Slow at the start of the series and strong at the end, the San Antonio Spurs wore out the Golden State Warriors the way they have so many other opponents.
Tim Duncan had 19 points and six rebounds, Kawhi Leonard added 16 points and 10 rebounds and the Spurs held off a furious final rally to beat the Warriors 94-82 in Game 6 on Thursday night and advance to the Western Conference finals.
”They’ve got great character. They’re competitive. They know there’s not a million chances to do this sort of thing. They wanted it,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said of his squad.
Tony Parker shook off a poor start to score 10 of his 13 points in the fourth quarter and Tiago Splitter added a career-playoff high 14 points for San Antonio, which had a 13-point lead in the third quarter dissolve to two in the final minutes.
Stephen Curry shot 10 of 25 from the floor to score 22 points on a nagging left ankle, and Jarrett Jack had 15 points as the injury-saddled Warriors finally tired. Rookie forward Harrison Barnes also suffered a head injury in the second quarter, returned in the third and was sidelined in the fourth with a headache.
The Spurs outshot Golden State 45 percent to 39 percent and outrebounded them 46 to 40.
Second-seeded San Antonio will open the conference finals at home against Memphis on Sunday. The fifth-seeded Grizzlies eliminated Oklahoma City in five games.
”It’s going to be a rough one,” Duncan said about the conference finals. ”If you thought this was physical, it’s going to turn up about 10 notches.”