Warriors beat Spurs, sew up home court advantage
(The Sports Xchange) - The Golden State Warriors clinched home-court advantage through the NBA playoffs on Thursday night, riding a strong defensive performance to a 112-101 victory over the San Antonio Spurs in a historic meeting of the league's top two teams.
Stephen Curry had a game-high 27 points and the Warriors (70-9) held the Spurs (65-13) to 19 field goals in the first 30 minutes of the first-ever regular-season meeting of teams with 65 or more wins.
Andrew Bogut had 11 rebounds and Harrison Barnes eight as the Warriors dominated the boards to the tune of 43-32 en route to becoming just the second team in NBA history to win 70 games in the regular season.
Golden State now needs two victories in its last three games to tie the all-time wins record set by the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls, who went 72-10. A three-game sweep of the remaining games would give the Warriors the record.
The Warriors will face the Memphis Grizzlies twice in the final three games of the season, with a rematch against the Spurs in San Antonio in between on Sunday.
Limiting the Spurs to 19-for-51 shooting (37.3 percent) while running up a 71-48 margin at the midpoint of the third quarter, the Warriors were thoroughly dominant in improving to 9-0 following a loss.
Neither the Warriors nor the Spurs has lost in a game immediately following a defeat this season. No team in NBA history has ever gone through the regular season without consecutive defeats.
The Warriors led by as many as 15 points in the second quarter and then 23 in the third en route to just their second win in their last four home games after a 36-0 start at Oracle Arena.
Barnes had 21 points and Draymond Green 18 for the Warriors, who shot 54.2 percent from the field and 12-for-25 on 3-pointers.
Curry (11-for-19), Barnes (8-for-13) and Green (7-for-12) all hit better than half of their shots.
Kawhi Leonard scored a team-high 23 points for the Spurs, who had a four-game winning streak snapped.
The loss assured the Spurs of the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference playoffs.
Tony Parker (4-for-10, 10 points), LaMarcus Aldridge (5-for-16, 11 points) and Tim Duncan (2-for-6, four points) all struggled for San Antonio, which lost to Golden State for just the fifth time in their past 29 regular-season meetings.
San Antonio forward Kyle Anderson had eight points and a team-high 11 rebounds off the bench.
The Spurs' best offensive spurt of the game, a 5-for-6 start to the fourth quarter, allowed them to get back within 93-80 with 8:48 to go.
However, Barnes and Green hit subsequent 3-pointers as the Warriors expanded the lead to 18 one more time before coasting to their 41st double-digit winning margin of the season.