The San Antonio Spurs and Golden State Warriors head back to Alamo City for a crucial Game 5 Tuesday night with the Western Conference semifinal series knotted 2-2.
The Warriors tied the series on Sunday evening with a 97-87 overtime victory at a raucous Oracle Arena. Golden State finished regulation on a 10-2 run and tied it with a Klay Thompson runner with under a minute to go.
The Warriors thumped the Spurs in the extra session. They won that 13-3 as San Antonio missed eight consecutive shots over the end of regulation and overtime.
"This is the greatest group of guys I've been around, a bunch of warriors, no pun intended," said Golden State coach Mark Jackson. "We won this game the last 17 minutes by not turning the basketball over. With four minutes to go, they had 82 points. We are a defensive-minded team."
The Warriors truly did overcome a lot to win Game 4.
Steph Curry, the blossoming star, was hobbled with a sprained ankle, but still managed 22 points.
Golden State had 18 turnovers, which led to 18 Spurs points.
But the Warriors clamped down defensively late and were led by a rookie and a bench leader.
Harrison Barnes shot 26 points and attempted a career-high 26 shots. And Jarrett Jack, who finished third in Sixth Man of the Year voting, scored 24 off the bench.
"I'm not surprised by anything," Jackson.
One thing that is somewhat surprising is how poorly the Spurs are shooting the ball. They shot 35.5 percent from the field in Game 4, and other than a 50 percent night in Game 3, San Antonio has been below average.
They are shooting just 42 percent for the series.
"We've never shot this poorly for this many games in a stretch," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said after practice on Monday. "Hopefully, it's an aberration to be that bad in that regard, but you can't count on that. You have to count on your defense, aggressiveness and physicality."
Manu Ginobili led the Spurs on Sunday with 21 points, followed by 19 and 15 rebounds from Tim Duncan. He was named to his record 14th All-Defensive team on Monday, finishing as a second-team forward.
"It's pretty impressive," Popovich said. "It just shows great professionalism."
Tony Parker, Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard also scored in double figures for San Antonio in Game 4.
The Spurs would seem to have an advantage both being at home, where they finished 35-6 during the regular season, and in pedigree. They've won four NBA titles under Popovich, but this Warriors team is relentless.
They snapped a 30-game losing streak in San Antonio, which dated back to Valentine's Day, 1997, in Game 2.
"What we're realizing is, the foundation was laid even last year, in the middle of a 23-win season," Jackson said. "Nobody let go of the rope, when it seemed crazy that this day could really happen.
"And we're not done."
Game 6 will be Thursday night in Oakland.