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Warriors-Spurs: Manu Ginobili And Free Throws Down Warriors, 118-98

At one point in the third quarter as the San Antonio Spurs began to pull away from the Warriors, it looked as if there were 5 Manu Ginobilis on the court at once. He not only seemed to be able to score from everywhere on the court and against anyone (namely Dorell Wright), but he also seemed to be everywhere on defense, too.

Racking up 4 steals to go with his 27 points, 6 boards, and 5 assists, Ginobili consistently blew open the gap with a timely 3 pointer or a 3-point play. Although the foul disparity, for once, was even, the Spurs still made their living at the line, attempting twice as many free throws and making almost three times as many.

Part of the problem was that the referees seemed to call ticky tack fouls on the Warriors, but rarely seemed to give the Warriors the same benefit on the other end. In the fourth quarter with the lead secured, Jeremy Lin drove to the hoop and was fouled hard but there was no whistle. Anytime Ginobili faded away on a three, the Warriors seemed to get called for hacking him on the way up.

But the Spurs showed why they, unlike the slumping Los Angeles Lakers and New Orleans Hornets, are rising up in NBA Power Rankings across the Internet. Tim Duncan notched a triple double (15-18-11). 7 Spurs players scored in double figures, a balanced attack captured by rookie reserve Gary Neal’s 14 points on 5-7 shooting (2-3 from downtown) and back up PG George Hill with 12, connecting on 8-9 from the line.

Stephen Curry led all players with 32 points on 13-22 shooting and David Lee finished with 18 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists. Andris Biedrins continues to rebound well, finishing with 18 boards.

The Warriors made a short spurt in the fourth quarter with Ginobili sitting out and Stephen Curry leading the charge with Monta Ellis sitting out most of the second half with foul issues. With Curry free-wheeling like it was Nellie Ball or like he was back at Davidson, the Warriors pulled within 13 after being down 20. Coach Popovich, who much different than Coach Keith Smart, immediately called a timeout, substituting Ginobili back in and seemingly emphasizing the need to steamroll the Warriors no matter what. Focus, Focus, Focus.

Something the Warriors clearly lacked.