The Spurs were injured, but Golden State was expecting a fevered fight on the home floor of the five-time NBA champions.
The Warriors’ depth and talent settled things early.
Kevin Durant had 33 points and 10 rebounds and Golden State beat injury-riddled San Antonio 120-108 on Saturday night to take a 3-0 lead in the Western Conference Finals.
“They were going to come out and hit us in the mouth,” Durant said of what the Warriors anticipating entering the game. “I think we did a good job of taking that punch and just kept playing.”
Golden State has a chance to complete its third straight series sweep in Game 4 at San Antonio on Monday night. The Warriors are the third team in NBA history to win their first 11 playoff games. Cleveland is 10-0, with a 2-0 lead over Boston in the Eastern Conference final.
“I’m not surprised,” Golden State point guard Stephen Curry said of the lead. “Our goal is to win every game we play. We answered a lot of challenges throughout the course of the playoffs and learned a lot of lessons through winning. Against the Spurs, they challenge you no matter who’s out there. You’ve got to play well to beat them.”
Curry added 21 points and became the franchise leader in postseason points, passing Hall of Famer Rick Barry.
Already without leading scorer Kawhi Leonard and starting point guard Tony Parker, the Spurs lost David Lee to a left knee injury in the opening quarter.
“We have to fight with the soldiers we have,” San Antonio veteran Manu Ginobili said. “Nobody is going to feel sorry for us.”
Lee left with 2:57 remaining in the first, unable to put any weight on his left leg after he landed awkwardly on it following a foul by Draymond Green. Joel Anthony had to take a free throw in place of Lee, who was taken to the locker room in a wheelchair. Lee’s status is unknown.
San Antonio still managed to match a postseason high with 33 points in the opening quarter and lead by as many as six points in the first half.
The Spurs played on emotion, but eventually succumbed to the Warriors’ firepower.
“It’s not easy. Even if we were healthy, they’re a great team,” San Antonio guard Danny Green said. “It wouldn’t be easy, regardless. With the bodies going down, very much so an uphill battle.”
Durant had 19 points in the third quarter.
“I feel I can make every shot I shoot because I shoot good ones and I try to get to my spot,” Durant said. “So, when they called my number, I just tried to go out there and be aggressive.”
Golden State shot 55 percent from the field and was 11 for 27 on 3-pointers.
“Every time you look up, you’re playing against four All-Stars,” San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said.
Klay Thompson had 17 points, and Javale McGee added 11 points, including 11 in the opening quarter for the Warriors.
Ginobili led the Spurs with 21 points, joining Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the only players 39 or older to score 20-plus points in a conference final.
San Antonio has been outscored by 73 points since Leonard left Game 1 with 7:52 remaining and the Spurs leading 78-55.
Warriors: Curry has 1,774 career postseason points in 69 games to set the franchise record. Barry previously held the franchise record with 1,776 points in 66 games. … Zaza Pachulia missed the game and was not on the bench after bruising his right heel during the first quarter of Game 2. … Andre Iguodala had two points in 19 minutes after sitting out Game 2 because of a sore left knee. … Kevon Looney (left hip strain) has not played in the postseason. Looney played 53 games in the regular season, including four starts.
Spurs: Popovich opted to sit Leonard after conferring with the team’s medical staff, but it wasn’t a decision his All-Star forward agreed with. “In the end, I guess it’s my decision,” Popovich said. “He’s not thrilled he’s not playing, but he’s not ready.” … The Spurs are 1-2 in the postseason without Leonard and were 7-1 in the regular season without their leading scorer.
Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge had 18 points on 7-for-17 shooting after stressing it was imperative for him to score following Leonard’s injury.
“I tried my best and they still doubled and clogged from the elbow, tried to make things difficult,” Aldridge said. “I tried to pick my spots to take my shots, even if it was a tough shot. They keyed on some things and made things tough out there.”
MAKING AN IMPACT
McGee made the most of his first start of the series, shooting 6 for 9 while scoring 16 points in 13 minutes.
Ginobili chuckled when asked if he decided to be more aggressive offensively with Leonard and Parker out.
“I swear, I try every game,” Ginobili said. “Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn’t. I tried the same way against Memphis, of course I scored zero points four games in a row. Today, I just happened to make a couple.”
Ginobili was 7-for-9 shooting while scoring a team-high 21 points.
Source: Associated Press