more than capable of going out and getting us a win."

After the Warriors had scored the first nine points of the fourth quarter to cut a 79-69 deficit to one, Green, who played brilliant defense on Curry most of the night, got free for his first points of the game, a left-angle 3-pointer that re-established the Spurs' four-point Spurs advantage.

The Warriors missed twice at the other end, including a 3-pointer by Curry, and Parker made it 85-78 with a 3-pointer off a screen from Duncan.

Parker finished with 32 points, 25 coming in the first half as the Spurs effectively quieted the rowdy Warriors crowd.

"He's a guy with great pride," Jackson said. "He came back and had a huge game."

Golden State eventually rallied within 93-88 on a jumper by Harrison Barnes with 2:48 to go, but with a chance to get within two 32 seconds later, Jarrett Jack misfired on a 3-pointer.

Ginobili, who had eight points in a key Spurs run in the third quarter, then applied the crushing blow, getting inside Klay Thompson for a layup with 1:57 left that made it a seven-point game and allowed the Spurs to coast home.

Two teammates joined Parker and Ginobili in double figures. Duncan had 23 points and 10 rebounds, and Kawhi Leonard chipped in 15 points for San Antonio, which shot 50.6 percent from the field after struggling through much of the first two games.

"We just had more guys play well," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "We hadn't had a lot of guys play well so far, but tonight we had four, five, six guys that played pretty darn well."

That was as true defensively as offensively. The Spurs effectively shut down the Warriors' long-range tandem of Thompson and Curry, which had averaged 59.5 points as Golden State went to San Antonio and got a surprising split, almost sweeping the two games.

Thompson led the Warriors with 17 points but was limited to five 3-point attempts, making three. He hit just seven of his 20 shots from the field overall.

Curry went just 5 of 17, including 3 of 9 from 3-point range, as Golden State missed 13 of its 19 3s and shot just 39.3 percent overall.

"We made shots and they didn't have as good a night shooting the ball," Popovich said. "Sometimes it's as simple as that. There's other factors -- you think about turnovers, blah, blah, blah ... We shot it and they didn't."

Carl Landry had 14 points, Barnes 12, Andrew Bogut 11 to go with 12 rebounds, and Jack 11 for the Warriors.

"This series is far from over," Jackson said. "This is going to be a heavyweight championship fight."

Down by nine to start the third quarter, the Warriors rallied into a 65-65 tie near the midpoint of the quarter period on a Curry 3-pointer.

But the Spurs, who never trailed after the 2:12 mark of the first quarter, immediately countered with an 11-point flurry with Giniboli, previously scoreless, providing eight of the points. It was 79-69 at the end of the quarter.

Then just as quickly, the pendulum swung back in Golden State's direction. The Warriors forced three consecutive San Antonio turnovers while scoring the first nine points of the fourth quarter, four by Draymond Green, to get within 79-78 with 10:06 to go.

That's when Danny Green and Parker nailed their game-saving 3-pointers.

"It's kind of disheartening sometimes when you feel you play as good a defense as you can and they're still hitting shots," Thompson said. "That's basketball. Those guys, they got champions on their team."

NOTES: Parker has scored 30 or more points in a playoff game 14 times in his career. The Spurs are 12-2 in those games. ... Duncan's double-double was his 141st in playoff action. ... The Spurs had never previously won an NBA playoff game in Oakland. ... Power forward David Lee gave the Warriors a lift with a three-minute appearance in the second quarter. He turned an offensive rebound into a three-point play 16 seconds after taking the court. He added a second basket and second rebound later in the stint, but didn't return to action in the second half. ... The coaches played a little cat-and-mouse with their starting lineups before the game. Jackson said he wouldn't announce his starters until after Popovich announced his. When Popovich disclosed Tiago Splitter would be making his first start of the series, Jackson countered with Festus Ezeli.
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