SAN ANTONIO — The San Antonio Spurs (19-58) were banged up and on a five-game skid when the landed in Golden State, but they led the defending champs heading to the fourth quarter.
As close as it was for 36 minutes, the Warriors figured it out in the end and won 130-115. The Spurs play next in Sacramento Sunday night, and they only have five games left this season.
San Antonio got out to a strong start by attacking the basket off of screens and cuts. The ball was humming around and layups abounded as the Warriors went the entire opening quarter without a triple. The Spurs built a nine-point lead, but Golden State found their way inside the arc to go on a run and tie things up. The Spurs led 26-23 after one.
Malaki Branham broke out, scoring 14 points in his first 11 minutes on the floor. He knocked down two of his team's three made triples in the early going, and he showed an advanced ability to create off the bounce and get to his spots in the paint.
Gorgui Dieng made a pair of threes in the first half, and Sandro Mamukelashvili was all over the glass with 8 points and 8 boards.
The Spurs were holding onto a lead before Jordan Poole hit a three, then an and-1, then another three. The Dubs led 54-51 at the break.
Golden State went on an extended run to start the second half, building a lead up to 11 points. Keldon Johnson made a pair of threes in a row, then Julian Champagnie did the same thing. Steve Kerr called time with his team up two.
Tre Jones hit the jets and blew past the defense to tie it, and Dieng drilled his third three of the game to put San Antonio in front. Keldon scored inside, then Devonte' Graham came around a screen and pulled from deep.
San Antonio led 88-87 heading to the fourth, but the start of the final period was the beginning of the end. Golden State ripped off an 11-2 run in the blink of an eye to take command of the game.
Branham refused to quit and drained one from deep. Steph Curry got hot and the Dubs pushed ahead by nine. Keita Bates-Diop knocked down another three, but Golden State responded with two of them.
The Splash Bros did their thing late and pushed the Warriors up by 18. Dieng hit one more three for good measure, and San Antonio fell 130-115. Keldon Johnson led the Spurs with 22, and Branham finished with 19. Dieng and Mamukelashvili combined for 27 points and 20 boards. Curry, Thompson and Poole combined for 90 points for Golden State.
The Rockets beat the Pistons Friday night for their 19th win of the year, pulling them even with the Spurs with just a few games left to determine draft lottery position.
The Spurs are coming off a 128-117 home loss to the Jazz. It was the team's final game in San Antonio for the 2022-23 season.
Keita Bates-Diop had 15 points and three rebounds while Sandro Mamukelashvili added 17 points. Malaki Branham finished with 21 points and two rebounds while Tre Jones had 17 points and six assists in the loss.
San Antonio was without Devin Vassell, Jeremy Sochan, and Keldon Johnson due to injuries.
"As long as they're giving effort, they're all learning, making mistakes but overall that's what we're trying to do. No matter who is out, no matter who is not playing, other guys are happy to get minutes. Trying to get them to learn how to play, this is what it's all about," Gregg Popovich said.
The Spurs will be in their Association Edition jerseys today.
LOCKED ON SPURS PREVIEWS SPURS VS. WARRIORS
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH
1. The San Antonio Spurs have lost three-straight games to the Golden State Warriors.
2. The San Antonio Spurs have been out-rebounded by opponents in three-straight games.
3. The Spurs are on a five-game road losing streak.
4. The Warriors are 18-3 at home when leading after the first period.
5. The Warriors are 4-1 in their last five games.
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