Stephen Curry scored 36 points and the Golden State Warriors closed out the Western Conference final against the injury-ravaged San Antonio Spurs with a 129-115 victory Monday night, becoming the first team in league history to start the playoffs 12-0.
Golden State led by as many as 22 points in cruising to their third straight NBA finals. The Warriors await a possible third straight championship match-up with Cleveland, who lead Boston 2-1 in the East finals.
“It’s great to be one of the last two teams standing, we’ll see how it goes,” said Kevin Durant, who had 29 points and 12 rebounds.
San Antonio’s only lead came on the opening possession when Manu Ginobili tossed in a left-handed scoop shot. The Spurs started Ginobili in what could be his final game with the team. The 39-year-old had maintained he will not decide whether to retire or return until after the season.
Unsure if the beloved veteran will return, the crowd serenaded Ginobili with “Manu, Manu” chants as the game came to a close. “An amazing competitor, even more fun playing against him,” Durant said of Ginobili. “He was phenomenal this series.”
Kyle Anderson scored 20 points to lead the Spurs, who were without Kawhi Leonard, Tony Parker and David Lee. San Antonio didn’t go down without a fight despite the injuries. Anderson dove on the court for a loose ball that the Spurs had tipped away defensively, pushing the ball upcourt to Mills who fed Ginobili for a three-pointer that pulled San Antonio to 108-94 with seven minutes remaining. The effort made Spurs coach Gregg Popovich smile and clap at times, but the Warriors’ depth and talent proved too much for short-handed San Antonio.
Golden State shot 56% and were 14 for 39 on three-pointers. Draymond Green had 16 points, eight rebounds and eight assists for the Warriors. Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge closed out a disappointing series with his second eight-point effort against the Warriors.