The San Antonio Spurs will try to punch their ticket to the Western Conference Finals Thursday night when they meet the Golden State Warriors in Game 6 of the semifinals at Oracle Arena.
The Spurs took the 3-2 series lead Tuesday night in Alamo City with a 109-91 victory. It was a tale of two halves as the Spurs blew the doors of the Warriors over the final 24 minutes.
San Antonio outscored Golden State, 55-40 over the final two quarters. The Spurs shot 52.6 percent from the field in the second half, led by Tony Parker, who had 16 of his 25 points after halftime.
"We made shots, the ball movement was good," Parker said. "So hopefully we can do the same thing in Golden State. That's a big key for us ... We have to play Spurs basketball and move their defense."
The Spurs handed out 30 assists on 40 made field goals. That's incredible ball movement as Parker dished out 10 dimes and five other San Antonio players recorded at least three assists.
With the offense clicking, the defense was pretty stout on Tuesday night, especially against the vaunted Warriors' backcourt.
In Game 5, Steph Curry and Klay Thompson combined for 13 points on 6-for-22 shooting. Curry was averaging 26 ppg during this series and he had nine on Tuesday. Thompson was at 20 ppg and he managed four.
But Warriors coach Mark Jackson was quick to dismiss the cold shooting of the most prolific 3-point shooting teammates in NBA history as the reason for the loss
"They shot 72 percent in the first quarter, scored 37 points," Jackson said of San Antonio. "That has nothing to do with Klay Thompson or Steph Curry shooting the basketball. That's a recipe for disaster and that put us in the hole."
It did, but the Warriors clawed back in the second quarter and had it as close as four points in the third. Then, thanks in large part to 11 Golden State turnovers in the second half, the Spurs went on their run.
"Careless with the basketball," Jackson lamented. "We got out of character on both sides of the ball."
Despite the disappointing performance from the starting guards, rookie Harrison Barnes continues to dazzle. After scoring 26 points in the Warriors' Game 4 victory, Barnes followed it up with a 25-point performance on Tuesday night.
The Warriors will try for their first appearance in the Western Conference Finals since the 1975-76 season.
"We're excited about Game 6," said Jackson. "We want to put ourselves in position to head back to San Antonio, but first things first."
For the Spurs, advancement would mark the eighth time in 15 years that San Antonio made it to the Conference Finals. They got to that level last year, but were bounced by the Oklahoma City Thunder in six games.
"Nobody talks about getting this thing over with like you've got a rash, or take a pill, or put some cream on it and it's going to be gone," joked Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. "This is a war. That's a class team."
If the Warriors win on Thursday, Game 7 will be back in San Antonio on Sunday.