OAKLAND—The Golden State Warriors staged a remarkable come from behind victory over the San Antonio Spurs, 113-111 on Sunday, May 14 from Oracle Arena in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals. The Warriors furious comeback is the third largest in NBA Playoff history. DUB Nation trailed by as many as 25 points, with Steph Curry leading the surge with 40 points. Curry went 14-for-26, including 7 shots from beyond the arc. Golden State leads San Antonio 1-0 in the Western Conference Finals.
The Spurs jumped out to a huge lead and seemed poised to steal Game 1, forcing the Warriors to commit an ungodly amount of turnovers in the first half. The Spurs capitalized on their size, and owned the paint the entire afternoon.
The most important play of the game, quite possibly the series occured in the third quarter when Spurs all-star Kawii Leonard left the game after he re-injured his ankle. After nailing a fadeaway jumper, Warriors Center Zaza Pachulia shuffled his feet causing Leonard to land awkwardly, and did not return.
From that point, Golden State outscored San Antonio 58-33, cleaning up their sloppy play en route to a W.
Was it a dirty play? Its difficult to say, but Leonard took the highroad postgame stating he believed it was an accident. After Leonard went to the locker room, the Warriors went on a 18-0 run. Kevin Durant was spectacular; any time he flicked his wrist, the ball swished through the net. He scored 34 points, whereas, Klay Thompson struggled to find his shot ending with a pedestrian 6 points.
San Antonio was led by LaMarcus Aldridge with 28 ponts and 8 rebounds. 39-year old Manu Ginobli continues to turn back the clock, adding 15 points off the bench. The Spurs are notorious for going long stretches without scoring, while the Warriors made an electrifying comeback. Holding the Spurs to just 21 points in the fourth quarter, the Warriors delivered one for the ages.
With 1:08 left, Draymond Greens offensive board and putback gave Golden State its first lead since 8-7 way back in the first quarter. Oracle Arena was a tidal wave of mustard yellow hysteria. Typically, the Warriors devour their competition, the outcome inevitable by halftime.
The San Antonio Spurs blew this one, yes, but their fiery display proves the Golden State Warriors need to protect the ball and pounce from the tip-off to reach the NBA Finals for the third consecutive year. Game 2 is Tuesday, May 16.