OAKLAND -- The San Antonio Spurs, so long a nightmare for the Warriors franchise, added a fresh dimension to the bad dream Thursday night at Oracle Arena.
With their star trio of Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker sitting things out, the Spurs nonetheless outplayed the Warriors and then held them off down the stretch for a stunning 104-102 victory on Tiago Splitter's offensive tip-in with 2.1 seconds left.
It was a horrible loss for Warriors, who dropped to 14-13, arguably their worst of the season. If losing to a spurious aggregation of Spurs on the home floor wasn't bad enough, Golden State's most prominent tormentor was a former Warrior, Marco Belinelli, who poured in 28 points to spearhead the San Antonio shocker.
Oh, and then there was Saint Mary's College alum Patty Mills, who filled in nicely for Parker with 20 points.
But in the final accounting, it was really the Warriors who did themselves in. They committed 24 turnovers -- 12 in each half -- resulting in 31 San Antonio points. They blew an early 14-point lead by halftime. They hoisted up 31 3-point tries and made just eight.
"It was kind of a trap game, but coming in, I knew it'd be tough," Warriors swingman Andre Iguodala said. "They played a solid four quarters of basketball, and we only played a good nine minutes in the first quarter."
Said David Lee, who led the Warriors with 32 points and added 13 rebounds: "You can never give teams life. If we'd have taken that 14-point lead and made it 20, I don't think (Spurs) coach (Gregg) Popovich would have played Splitter as much, and it's probably a different outcome."
Andrew Bogut said it most bluntly of all, noting, "We can't lose this game at home, period."
Beyond Stephen Curry (30 points, 15 assists), Lee and Bogut (18 rebounds), the Warriors had two notably horrific box-score lines. Klay Thompson was 6 for 18 from the floor, 1 for 7 from beyond the arc and committed five turnovers. Harrison Barnes played 19 minutes and didn't score.
"They are not playing well right now," coach Mark Jackson said. "I'm not going to sit here and make excuses for them. I believe in my guys, they have had some great moments for us and they will have great moments for us, but right now they are not playing their best basketball."
The Spurs, meanwhile, made it work with a makeshift crew. With his team playing its seventh game in 10 days and second in two nights, Popovich rested Duncan and Ginobili along with Parker, who was already scheduled to be out with a shin contusion.
But after a shaky start in which they fell behind 23-11 and 34-20, the Spurs found their groove while the Warriors couldn't find the handle. Their sloppiness with the ball resulted in a 19-4 San Antonio run and a 53-51 lead at half, an advantage expanded to eight, 82-74, heading into the fourth quarter.
Behind Curry and Lee, the Warriors staged a furious rally and twice regained the lead down the stretch, then tied it at 102-all on a Curry 3-pointer with 28.7 seconds left.
But the scrappy Spurs backups wouldn't fold. Belinelli missed a fadeaway, and Boris Diaw's offensive rebound put-back barely rolled off the rim. But Splitter was there to tap it in, and Curry's heavily defended desperation shot didn't have a chance.
Once again, Jackson said turnovers were the crucial difference.
"We were careless and that gave them life," Jackson said. "That's not what championship teams do."
Although he didn't make the decision to rest Duncan and Ginobili until after the Spurs beat Phoenix on Wednesday night, Popovich said before the game that it was an easy call.
"I care about the end of the season, and we've been doing it for years," he said. "We've already held them out in back-to-backs here and there, and seven in 10 days, for them, that's ridiculous."
Said Jackson before the game: "Win, lose or draw, it will not be because they didn't have their guys and we let our guard down."
Lakers (12-13) at Warriors (14-13),
7:30 p.m. CSNBA
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