Spurs crush Warriors in battle of backups

Warriors' Stephen Curry watching his team-mates take on the Spurs from the sidelines. The All-Star was rested along with other key Warriors.
Warriors' Stephen Curry watching his team-mates take on the Spurs from the sidelines. The All-Star was rested along with other key Warriors.PHOTO: REUTERS

SAN ANTONIO (Texas) • Patty Mills scored 21 points, as the San Antonio Spurs dominated the Golden State Warriors 107-85 on Saturday in a National Basketball Association (NBA) clash that lacked star power.

He scored all his points in the first half for the Spurs (51-14), whose 20-point half-time lead allowed them to cruise through the second half at the AT&T Centre.

The victory moved them to within a half-game of Golden State (52-14) for the top spot in the Western Conference and the league.

Both teams were missing their star players, either by plan or by injury. The highly-anticipated battle between two of the league's marquee teams had play-off implications, but the contest ended up being played mostly by the reserves.

Golden State rested Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala and Klay Thompson, while Kevin Durant is still out with a knee injury.

San Antonio's Kawhi Leonard (concussion), LaMarcus Aldridge (minor heart arrhythmia), Tony Parker (back stiffness) and DeJounte Murray (left groin tightness) were ruled out.

"It's a win we're going to accept and keep, but it wasn't a fair fight," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "They're Golden State - their top four or five players weren't there, if anybody didn't notice. We're supposed to win a basketball game like that, and we focused and we did it."

The victory was San Antonio's second of the season against Golden State and gives them the edge if a tie-breaker is needed. The teams play once more in the regular season on March 29 in San Antonio.

"Every game is an important game... but obviously we know the stakes at this point in the season, and you want to stay healthy and get healthy," Spurs guard Danny Green said.

In Orlando, LeBron James recorded a triple-double with 24 points, 13 assists and 12 rebounds as the Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Magic 116-104.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 13, 2017, with the headline 'Spurs crush Warriors in battle of backups'. Print Edition | Subscribe