Ginobili, Aldridge help Spurs beat Warriors to avoid sweep
By RAUL DOMINGUEZ
SAN ANTONIO (AP) Ettore Messina was screaming at the Spurs, and Manu Ginobili loved it.
Before Gregg Popovich, Ginobili played in Italy for Messina, and on Sunday he delivered a throwback performance for his old coach to save the Spurs' season.
Experiencing a flashback to his days playing for Messina in the Euroleague in his early 20s, the 40-year-old Ginobili scored 10 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter to help San Antonio beat the Golden State Warriors 103-90. The Spurs avoided a series sweep as Popovich missed his second straight game following the death of his wife, Erin, on Wednesday.
In his 16th season in the NBA and perhaps the final home game of his career, Ginobili rebounded from a scoreless effort in Game 3 to help Messina capture his first playoff victory as a coach, albeit an unofficial one.
"For moments when he talks to the rest of the team, or when he gets upset and he yells at us, a lot of flashbacks," Ginobili said, chuckling. "He's very strict and he wants the team to play his way, so whenever we stopped executing the way we should have, the old himself comes back. It was good to see him coaching on this stage. Good memories."
Ginobili played for Messina while both were with Virtus Bologna in 2000-02.
Kevin Durant had 34 points and 13 rebounds for the Warriors, who can wrap up the series in Game 5 at home Tuesday.
"You have got to give them a lot of credit," Golden State forward Draymond Green said. "They came out and they probably played with more intensity this game than they did the entire series."
LaMarcus Aldridge had 22 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Spurs, but they were willed to the finish by Ginobili, who has said he will decide in the offseason if he will return for a 17th season.
Ginobili was 3 for 4 in the final quarter, including making both of his 3-point attempts, and did not have a turnover in 6 1/2 minutes.
"I am so happy for him," Messina said. "I'm so happy. I think he deserves everything that is happening to him in his life and his career."
Golden State outscored San Antonio 29-21 in the third quarter and went on a 13-5 run beginning two minutes into the fourth quarter to pull within 88-86 with 6 minutes remaining after trailing by as many as 17.
Aldridge banked in a 3-pointer with 4:22 remaining to stop the Warriors' run.
"It was kind of frustrating," Green said. "We played great defense and he throws something up like that."
Ginobili then took over with a pair of 3-pointers in the final minutes.
"I smiled when he made that corner 3 right in front of us at the end of the game," Golden State coach Steve Kerr said. "It was just so typical Manu. Forty years old and 16 points and hits the clinching 3. He's Manu. That's what he does."
The Spurs were 15 for 28 on 3-pointers on Sunday after shooting just 26 percent in the opening three games. The Warriors were 7 for 28.
"It was a do-or-die game, make it happen or go home, and I think every guy played with that mentality, that focus, and we ended up getting it done tonight," Aldridge said.
Warriors: Livingston played despite spraining his left ankle late in the Warriors' Game 3 victory. Livingston played 21 minutes. ... Golden State PG Stephen Curry remained seated behind the team's bench as he continues to rehabilitate a sprained left knee. Curry is expected to be available for the second round. ... Andre Iguodala picked up his fourth foul with 7:56 remaining in the third quarter, but picked up just one more foul for the remainder of the game.
Spurs: Ginobili played in his 217th playoff game, breaking a tie with Shaquille O'Neal for sixth in league history. Ginobili also passed Reggie Miller for third in career 3-pointers in playoff history. Ray Allen holds the record with 385 3-pointers, followed by LeBron James (337), Ginobili (321) and Miller (320). ... Murray was 3 for 3 on 3-pointers in the first half, the most 3s made in the playoffs without a miss by a Spurs player since Steve Kerr (2003) and Patty Mills (2014) were 4 for 4 in a half.
Durant was asked if the Warriors were downhearted following the loss because their locker room was so quiet following their first loss in the series.
"We were good," Durant said. "I guess everybody was just quiet in the locker room while you were in there, getting ready, putting on their clothes, getting ready to leave. What, you want us to be in there throwing champagne around?"
Ginobili took a knee to the thigh in the fourth quarter, but remained in the game after dropping to the court in pain.
"Quad contusion, one of hundreds all career long," Ginobili said. "It hurts at the time, maybe tomorrow it's going to hurt a little bit. We'll see how bad or not bad it is for the next game."
Updated April 23, 2018