In that game, Latrell Sprewell led the way with 32 points and Joe Smith (who is currently on the Lakers roster) had 20 points and 13 rebounds. Chris Mullin had 18 points and Mark Price had 11 on three of five three point shooting for Golden State.
Dominique Wilkins led the Spurs with 22 points as a reserve. Three players on that 1996-97 Spurs team are now current head coaches in the NBA. Can you guess who they are? Avery Johnson, New Jersey; Vinny Del Negro, Los Angeles Clippers; and Monty Williams, New Orleans.
Do you remember who coached the Warriors that year? Hint, he's still a current head coach....It would be none other than Rick Adleman, who led the Kings to the Western conference finals years later in 2001 and 2002. He now coaches a gritty Houston Rockets team.
...That's enough reminiscing, let's get back to the present. The Warriors lost to no one's surprise. The game started off ugly. The starters, especially Monta and Steph were terrible, but the reserves led by A.C. Law led a nice comeback in the second quarter to cut an 18 point Spurs lead to nine.
The Warriors clawed to within six points in the third, but then the game got weird. Spurs head coach Greg Popavich went berserk after a non call on Richard Jefferson's right corner three point attempt. At this point in the game, the Warriors had cut the Spurs lead to seven after an Ekpe Udoh left hand finish from a brilliant Dorell Wright delivery in the lane. The ensuing play for the Spurs was the Jefferson non call and subsequent technical which led to the Curry free throw and thus a six point lead for the Spurs.
After coach Pop's tech, the Spurs were not called for a foul for the five minutes of game clock that followed. The Spurs crushed any Warriors momentum and went on a 22-11 run after the tech was called. The Warriors were guilty of digging an early hole in the first quarter, but the refs gave the Spurs help they didn't need. Still, the officiating would not have made a difference, the Warriors lost to a championship contender.
The Texas back-to-back has to be the most difficult in the NBA when a team must face the Mavs and spurs on back to back nights. Both those teams could win the title this year. A close second is the Florida back to back against the Heat and Magic.
The next game against the Rockets will be just as difficult as these last two, as the Rockets are two games behind the Grizzlies for the eighth seed in the Western conference playoffs. They're going to be hungry and play hard, something the Warriors have done sporadically this year.