SAN ANTONIO • The Golden State Warriors have been a history-making machine this season, overshadowing nearly every team who try to impede their progress.
The San Antonio Spurs, though, are assembling a magical season of their own, and they stifled the Warriors, 87-79, on Saturday night at AT&T Centre to make a little National Basketball Association (NBA) history of their own.
No teams with better combined records had ever faced each other this late in a regular season, and with their victory, the Spurs extended a remarkable streak, defeating the Warriors in 33 straight regular-season home games dating back to Feb 14, 1997.
The Spurs (59-10) put the clamps on the Warriors (62-7), limited them to 37.8 per cent shooting and swarmed Stephen Curry on the perimeter. He shot four of 18 from the field and finished with 14 points, one of his poorest outings of the season.
"He missed some shots he normally makes, but he also had to take some tough ones," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said of Curry.
The Spurs have won 44 straight regular-season games in San Antonio in a streak dating to last March. This is tied for the second-longest in NBA history, behind only the continuing home streak of Golden State, now at 50 games. LaMarcus Aldridge led the Spurs with a game-high 26 points and made a clutch jumper for a five-point lead with less than two minutes to play.
The Warriors were playing their second game in two nights, after defeating the Dallas Mavericks on Friday. The scheduling doyens at NBA headquarters were not doing the Warriors any favours, and Golden State was also short-handed as Andre Iguodala (left ankle), Festus Ezeli (left knee) and Andrew Bogut (left big toe) missed the game.
In Bogut's absence, coach Steve Kerr had little choice but to move Draymond Green to centre from power forward, but the team's perimeter play was the more glaring issue - and it was evident early. After missing his first three three-point attempts, Curry had his fourth blocked by the Spurs' Danny Green.
Paying special attention to the Most Valuable Player, the Spurs extended their defence beyond the three-point line. The Warriors looked lost in the first half, and the game settled into the slow rhythm that favoured the Spurs.
Curry and Klay Thompson combined to shoot five of 19 from the field, yet the Spurs led by only six at half-time. Thompson finished with 15 points.
The Spurs held the Warriors point-less over the final 2min 33sec, building a three-point lead to the final eight-point margin, as they asserted themselves against a Warriors team who beat them in Oakland on Jan 25.
Spurs point guard Tony Parker said San Antonio learnt from that game that they could not let the Warriors dictate the pace.
"This time we tried to slow it down and tried to control it," he said, and the strategy worked - at least this time. "I think the whole league is trying to figure them out.
"I'm not saying we've figured them out, but it was better than the last game."
Said Kerr, who drew a technical foul for arguing against a call in the first quarter: "I couldn't be prouder of our guys - what an effort."
The clash in San Antonio overshadowed Saturday's other action, which included a milestone night for Dwyane Wade in Miami.
The Heat playmaker became the 41st NBA player to reach 20,000 career points, scoring 24 in Miami's 122-101 victory over former Heat team-mate LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
NEW YORK TIMES, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE