Sunday’s NBA playoffs: Spurs beat Warriors, avoid sweep
San Antonio — Ettore Messina was screaming at the Spurs, and Manu Ginobili loved it.
Before Gregg Popovich, Ginobili played in Italy for Messina, and on Sunday he delivered a throwback performance for his old coach to save the Spurs’ season.
Experiencing a flashback to his days playing for Messina in the Euroleague in his early 20s, the 40-year-old Ginobili scored 10 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter to help San Antonio beat the Golden State Warriors 103-90. The Spurs avoided a series sweep as Popovich missed his second straight game following the death of his wife, Erin, on Wednesday.
In his 16th season in the NBA and perhaps the final home game of his career, Ginobili rebounded from a scoreless effort in Game 3 to help Messina capture his first playoff victory as a coach, albeit an unofficial one.
“For moments when he talks to the rest of the team, or when he gets upset and he yells at us, a lot of flashbacks,” Ginobili said, chuckling. “He’s very strict and he wants the team to play his way, so whenever we stopped executing the way we should have, the old himself comes back. It was good to see him coaching on this stage. Good memories.”
Ginobili played for Messina while both were with Virtus Bologna in 2000-02.
Kevin Durant had 34 points and 13 rebounds for the Warriors, who can wrap up the series in Game 5 at home Tuesday.
“You have got to give them a lot of credit,” Golden State forward and former Michigan State standout Draymond Green said. “They came out and they probably played with more intensity this game than they did the entire series.”
LaMarcus Aldridge had 22 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Spurs, but they were willed to the finish by Ginobili, who has said he will decide in the offseason if he will return for a 17th season.
Ginobili was 3 for 4 in the final quarter, including making both of his 3-point attempts, and did not have a turnover in 6 1/2 minutes.
“I am so happy for him,” Messina said. “I’m so happy. I think he deserves everything that is happening to him in his life and his career.”
Golden State outscored San Antonio 29-21 in the third quarter and went on a 13-5 run beginning two minutes into the fourth quarter to pull within 88-86 with 6 minutes remaining after trailing by as many as 17.
Aldridge banked in a 3-pointer with 4:22 remaining to stop the Warriors’ run.
“It was kind of frustrating,” Green said. “We played great defense and he throws something up like that.”
Ginobili then took over with a pair of 3-pointers in the final minutes.
“I smiled when he made that corner 3 right in front of us at the end of the game,” Golden State coach Steve Kerr said. “It was just so typical Manu. Forty years old and 16 points and hits the clinching 3. He’s Manu. That’s what he does.”
The Spurs were 15 for 28 on 3-pointers on Sunday after shooting just 26 percent in the opening three games. The Warriors were 7 for 28.
“It was a do-or-die game, make it happen or go home, and I think every guy played with that mentality, that focus, and we ended up getting it done tonight,” Aldridge said.
Aside from Durant, only Klay Thompson (12) and Shaun Livingston (10) scored in double figures for the Warriors.
Rudy Gay scored 14 points for San Antonio, Dejounte Murray had 12 and Kyle Anderson added 10.
Cleveland 104, (at) Indiana 100: LeBron James scored 32 points and combined with Kyle Korver for all but two of Cleveland’s final 13 points as the Cavaliers evened the first-round series against Indiana at two games apiece.
James added 13 rebounds and seven assists in his 100th career playoff game with 30 or more points. Korver made four 3-pointers and wound up with 18 points.
Domantas Sabonis scored 19 points for Indiana. Myles Turner and Victor Oladipo each scored 17, though Oladipo struggled through a poor shooting night.
(At) Milwaukee 104, Boston 102: Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 27 points, including tipping in the go-ahead basket with 5 seconds left, and Milwaukee beat Boston to tie its first-round playoff series at two games apiece.
Boston’s Marcus Morris missed a 14-footer at the buzzer with Khris Middleton’s hand in his face to seal a nail-biting win for the Bucks.
Seconds earlier, the 6-foot-11 Antetokounmpo jumped and reached up with his left arm around Boston’s Jayson Tatum to put back Malcolm Brogdon’s missed layup for the game-winner.
Game 5 is Tuesday night in Boston.
Jaylen Brown had 34 points for the Celtics, while Tatum added 21. Tatum’s 18-footer with 52 seconds left gave the Celtics a brief 100-99 lead.
(At) Washington 106, Toronto 98: John Wall took over down the stretch after Bradley Beal fouled out, having a hand in 10 of Washington’s last 14 points and finishing with 27 points and 14 assists as the No. 8 seed Wizards came back to beat No. 1 Toronto and even the Eastern Conference first-round playoff series at 2-all.
The game was tied at 92 with about five minutes left when Beal — who led Washington with 31 points — drew his sixth foul on a play in which he and DeMar DeRozan collided while Toronto had the ball. Beal raced along the sideline, put his hands on his head, then returned to the Wizards’ bench area and threw a red towel before being restrained by teammates.
The Raptors went up by two, but Wall pulled the Wizards even with a layup that drew a goaltending call, then put the hosts in front to stay by feeding Markieff Morris for a layup off the glass. As the final seconds ticked away, Wall held up two fingers on each hand. Yep, it’s 2-2, and the home team has won every game so far.
Toronto will host Game 5 on Wednesday.
DeRozan started 0 for 6, before winding up with 35 points, six assists and six rebounds. Kyle Lowry scored 19 points for Toronto.