With grieving head coach Gregg Popovich still on leave of absence, the San Antonio Spurs salvaged a bit of pride as they won Game 4, 103-90, to successfully avoid a sweep at the hands of the Golden State Warriors. LaMarcus Aldridge had his third-straight double-double with 18 points and ten rebounds, while Rudy Gay added 14 points and seven boards. Manu Ginobili also prolonged his career for another game with 16 points and five assists off the Spurs' bench.
As for the Warriors, they were just ice cold. Kevin Durant had his usually brilliant line of 34 points and 13 rebounds, but his 3-point stroke remains off, as evidenced by his 4-of-13 shooting from long range. Klay Thompson, who had been shooting over 60 percent in the series, also cooled off significantly as he went a mere 4-of-16. Draymond Green nearly had a triple-double with nine points, nine assists, and 18 rebounds, but he too struggled from the field. The Warriors as a team shot just 38 percent from the field and 25 percent from beyond the arc.
Three keys to the game
Home-court advantage - After failing to take care of business on the road, the Warriors should stand a much better chance of sealing the series back at home. The fact that the Spurs have been completely awful on the road - their last road win came all the way back at the end of February - only strengthens the Warriors’ case.
Warriors’ Big 3 - The Warriors’ three healthy All-Stars - Durant, Thompson, and Draymond Green - went a mere 20-of-58 from the field in Game 4. That’s not likely to happen again at home, especially with great shooters in Durant and Thompson likely to bounce right back.
Spurs 3-point shooting - Game 4 was the best-case scenario for the Spurs. Not only did the Warriors shoot poorly, but the Spurs shot lights out from beyond the arc as they went a sizzling 15-of-28. However, that could prove to be more of the exception than the mean for this Spurs team which has struggled in that area of the game all year long. If their shooting falls off as expected, they could find it difficult to keep up with the Warriors offensively.
Matchup to watch
LaMarcus Aldridge vs Draymond Green - The Spurs need to get a monster game from Aldridge to stand any chance of extending this series. However, Green should be equally motivated to put San Antonio out of their misery in front of the Golden State faithful. While Green has struggled with his shot the entire series, he’s doing just about everything else to see the Warriors through to the next round.
Spurs projected starting lineup
PG - Dejounte Murray | SG - Patty Mills | SF - Danny Green | PF - Rudy Gay | C - LaMarcus Aldridge
Warriors projected starting lineup
PG - Andre Iguodala | SG - Klay Thompson | SF - Kevin Durant | PF - Draymond Green | C - JaVale McGee
Apart from Aldridge, it’s been hard to pinpoint a Spurs player who has consistently delivered from a fantasy perspective in this series. Gay has been the next-best thing as he had a strong line of 14 points, seven rebounds, and two steals. It’ll be tough to trust anyone besides those two putting up big numbers tonight.
As for the Warriors, Thompson should be ready to bounce back following his awful shooting night in Game 4. Meanwhile, Green has been an all-around fantasy performer, averaging 10 points, nine rebounds, eight assists, two steals, and a block during this series.
The Spurs got their win as just about everything they needed to go right did in Game 4. However, the chances of the same happening again in Game 5 are slim. The Warriors won't shoot quite as poorly, and the Spurs' red-hot 3-point shooting is bound to cool off. When it does, they don't figure to have enough weapons offensively to keep in touch with the Warriors, who should cover the 11-point spread at home.
The Warriors breeze into the next round with a comfortable 112-99 win over the Spurs.
This game will be broadcast on TNT. Tip-off is at 10:30 pm Eastern.