Published January 13, 2015
No lead is safe against the San Antonio Spurs, but the Golden State Warriors held on to one in Game 2 as they evened their Western Conference semifinal series.
The Warriors led by as many as 20 in the third quarter thanks to a dazzling shooting performance by Klay Thompson and denied another Spurs comeback to pull out a 100-91 victory at AT&T Center and steal homecourt advantage.
Thompson shot 8-of-9 from 3-point range, falling one shy of the NBA postseason record, and totaled 34 points with 14 rebounds, while Stephen Curry chipped in 22 points in a rare supporting role.
Golden State had lost 30 straight games in San Antonio dating back to Feb. 1997, including Game 1's double-overtime instant classic that saw the Spurs rally from 16 points down over the final four minutes of regulation.
San Antonio pulled within six down the stretch Wednesday, but missed six straight shots from there to fall short. Tim Duncan scored a team-high 23 points while Tony Parker added 20 in the setback.
"We didn't shoot it very well when we were open," said Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich, whose team shot 39 percent from the field.
Game 3 is scheduled for Friday at Oracle Arena, and Golden State won both meetings there in the regular season.
Manu Ginobili, two days after drilling the game-winning 3-pointer in the closing seconds of the second overtime, checked in with 12 points but was just 1-of-6 from long range.
His only 3-pointer came with 4:23 left and made it a 95-89 game -- the closest the Spurs had been since midway through the second quarter.
Curry banked in an acrobatic scoop at the other end before Ginobili airballed a 3-pointer and was whistled for a questionable charge the next time down.
Curry's stepback jumper with a foot on the line pushed Golden State's lead to 99-89 with 1:52 on the clock, and the Warriors held on from there.
Thompson, a second-year sharpshooter out of Washington State, was virtually unstoppable in the first half. He and Curry combined for 23 points in the first quarter, matching the Spurs' total en route to a 28-23 Golden State advantage, and the 23-year-old stayed hot in the second.
Thompson, who had missed 11 straight from behind the arc coming in, drained a 3-pointer and drove in for reverse layup to cap a 9-0 run that extended Golden State's lead to 44-31, and his sixth and seventh make from long range closed the half to give the Warriors a healthy 62-43 cushion.
"I told him at halftime that was in the discussion for one of the greatest halves ever, not only for what he did offensively, but what he did defensively," Warriors head coach Mark Jackson said, referencing Thompson's effectiveness on Parker.
The Spurs missed their first seven attempts from the perimeter before finding their stroke late in the third quarter. A Kawhi Leonard slam sparked a 14-2 run that ended with 3-pointers from Danny Green and Gary Neal, the latter's cutting San Antonio's deficit to 77-70.
Thompson took some of the momentum away when he finished an otherwise quiet quarter with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer off Jarrett Jack's cross-court jump pass, pushing the Warriors' lead back to double digits, 83-72, heading to the fourth.
The Warriors won a road playoff game after the first round for the first time since May 8, 1991, when they won at the Lakers in the conference semis ... Golden State shot 11-of-23 from long distance, while the Spurs shot just 5- of-21 from the perimeter ... Harrison Barnes scored 13 points while Andrew Bogut pulled down a 11 rebounds for Golden State ... Leonard totaled 11 points and 12 rebounds.