Kevin Durant scored 25 points, Draymond Green led a smothering Golden State defense and the Warriors held off the late-charging San Antonio Spurs 99-91 Tuesday night to win Game 5 and advance to the second round of the Western Conference playoffs.
Klay Thompson had another stellar shooting performance with 24 points, and Green contributed all over with 17 points, a career-playoff high 19 rebounds and seven assists. Golden State looked dominant until the fourth quarter even without injured two-time MVP Stephen Curry — and he could be back soon from a left knee injury.
LaMarcus Aldridge converted a three-point play with 1:31 left that pulled the Spurs within 93-89, and then a pair of free throws at 57.2 to make it a two-point game. Green responded with a long jumper at the top of the key then two free throws with 9.1 seconds remaining.
Thompson became the third Warriors player ever to make 600 field goals in the postseason, and Golden State won its 12th straight playoff game at Oracle Arena.
Coach Steve Kerr challenged the Warriors to make “simpler passes” — or “keep hitting singles” as he put it in baseball terms — to avoid silly miscues after a sloppy showing in Sunday’s (Monday, PHL time) 103-90 loss that forced the series back to the Bay Area.
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After Golden State committed 16 turnovers and managed only 19 assists in the defeat, the Warriors were far better taking care of the ball with just 10 turnovers while dishing out 25 assists.
Spurs assistant Ettore Messina coached San Antonio for a third straight playoff game. He had been waiting for Gregg Popovich to reach out on anything basketball-related as the coach mourns the loss of his wife, Erin, last week following a long illness.
“He will forgive me, but whenever we have a chance to talk to him it’s fine. Whenever we don’t have it, because of the obvious reason, it’s still fine,” Messina said. “There are more important things than screens and transition defense for one time even though transition defense is very important, especially for a coach.”