Game Report: Young Warriors stun Spurs for seventh straight win

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 25: Jonathan Kuminga #00 and Jordan Poole #3 of the Golden State Warriors celebrates after Kuminga slam dunked and was fouled on the play against the Dallas Mavericks during the second half of an NBA game at Chase Center on January 25, 2022 in San Francisco, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 25: Jonathan Kuminga #00 and Jordan Poole #3 of the Golden State Warriors celebrates after Kuminga slam dunked and was fouled on the play against the Dallas Mavericks during the second half of an NBA game at Chase Center on January 25, 2022 in San Francisco, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
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In a game in which they were missing four starters and almost every experienced player (bar Kevon Looney), the Golden State Warriors would have been excused for suffering an honorable loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday.

Things seemed headed that way through the opening three periods, despite a productive offensive display from the young Warriors. The problem was based around Golden State’s inability to contain the Spurs on the other end, evident by the fact they had shot over 60% from the field.

The Golden State Warriors used a 35-16 fourth quarter to overcome a double-digit deficit and secure their seventh straight victory.

The game appeared destined to fade into a comfortable Spurs victory, their 35-28 third-quarter opening up a 104-89 lead. With every San Antonio three-point attempt seemingly passing through cotton like a Stephen Curry warmup drill, the Warriors’ chances were undoubtedly slim.

The final period was nothing short of remarkable, particularly given the cattle available at Steve Kerr’s disposal.

Across a four-minute period, the Warriors were rolling with two rookies (Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody) and two two-way players (Chris Chiozza and Quinndary Weatherspoon). Incredibly, during those minutes, the inexperienced lineup cut the margin from 13 to five.

It meant by the time Jordan Poole and Damion Lee returned to close the game, Golden State were a realistic shot at pulling off the most unlikely comeback. The Spurs offense, one that couldn’t put a foot wrong for the first 36 minutes, went ice cold as the pressure rose down the stretch.

When Kuminga powered his way to the rim for another layup, the Warriors had climbed the mountain to tie the scores with just under three minutes remaining. On the following possession, Lee’s fifth three-pointer gave Golden State their first lead since being up 6-5 in the opening minutes.

A couple of Keldon Johnson free throws and a Dejounte Murray bucket gave the Spurs back the lead, providing flashbacks to the last encounter where the Warriors battled back from a large deficit only for San Antonio to turn the momentum and hold on.

Poole’s layup briefly regained the lead, before Murray’s midrange game again proved fruitful over the outstretched arm of Kuminga. Poole’s first three-point go-ahead attempt was off the mark, before Lee and Moody frantically scampered for the loose ball.

It culminated in Lee finding Poole again in the corner, this time with a far greater look.

With a second opportunity, the rising third-year guard wasn’t about to let the Spurs off the hook again. His fourth made three took him to 31 points on the night and crucially elevated the Warriors to a 122-120 lead.

Following the timeout, Devin Vassell’s three failed to fall before Lee sealed the game at the line with two clutch free throws. Golden State had completed the unlikely comeback, doing so by outscoring the Spurs 30-11 across the final nine minutes.

There were plenty of positives for the Warriors, led by Poole and their first-year rookies. Getting his second consecutive start, Moody knocked down six threes on the way to a career-high 20 points.

More than that, he produced several invaluable hustle plays including on Poole’s go-ahead three.

It was also a successful learning stint for Kuminga who largely struggled across the first three quarters. He was a large component of the fourth though, scoring 14 points to finish with 19 on the night.

Not to be forgotten given he sat the entire fourth on the bench, Looney kept the Warriors in the game throughout the first half with some relentless offensive rebounding. That proved the difference with the Warriors getting a 15-5 edge in that department, making up for the fact San Antonio shot a remarkable 55.4% from the floor and 48.5% from three.

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Given the circumstances, the unlikely win may go down as the Warriors’ most impressive of the season. They’ll look to add to the winning streak as they return home to face the Sacramento Kings on Thursday.