The Warriors are headed to the NBA Finals for the third consecutive year after sweeping the San Antonio Spurs with a 129-115 victory in Game 4 on Tuesday night. Golden State was led by a two-headed monster, as Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant accounted for 36 and 29 points, respectively, on 37 combined shot attempts. Draymond Green added 16 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, while Klay Thompson and Ian Clark also scored in double-figures. With the win, Golden State becomes the first team in NBA history with 12-straight victories to begin a postseason.
In Golden State’s two series sweeps that preceded the Western Conference Finals, the Warriors left no doubt, racing out to a huge early lead before eliminating their opponent. On Monday in San Antonio, the Dubs’ closeout game was more tightly contested, but the end result proved the same.
Playing perhaps his last game in a Spurs uniform, Manu Ginobli opened the scoring with a basket 22 seconds into the contest. That would prove to equal San Antonio’s largest lead of the entire game, however, as the Warriors would respond with an 8-2 run and never relinquish their advantage from that point on. Following a Danny Green three-pointer, Golden State then ripped off 13 consecutive points before the Spurs responded with eight-straight of their own. Stephen Curry then converted the first of his five three-pointers on the night to ignite a 10-4 Golden State burst to close the quarter that would give the Warriors a 31-19 lead at the end of the first frame.
San Antonio had a considerably better offensive quarter in the second compared to the first. Unfortunately for them, though, the Warriors still managed to increase their advantage. After Danny Green made a three-pointer to pull the Spurs within 34-24 two minutes into the second frame, Kevin Durant scored Golden State’s next six points to help maintain their lead. Green then converted a three-point play to trim the deficit to 40-32 at the 7:41 mark, but that would be as close as the Spurs got for the remainder of the game. Ian Clark scored five-straight points in a span of 41 seconds to ignite an 11-0 Warriors run over the next two-and-a-half minutes to take their largest lead of the opening half, and Golden State would go on to maintain a double-digit advantage for the duration of the contest. The two sides would trade baskets for the remainder of the half, as the Warriors took a 65-51 lead into halftime. Golden State shot 14-of-19 (.737) from the field in the second quarter, establishing their best shooting quarter in the last two postseasons.
Klay Thompson opened the second half with a three-pointer, and after Patty Mills converted three free throws, the Warriors responded with seven consecutive points to take their largest lead of the entire game on Draymond Green’s two free throws that put Golden State in front 78-56 with 8:25 remaining in the third frame. The veteran Spurs wouldn’t go down without a fight, however, and would begin to chip away at the deficit. San Antonio got themselves back in the game by answering with a 15-4 run to pull within 82-71 at the 3:47 mark, but Curry halted their momentum with a three-pointer on the ensuing possession, which moved him past Kobe Bryant (292) for fifth place on the NBA's all-time playoff threes list. That would prove to be an ongoing theme for the rest of the game, as seemingly every time the Spurs looked like they might go on another run, Golden State was there with a timely answer. San Antonio followed Curry’s three with four-straight points to cut the deficit to 10, but this time it was Kevin Durant with a clutch response on the other end. That basket began a 10-0 Warriors run that would rebuild their lead to 95-75 on Curry’s two free throws with 54 seconds remaining in the third quarter. The Spurs would trim just two points off that deficit and go into the fourth and final frame trailing by a score of 96-78, despite possessing a 19-0 advantage in points off turnovers up to that point in the contest.
Pau Gasol and Ginobli combined for back-to-back baskets to begin the fourth quarter, but Andre Iguodala answered right back with five-straight points to extend Golden State’s advantage. San Antonio would close within 14 points on eight separate occasions through the remainder of the game, but the Warriors scored on the ensuing possession each and every time to maintain their cushion. After Davis Bertans cut the deficit to 122-108 with 2:47 left to play, Curry converted a three-point play on the next trip down the court, effectively putting an end to San Antonio’s hopes of a comeback. Curry and the rest of the starters were pulled at that point, and Golden State’s reserves would finish off the eventual 129-115 closeout victory.
With the win, the Warriors completed the sweep of the Spurs and earned their third consecutive trip to the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history. The Dubs still have yet to lose in the postseason and are the first team in NBA history to start the playoffs 12-0. Golden State now awaits their fourth and final postseason opponent, which will be the victor of the ongoing series between the Celtics and Cavaliers. Game 1 of The Finals will be at Oracle Arena on Thursday, June 1, at 6:00 p.m. Tickets will go on sale for Games 1 and 2 of the NBA Finals on Thursday, May 25, at 2:00 p.m.