Buzzing on Yahoo Sports:

Warriors surge past Spurs' "B" team

The SportsXchange

OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Golden State Warriors were able to out-finish a band of San Antonio Spurs second- and third-stringers Monday night.

That might not mean anything if they were to line up against San Antonio's big guns in the playoffs next week, but the Warriors would just as soon not find out.

Stephen Curry buried three 3-pointers in a 19-0 fourth-quarter flurry, and the Warriors took a big step toward avoiding the Spurs in the first round of the playoffs with a hard-fought, 116-106 victory at Oracle Arena.

The win by the Warriors (46-35), coupled with a loss by the Houston Rockets (45-36) at Phoenix, moved Golden State into the sixth position in the Western Conference playoff race with one game remaining.

The Warriors wrap up the regular season Wednesday at Portland, while the Rockets visit the Los Angeles Lakers. Either a Golden State win or a Houston loss would wrap up the No. 6 spot for the Warriors and a first-round matchup with the Denver Nuggets or the Los Angeles Clippers.

"We control our situation again, which is a good feeling going up to Portland," said Curry, whose 35 points included seven 3-pointers, moving him within one of Ray Allen's NBA single-season record of 269. "We have to win. We have to seal up that 6-spot on Wednesday."

The Spurs (58-23) knew before tipoff that the Oklahoma City Thunder (60-21) had beaten the Sacramento Kings and thus clinched the top seed in the West. The Spurs, who have one remaining game in the regular season, have locked up the No. 2 seed.

A Warriors-Spurs matchup in the first round remains a possibility, but it would require a Warriors loss Wednesday coupled with a Rockets win. San Antonio will open the playoffs against either the Warriors or Rockets, holding the home-court advantage.

"(Curry) did a magnificent job. It's actually fun to watch," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich graciously admitted in defeat. "Everybody hates losing, but I enjoyed the heck out of watching a talented kid perform the way he did. And he does it with class."

If Golden State and San Antonio do match up in the postseason, the Warriors would see a completely different cast of Spurs. Regulars Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, Kawhi Leonard and Boris Diaw all sat out Monday's game, with only Ginobili (strained right hamstring) and Diaw (back procedure) held out for health reasons.

The Warriors were without Andrew Bogut for a second consecutive game after he tweaked his surgically repaired left ankle Friday against Oklahoma City. The big man is expected to be ready for the playoff opener.

Even without their top players, the Spurs led for much of the first half and remained within 88-87 after a Nando De Colo 3-pointer with 9:29 remaining in the game.

However, Curry countered with a reverse layup, triggering the game-deciding run.

"He's been able to perform night in and night out, which is something we haven't had in past years," Warriors forward David Lee said. "It's amazing to watch this. I'm just excited going into the playoffs that we're going to experience our first playoffs together, and he's a huge reason for us being there."

Curry's biggest contribution to Monday's win came in the latter stages of the four-minute spurt, beginning with a fadeaway 3-pointer from the right corner that prompted a Spurs timeout with Golden State ahead 99-87.

Curry hit another 3 after the timeout, and after Klay Thompson dropped in a jumper, Curry swished his seventh 3 of the game for a 107-87 margin with 4:58 to go.

"I don't know who has second place for best shooter in the world," Warriors coach Mark Jackson said of Curry, "but he has first place tied up."

The Spurs missed nine consecutive shots in the game-losing drought, with none of the shots taken by one of the club's top eight scorers entering the game.

Curry finished with at least 35 points and seven or more 3-pointers for the fifth time this season, becoming the first player in NBA history to accomplish that feat. The Warriors went 9-for-20 from beyond the arc, including seven of 11 in the second half.

Thompson hit 10 of his 17 shots en route to 23 points to back Curry. Carl Landry (16), David Lee (12) and Harrison Barnes (11) also scored in double figures for the Warriors, who split the season series with the Spurs 2-2. Jarrett Jack dished out a career-best 12 assists.

Backup Gary Neal, making 10 of his 15 shots, led the Spurs with 25 points. Fellow reserve Patty Mills added a season-best 23 as the San Antonio bench outscored its Golden State counterparts 61-27.

DeJuan Blair added 14 points, Matt Bonner 13 and Cory Joseph 10 for the Spurs.

"Patty had a great game," Popovich said of Mills, a former standout at Saint Mary's College, which is located in the Oakland suburb of Moraga. "It's good for him to come home and have all his fans. I think he had about 37 people here, so it's good to have him have a game."

NOTES: Curry's seventh 3-pointer pushed him past Dennis Scott (267) and into second place on the NBA's single-season list. ... The Spurs had beaten the Warriors in every season series since 2007-08. ... The Warriors hadn't recorded a double-figure win over the Spurs since Dec. 11, 2007. ... Oracle Arena observed a moment of silence during the player introductions in response to the bomb-related deaths Monday at the Boston Marathon. Before the game, the Warriors' Jackson said, "I want to send thoughts and prayers to the people of Boston during this tragedy. Certainly praying for those folks." ... Duncan, Parker and Leonard attended the game. Ginobili and Diaw did not make the two-game trip, which tipped off Sunday in Los Angeles with a loss to the Lakers. ... The Warriors ended the regular season with 32 consecutive sellouts to record the second-largest average attendance in franchise history, 19,374. The record of 19,631 was established in 2007-08, the season after the club's previous playoff appearance.
Sign up for Yahoo Fantasy Basketball
View Comments (15)