10:30 PM ET, December 19, 2013
ORACLE Arena, Oakland, CA
OAKLAND, Calif. -- With or without their star trio, the San Antonio Spurs play with a championship pedigree.
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Perhaps few victories are sweeter than the "fake forfeit" for the San Antonio Spurs, Ethan Sherwood Strauss writes. Dime
"They did play well in the absence of our players, but it happens a lot in this league when players are hurt and other players want to prove something," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "They want to show the coach they should be getting more minutes and that the coach doesn't know what the heck he's talking about."
The Warriors led by 14 points in the second quarter, then fell behind by nine in the third, but they still were in position to win against San Antonio's second-stringers in the closing moments.
Stephen Curry hit a tying 3-pointer to cap Golden State's comeback. But after two misses by teammates, Splitter was wide open under the rim to tap in the winning score.
Belinelli scored a career-high 28 points against his former team, Leonard had 21 points and 10 rebounds, and Mills added 20 points in one of San Antonio's most impressive wins this season. It also was a season high in points for Leonard and Mills.
"Every guy stepped up," Belinelli said.
Ginobili weighed in on the win via Twitter.
Wow! What a game! So proud of these guys! Great win in a difficult arena against a tough team. Saturday vs OKC now. #GoSpursGo— Manu Ginobili (@manuginobili) December 20, 2013
The Warriors allowed a season-high 31 points off 24 turnovers. San Antonio gave up 19 points on 19 turnovers.
"We can't lose that game. Period," Bogut said.
The Warriors started the final quarter on a 12-4 run, tying the game on Klay Thompson's 3-pointer with 8:37 remaining. Curry gave Golden State the lead moments later with another from long range.
San Antonio was clinging to a 102-99 lead when Curry stepped up once again. Andre Iguodala corralled Curry's missed jumper and handed it back to him at the top of the arc. Curry connected from there for the tying basket with 28.7 seconds left.
In a wild scrum on San Antonio's final possession, Belinelli missed a jumper and then Boris Diaw's tip bounced out. Splitter was unguarded in front of the rim, tipping the ball in for the go-ahead basket.
"It was a loose ball. Me and Boris didn't know who was going to get it. I was lucky to be there at the perfect moment," Splitter said.
Warriors coach Mark Jackson called timeout, but his team got little out of the resulting play. Iguodala inbounded on the side to Curry, who was immediately doubled-teamed. He heaved a one-handed shot that was never close.
"We got out of character when we established our lead," Jackson said. "And we gave them life."
San Antonio showed off its depth and winning system in its first visit to Oracle Arena since eliminating the Warriors in Game 6 of the conference semifinals last season.
After the Warriors went ahead by 14 in the second quarter, Danny Green and Leonard led the Spurs back. The pair powered a 19-4 run that put San Antonio up 39-38 and left most of the announced crowd of 19,596 -- the 50th straight sellout for the Warriors -- stunned and silent.
The Spurs held a 53-51 halftime lead, and they didn't relent after the break. Belinelli scored 17 points in the third quarter to help San Antonio to an 82-74 lead before Golden State nearly rallied in the fourth.
"They're a team that has won championships and knows how to win," Lee said. "Regardless of who's on the floor, they have a proven system."
NOTES: It was the first time in NBA history that three Australians started in the same game: Bogut for the Warriors, and Mills and Aron Baynes for San Antonio. ... San Antonio was 1-2 last season when Duncan, Ginobili and Parker all didn't play, including a 116-106 loss at Golden State on April 15. ... San Antonio makes its only other visit to Golden State on March 22.
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MVP: Marco Belinelli. Patty Mills and Kawhi Leonard took turns leading the offense, but Belinelli was the one San Antonio leaned on for scoring in the second half, finishing the win with 28 points on 10-for-16 shooting. Marco made just enough plays on defense, as well, to help the Spurs preserve the lead.
X factor: Turnovers. This was a skeleton crew for San Antonio on Thursday night, so it's inexcusable for Golden State to cough up possession 24 times. Those giveaways led to an offensively starved Spurs rotation getting 31 points off of turnovers.
Defining moment: With the Spurs nursing a one-point lead with under two minutes left, Stephen Curry drove for a layup after a Belinelli turnover. But Boris Diaw -- of all people --got the chase-down block. Two plays later, Diaw got a big dunk to put San Antonio up three with 47 seconds left.
Next 5 Games
The Spurs used to really struggle without Duncan, Parker and Ginobili in the lineup. In the first 7 games where they've all been out, San Antonio was 0-7 and had been losing by an average of 15 points per game. But in their past 6 without them, they've gone 4-2 thanks to a pretty deep roster.[+]
Spurs Without Duncan, Ginobili & Parker
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