April 22, 2018 / 10:31 PM / 5 months ago

Spurs hold off Warriors to avoid a sweep

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LaMarcus Aldridge banked in a 3-pointer to stave off a Golden State Warriors rally in the fourth quarter Sunday afternoon, allowing the host San Antonio Spurs to avoid a sweep in their first-round playoff series with a 103-90 victory at the AT&T Center.

Game 5 in the best-of-seven series will take place Tuesday night at Golden State, with the Warriors leading 3-1, one win away from a second-round matchup with the New Orleans Pelicans.

The Spurs never trailed, leading by as many as 10 in the first quarter and 17 in the second while earning their first win in a series after falling behind 3-0 during the Gregg Popovich era in San Antonio.

Ettore Messina coached the Spurs in the season-saving win as Popovich missed his second straight game following the death of his wife Erin.

“In this kind of situation, sometimes, you are already fine with playing a good game,” Messina told reporters. “...our guys did a little bit more, they really tried to win the game.

Aldridge finished with 22 points and 10 rebounds for the Spurs, who improved to 83-31 in home playoff games since 2002.

Manu Ginobili backed Aldridge with 16 points, while Rudy Gay added 14, Dejounte Murray 12 and Kyle Anderson 10 for the Spurs.

Aldridge, Ginobili, Murray and Patty Mills hit three 3-pointers apiece as the Spurs, who had shot 11-for-61 from beyond the arc in Games 2 and 3, made 15 of their 28 3-point attempts (51.9 percent) with their season on the line.

Kevin Durant had 34 points and 13 rebounds, and Draymond Green grabbed a game-high 18 rebounds to complement nine points and nine assists for the Warriors, who had won 19 of their previous 20 playoff games.

The Warriors outrebounded the Spurs 61-34, but shot just 7-for-28 on 3-pointers and 38.2 percent overall after connecting on better than half their shots in each of the first three games.

Klay Thompson added 12 points despite 4-for-16 shooting and Shaun Livingston had 10 points for the Warriors.

“It’s not surprising,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said after his team lost its first playoff game against a Western Conference opponent since Game 4 of the 2016 Conference Finals. “This is a championship team coached by Pop the last 20 years to be the toughest, smartest team on the floor night in and night out regardless the circumstances. Up 3-0, down 3-0 you know what the Spurs are going to do.”

Aldridge’s critical 3-pointer came after the Warriors had rallied within 88-86 on a Durant 3-pointer with 5:57 to play.

After Ginobili hit a pair of free throws to increase the San Antonio lead to four, Aldridge was able to connect on his unconventional 25-footer from straight away despite tight defense from Green for a 93-86 advantage.

The Warriors, who had swept the Spurs in the Western Conference finals last season, were never closer than five the rest of the way.

—Field Level Media

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