Warriors 97, Spurs 87 (OT)

Dave Del Grande, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

OAKLAND, Calif. - Jarrett Jack's driving jumper on the first possession of overtime gave Golden State a lead it never relinquished and the San Antonio Spurs missed nine of their 10 shots in the extra session as the Warriors evened the best-of-seven, Western Conference semifinal series with a 97-87 victory Sunday afternoon.
The series, now 2-2, returns to San Antonio for Game 5 on Tuesday, with a Game 6 set for Thursday in Oakland.
After the Warriors had scored eight of the final 10 points of regulation to force overtime, Jack's hoop got Golden State rolling in overtime.
The Warriors didn't get their next hoop until more than two minutes later, but two free throws by Harrison Barnes increased the lead to four and the Spurs began shooting themselves out of the game, missing six consecutive shots and two free throws.
An elbow jumper by Barnes, the game's leading scorer with 26 points, made it a six-point game at the 2:12 mark. And when Stephen Curry, who toughed out 39 minutes on a sprained left ankle, penetrated the San Antonio defense for a three-point play, suddenly it was a 93-84 game with just 1:46 remaining in overtime.
A Danny Green 3-pointer with 1:29 left finally got the Spurs on the scoreboard in the overtime, but that was the team's last points.
Meanwhile, Carl Landry hit a jumper and Jack added two clinching free throws, getting the Warriors a split in their two home games after the teams had a win apiece - including a Spurs triumph in overtime - in San Antonio.
Jack backed Barnes with 24 points and Curry finished with 22, hitting five of his 10 3-point attempts. Andrew Bogut, in foul trouble most of the game, contributed 18 rebounds to the win.
Manu Ginobili had five 3s in a 21-point effort to lead the Spurs. Tim Duncan posted 19 points and 15 rebounds, and Tony Parker added 17 points.
The overtime drought was just an extension of the end of regulation play for the Spurs, who scored only two points in the final 3:44 of the fourth quarter. At the same time, the Warriors closed with an 8-2 run to erase an 82-76 deficit and force overtime.
Jack's 16-footer with 58.5 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter got the Warriors even at 82-all. But Parker countered with a 15-footer of his own, pushing the Spurs back on top by two with 39.2 seconds left.
Klay Thompson tied the game again with a driving banker with 30.0 seconds left, after which neither team scored on its final possession, Ginobili misfiring on an open 3 with 16.1 seconds remaining before Jack's 19-footer just before the buzzer clanked off the rim.
The Spurs' biggest lead of the final period was a product of a 6-0 run to open the quarter. Kawhi Leonard had two interior hoops as San Antonio went up eight, 68-60.
But the Warriors scrapped back, using a three-point play and two other hoops from Barnes and a 3 by Curry with 7:35 left to get within 72-70.
The Warriors had a chance to take the lead on their next possession, but Curry missed a straight-away 3, and the best the Warriors could do before overtime was forge the two late ties.
Even though Curry appeared to be moving at half-speed, he didn't need much movement to trigger a third-quarter comeback.
After trailing by as many as 11 in the first half, the Warriors still found themselves down 47-41 early in the third quarter before Curry caught fire.
He took advantage of momentary openings to nail consecutive 3s, sandwiching a Green 3-pointer, getting the Warriors twice within three.
The Warriors had their first lead since the first quarter, 52-51, moments later, setting up a tight fight to the finish.
Things could not have gone better for the Warriors for the first 3:01 of the game. Not only was Curry healthy enough to start, he came out hot, burying 3-pointers from each side during a game-opening, 11-6 run.
Thompson also hit his first two shots in that spurt. But neither he nor Curry connected again in the half, and the Warriors made only eight more field goals before halftime, falling behind 45-37.
The Spurs weren't much better offensively, but at least they had one hot shooter - Ginobili. He missed 19 of his 23 3-point attempts in the first three games, but he nailed four of six in the first half of Game 4. His 14 points off the bench matched Duncan for game-high honors at that point.
NOTES: Before the game, both coaches discussed the psychological impact of the Spurs taking a 2-1 lead in the series Friday night. ... Spurs coach Gregg Popovich made sure he reminded his guys Saturday: The last time they beat the Warriors, they laid an egg two days later. "We spend more time talking about how to handle wins than handling losses," he insisted. "When a team wins, there's always that level of satisfaction that you have to try and take away. Without hurting confidence, you have to try and get the message across that nothing has been accomplished yet. We won Game 1 and went down by 20 in Game 2, so we didn't handle that win very well. We're hoping that we'll handle our win in Game 3 a little better." ... Warriors coach Mark Jackson's message to his team? Don't believe what you hear. "It's funny to me," he said. "I told the guys (Saturday): 'You go from being the greatest ever, off the charts and pencil us in to we're not good, guys are erratic and guys are young.' That's playoff basketball. You go from wanting to watch every single sports show and reading all the articles to shutting the TV off, not buying the papers and no Internet. The great ones don't pay attention to it." ... Asked if he thought fatigue played a role in Curry spraining his ankle late in Game 2, Jackson noted, "I didn't see Ali or Frazier do that in the 15th round." ... Upon further review, the losing team had remarkably similar stats in Games 2 and 3. Both teams shot 35-for-89, made 16 free throws and totaled 48 rebounds. The Spurs made one more 3-pointer in Game 3 (six) than the Warriors in Game 2 (five), which accounted for the one-point different in their point totals (Spurs 92, Warriors 91). Both losing teams were on their home court, and there was just a one-point difference in margin of defeat: the Spurs losing 100-91 in Game 2, the Warriors falling 102-92 in Game 3.

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