There’s still some spark in the career of the most prominent basketball player to come out of Argentina.
Manu Ginobili hit a 3-pointer from the left wing with 1.2 seconds left in the second overtime Monday night to lift the San Antonio Spurs to a 129-127 win over the Golden State Warriors and Stephen Curry, who put up 44 points in the opener of the Western Conference semifinals.
Ginobili's shot and an intense defensive effort in the fourth quarter turned what appeared to be a sure loss by the Spurs into the Warriors' 30th straight defeat in San Antonio dating to Feb. 14, 1997.
"I think we got too predictable," said Curry, who was 18 for 35 from the field, 6 for 14 from 3-point range and also had 11 assists.
"Coach (Mark Jackson) was calling the pick-and-rolls that were working all game, but we just didn't have much movement on the backside. If they know what you're running, they can funnel you where they want you. It's tough to make plays. Obviously, when we made shots it seems like it was working."
Golden State led 92-80 after three quarters but shot just 25 percent (5 for 20) in the fourth.
Ginobili's winner came 43.7 seconds after he'd launched an ill-advised 3-pointer that appeared to cost the Spurs the game.
"I went from wanting to trade him on the spot to wanting to cook breakfast for him tomorrow morning," said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. "That's the truth. When I talk to him and say, 'Manu,' he goes, 'This is what I do.' That's what he's going to tell me. I stopped coaching him a long time ago."
Ginobili's 3-pointer capped an improbable comeback for the Spurs, who trailed by 16 with 4 minutes left in regulation before going on an 18-2 run to close the fourth quarter and force overtime.
Golden State trailed by five with 1 minute to go in the second extra period before the Warriors scored six straight points and took a 127-126 lead with 3.9 seconds remaining on Kent Bazemore's reverse layup — a bucket set up in part by Ginobili's errant long range attempt with 44.9 seconds left.
"I took a really bad shot," Ginobili said. "I was on the top of the key. I had no chance whatsoever to make it to the basket. I couldn't penetrate; I was very tired. (Jarrett) Jack gave me a couple of feet and I thought I could make it."
On the second attempt, Ginobili launched a high-arcing shot off a cross-court inbound pass from Kawhi Leonard.
"On the last play, it wasn't for me; they just left me open," Ginobili said. "I set a screen for (Tony Parker) and they both went with him and left me open on the weak side. When I caught it I just saw Brazemore flying. I just gave it a lot of air and it went in.
"I wasn't even an option. They told me just go screen and stay far from the play. The play was for Tony or Boris. And they got confused."
Golden State had one final chance but Jack's 3-pointer from the top of the key was off.
"We had a heartbreaker in Game 1 of the last series (against Denver)," Curry said. "A last-second layup by Andre Miller. So we've been here before. But we know how to come back. We've been a resilient team all year. To have an opportunity to go 1-1, we still have a chance to do that."
Parker scored 28 points to lead San Antonio, while Danny Green added 22, Leonard 18 and Ginobili 16.
Tim Duncan finished with 19 points and 11 rebounds in 35 minutes. Duncan, who is battling a stomach bug, left the game with 3 minutes left in regulation and only played the final seconds of each overtime.
"He's had the flu," Popovich said. "He's been sick and he gave it a shot. It became pretty apparent there that he wasn't going to tell me the truth anymore, so I had to pull the plug myself."
Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes each had 19 points for Golden State. Jack added 15 and Andrew Bogut had 10 points and 15 rebounds.
The Warriors missed eight of their final nine shots in regulation, including a desperation heave by Curry at the buzzer against several defenders.
"You should (win)," Jackson said. "We're not the first team to lose a game like this and we will not be the last. That doesn't mean we're going to accept it. We're going to get better. Even down the stretch in the process of losing the lead, we did some things that were good. At the end of the day, they made plays and we didn't make enough."
The Spurs slowed Curry early in the fourth quarter, putting the 6-foot-7 Leonard on him. Curry scored only six points in the quarter, helping fuel San Antonio's rally behind Parker and Leonard. Curry had 22 points in the third, including 14 straight late in the period. Curry's run gave Golden State a 90-72 lead with 37.5 seconds left in the quarter.
"We just wanted to keep playing and keep competing," Popovich said. "Try to make stops and try to make some adjustments both personnel wise and defensively to try and get more stops and then stay in attack mode on offense. It worked out. It was anybody's game for sure."
Based on reporting by The Associated Press.