San Antonio Spurs v Golden State Warriors

Warriors beat Spurs for first time since 2008, snapping a 16-game losing streak against them

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It’s got to be the jerseys.

The Spurs came into Friday night’s game against the Warriors having won 16 of their last 17 games, and were coming off of a thorough shellacking of the L.A. Clippers just the night before. San Antonio also hadn’t lost to Golden State since 2008, holding a streak of 16 consecutive wins over the Warriors franchise since then.

None of that mattered to Jarrett Jack, who hit a ton of big shots in the fourth quarter and overtime to lift the Warriors to a huge 107-101 win over the top team in the Western Conference.

Golden State debuted their alternate jerseys for the first time, ones that have short sleeves attached instead of the traditional tank-top look that’s been a staple in the league essentially forever. The look took some getting used to, and may have been more successful had the color of the shorts matched exactly, instead of being a shade darker and featuring pinstripes that were absent from the jerseys themselves.

The Warriors will likely sign up to wear them every night, however, if this is going to be the result.

After battling closely all night with the Spurs, San Antonio did what it always seems to, which is continue to execute to perfection while waiting for you to eventually make some mistakes.

The Spurs opened the fourth quarter on a 12-0 run, gaining their largest lead of the night at 13 points with under nine minutes to play. That’s usually game over for most teams, but the Warriors came back relatively quickly, and tied the game less than three minutes later.

Jack hit a big-time three with seven seconds left in regulation to give his team a two-point lead, before Harrison Barnes got lost on the ensuing Spurs out of bounds play, and allowed Manu Ginobili to receive a pass cutting to the basket for a layup which set us up for the overtime session.

Jack made the biggest play in overtime, breaking away for a reverse layup after a steal from Stephen Curry that put the Warriors up for good with a minute and a half remaining. According to ESPN Stats and Information, he was the first player with at least 30 points and 10 assists off the bench in a game since Magic Johnson did it back in 1996.

The Spurs might have run out of gas on the second night of the back-to-back, and may have been stunned by how quickly and effectively the Warriors were able to respond to that fourth-quarter run. Tim Duncan looked old in this one, and made some mistakes we’re not used to seeing him make, and Jack was phenomenal, as he’s been all year for this Warriors team.

Or, it might have been that the whole jersey thing simply threw them off. Either way, it was a huge win for the Warriors to notch their second straight after suffering a six-game losing streak, and the Spurs, still three games ahead of the Thunder atop the Western Conference standings, probably aren’t going to lose any sleep over it.

LeBron James says he doesn’t see Cavaliers-Warriors as rivalry

CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 25: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers passes while under pressure from Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors during the first half at Quicken Loans Arena on December 25, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. 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. Mandatory copyright notice. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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Tyronn Lue said Cavaliers-Warriors could eventually match Celtics-Lakers as a rivalry.

First, if you ask LeBron James, Cleveland-Golden State would have to become a rivalry at all.

LeBron, via Joe Vardon Cleveland.com:

“We don’t look at it as a rival,” James said. “They’re a great team. They’ve been the best team the last couple years, last three years.”

“It’s just the next game, it’s Golden State,” James said. “They’re a helluva team, like I said the best team in the league and they’ve been that way the last three years, four years, however long it’s been, I’m not quite sure. But, listen, you guys know, we don’t put all our eggs in one basket for one game.”

Of course, Cavaliers-Warriors is a rivalry. These teams have met in the last two NBA Finals, played each other with relentless intensity, talked plenty of trash and remained elite.

LeBron just doesn’t want the Cavs to become comfortable. They’ve beat Golden State in four straight games – the last three of the 2016 Finals and on Christmas – and could extend the streak to five today. Beating a rival that frequently is a cause for celebration, and celebration leads to contentment. LeBron would rather keep Cleveland focused and hungry. Hence, saying the Warriors aren’t a rival.

Andre Drummond hits 3-pointer from inside Pistons’ own 3-point arc (video)

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Andre Drummond is really good at these deep heaves.

His 3-point percentage (44%) is even better than his free-throw percentage (38%) the last two years, though that says too much about his work from the line.

Drummond wasn’t the only Pistons player converting to end quarters. Ish Smith and Tobias Harris also stepped up in the Pistons’ 102-97 win over the Lakers:

NBA: Suns got away with offensive foul before key points in win over Spurs

Phoenix Suns Devin Booker acknowledges a foul as San Antonio Spurs Tony Parker lies crumpled on the floor, in the second half of their regular-season NBA basketball game in Mexico City, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)
AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell
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Devin Booker scored 39 points in the Suns’ 108-105 win over the Spurs on Saturday in Mexico City.

But Booker’s last four – which put Phoenix up for good – came directly after incorrect calls, according to the NBA’s Last Two Minute Report.

First, Booker drew a (legitimate) foul on Pau Gasol with 1:08 left and made both free throws. The problem: One second before that, Suns center Tyson Chandler should have been called for offensively fouling Tony Parker, according to the league:

Chandler (PHX) sets the screen on Parker (SAS) and makes leg to leg contact that affects his ability to defend the play.

That would’ve ended Phoenix’s possession rather than allowing Booker to get to the line.

The other missed call in the two-minute report is trickier, because it directly benefitted the Spurs but indirectly benefitted the Suns.

Manu Ginobili got away with travelling with 59.1 seconds left, according to  the league:

Ginobili (SAS) moves his pivot foot.

But he coughed up the ball moments later anyway, and – thrilled to gain possession with a live-ball turnover rather than a dead-ball turnover – Booker turned the miscue into a fastbreak dunk.

Rather than debate how to evaluate San Antonio getting away with a travel and it ultimately helping Phoenix more, let’s stick to just the uncalled Chandler offensive foul. That netted the Suns two points. Their lead when the Spurs began intentionally fouling? One.

Russell Westbrook puts up 20th triple-double of season, lifts Thunder past Kings (VIDEO)

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Through 41 games — half the season — Russell Westbrook is averaging 30.8 points, 10.7 rebounds, and 10.5 assists a game. Those numbers are insane, particularly considering his 42 percent usage rate. He has to put up numbers and do so fairly efficiently or the Thunder stand no chance of winning — and he has the Thunder on pace for 48 wins this season.

The Thunder picked up another of those wins Sunday night knocking off the Sacramento Kings behind Westbrook’s 20th triple-double in 41 games — 36 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists. The video highlights are above.

It’s going to be fun watching him and James Harden go back-and-forth in the MVP race for the next few months.