San Francisco – The Warriors haven’t had the best streak lately, but they managed to stay alive in the NBA In-Season Tournament. After their thrilling win over the San Antonio Spurs 118-112, Golden State avoided elimination to continue on in Group C. The tournament will be played in Las Vegas the first week of December.
“You feel the energy of an In-Season Tournament game because of what it means,” said Stephen Curry. “It feels like a playoff-type game. We know that we have to win to stay in it.”
“We’re trying to advance, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said. “We talked about it in the timeout, five minutes left I think we’re up 12 and I reminded them let’s keep our foot on the gas.”
Tonight, marked Golden State’s (2-1) third In-Season Tournament game. They rank third in Group C behind Sacramento (3-0) and Minnesota (2-1). The Warriors have won two consecutive home games for the first time this season so they’re off to a good start heading into Sacramento for the final group play game of the inaugural In-Season Tournament on Tuesday, November 28 (7 p.m. PT).
The Warriors didn’t get off to a great start but slowly foul their rhythm by the second period.
Golden State’s reserves were outscored by the Spurs bench (49-43) for just the second time this season. San Antonio dropped threes from all over the court making it tough for the Warriors in the first half. However, Golden State were able to control their fouls despite committing a season-high 24 turnovers.
“Yeah 24 turnovers, wow I didn’t expect we were going to have that big number, which is like way above what we should have,”said Dario Saric’. I think that’s kind of the problem sometimes, some games we are okay, some games we are turning over too much. Twenty-four obviously is too much but we find a way to get a win.”
The fourth quarter it all came together, the Warriors played better defense held the Spurs to an opponent-season low 25.5% from 3-point range. Curry made a season-high-tying seven threes. Tonight marked his 200th career game with seven-or-more threes, the most in NBA history (James Harden is second with 97-such games). Chris Paul dished out a game-high 10 assists.
Gary Payton II who missed the last three games to his left foot injury. Returned to the lineup with an explosive play on Victor Wembanyama. During the second period, Wembanyama went behind his back before leaping to the basket. Payton came rushing from behind to swat the ball away before Wembanyama took flight. That sent the sellout crowd to their feet! Payton is one of five people who has successfully blocked a shot by Wembanyama but sits the smaller in that group.
“I was just trying to get back and help protect the rim,”Payton said. “I think it was 30 (Stephen Curry) that made him re-adjust in the air and I knew that he wasn’t passing the ball, so I just tried to meet him at the top before he got there. After that it kind of turned up the defensive intensity. It got us getting stops and got out running and doing what we had to do in the offensive end.”
“One of the benefits of playing him is he knows how to play with Steph (Curry),” said Kerr on Payton. “It’s not just his defense, which is excellent, but when he’s on the floor with Steph that’s where some of the off-ball stuff just happens because Gary recognizes it as well as anybody.
He’ll set a screen and dive, and Steph will hit him in the pocket and like he did for the one when he got the layup. So, there’s definitely a lot of value in playing Gary with Steph and we’re trying to do that more.”
“It was a way to re-introduce himself after his absence,” Curry said on Payton. “He obviously has a knack for athleticism but that was fresh off my turnover and I appreciated that because I didn’t want to get the ball out of the basket after I just gave it away. I appreciated it.”
Tonight marked the fifth, and final game of Draymond Green’s league suspension. The Warriors went 2-3 over that five-game span. Green will return for the next road trip to Sacramento this upcoming Tuesday.
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