SAN FRANCISCO – The biggest rebound of the night was by Keldon Johnson with seconds remaining on the clock. Johnson snatched the ball off a missed foul shot and scored with two seconds remaining to give the Spurs a 110-108 win over the Golden State Warriors.
“Two of our guys had it (the ball); then kind of bumped into each other and it fell right in their hands, and they were able to get up a shot right at the end,” Otto Porter explained. “It’s an unfortunate bounce that went their way.”
The Warriors had many opportunities to win, they kept rebounding from deficits all game and took the lead 108-107 with three seconds left in the fourth. Wiggins made his first of two free throws, then things spiraled; on the ensuing missed foul shot from Wiggins.
Warriors center Kevon Looney was called for a foul after he went for the rebound. That sent Spurs center Jakob Poeltl to the line with two seconds on the clock. That’s when Johnson got the final rebound and bucket of the game. He finished with 14 points and 7 rebounds.
“We knew it was going to come down to rebounds, boxing out,” said Porter. “I’m going to try and get in there with the bigs, as much as possible.”
Golden State kept edging back all game, digging themselves out of a 14-point first quarter deficit. The Warriors bench, Porter and Nemanja Bjelica gave them a spark in the second period and cut the lead to 6 at the break, which kept them in the game.
“Otto was great. He is one of the smartest players I’ve been around,” Coach Steve Kerr said. “I thought Otto was brilliant tonight. Unfortunately it didn’t lead to a win, but he played a fantastic game.”
Porter finished with a career-high 16 rebounds, including 8 offensive, to go with 16 points in 29 minutes. Jordan Poole had a game-high 26 points, to go with 5 rebounds and 3 assists. Klay Thompson contributed 24 points hitting 6-of-12 from three.
“Jordan made a ton of plays down the stretch that could have been the difference. Unfortunately we just couldn’t close it out,” said Kerr. “Jordan was great, and I think Klay responded pretty well too.”
As a team, Golden State shot better from the field (45%) then the Spurs (38%). The Warriors also out rebounded San Antonio 57-44, so they had their chances to grab the win but the ball just didn’t bounce their way.
Spurs guard Josh Richardson was icy hot, he kept hitting dagger shots to quell Golden State’s comeback attempts. Richardson, who just came over from the Boston Celtics finished with a team-high 25 points on 66-percent shooting, including 3-of-5 from behind the arc.
With 6:28 remaining in the game Richardson hit a huge three to give San Antonio a 101-92 lead. However over the next 3-and-a-half minutes the Warriors went on a 9-0 run capped by Wiggins’ floating bank shot that tied the game 101-101 with 2:49 left. It was a back and forth battle down the stretch, with missed free throws and missed rebounds making the final separation.
In the third quarter Draymond Green who had the sparks flying, which generated his second technical foul and got him ejected from the game, to his disgust. This was another blow tonight for the Warriors, since they are already playing short handed without Stephen Curry whose out indefinitely with a sprained left foot.
“Draymond knows how to walk that line, once he gets that first one (technical foul), he understands what it takes to (not) get a second one,” Kerr explained. “He can’t get kicked out of that game. He knows that. We are short handed already.”
With 11 games left in the regular season Golden State is trying to get everyone healthy for the playoff push. Next they are heading on a 5 game road trip starting in Orlando then on to Miami, to face the top team in the East.
“We haven’t really played healthy all year. One person goes down, everyone else has to step up,” Porter acknowledged. “We just got to find ways to win games.”
Photo by Brenden Anderson