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Manu Ginobili, Spurs dig deep to stave off elimination

Spurs force Game 5 in Oakland, trail series 3-1

SAN ANTONIO,TX - APRIL 22 : Manu Ginobili #20 of the San Antonio Spurs goes up for a shot against Draymond Green #23 of the Golden State Warriors in the second half of Game Four of Round One of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center on April 22 , 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. 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 Ronald Cortes/Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO,TX - APRIL 22 : Manu Ginobili #20 of the San Antonio Spurs goes up for a shot against Draymond Green #23 of the Golden State Warriors in the second half of Game Four of Round One of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center on April 22 , 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. 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 Ronald Cortes/Getty Images)

SAN ANTONIO – The Spurs dug deep, defended and came away with a much deserved win on Sunday afternoon over Golden State, 103-90, in Game 4 of their first round playoff series.

The Spurs trail the Warriors 3-1 in the best-of-seven series. Game 5 will be played Tuesday night in Oakland.

The Spurs, knowing no NBA team has ever come back from an 0-3 deficit, took the court with the same intensity and pride that has carried the franchise for the past two decades.

LaMarcus Aldridge scored 22 points and added 10 rebounds to lead San Antonio, but it was Manu Ginobili who once again willed the Spurs to victory.

Ginobili scored 10 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter to stave off the sweep for the Spurs. It also staved off any discussion for now about this being Ginobili's final game of his career

"The feeling in the last quarter was great because we were all doing good and we were all fired up. We want to compete better," Ginobili said. "We deserved it. We got a win and we are happy with that."

Ginobili's 3-pointer with 3:53 left in the game put the Spurs up 96-88 after Golden State had cut the Spurs lead to 88-86. Ginobili hit another 3-pointer to put the Spurs up by 13 points with less than a minute left in the game.

"I smiled when he made that corner three right in front of us at the end of the game. It was so typical Manu. 40-years-old and 16 points, and hits the clinching three. He's Manu. That's what he does," said Warriors head coach Steve Kerr.

When asked if the Spurs wanted to win because it could have been possibly Ginobili's last game of his career, forward Rudy Gay responded with, "I mean, when you see Manu out there, y'all think he's going to retire?" 

Kevin Durant had 34 points and 13 rebounds for the Warriors, who nearly came back despite trailing for most of the game. The Spurs built the lead to as many as 17 points in the first half. 

The Spurs were finally able hit open shots and that proved to be one of the biggest differences. San Antonio made 15 of 28 3-point attempts.

"Guys hit shots. It's the NBA. It's the playoffs and the Spurs are known to be a good three-point shooting team. They made some shots tonight," said Kevin Durant.

One of those shots was an Aldridge 3-pointer that he banked in late in the fourth quarter with the Spurs in desperate need of a basket.

"Things happen sometimes. I said we have to come out here, play confident and take shots with confidence. I took it with confidence," Aldridge said. "It hit glass and I was like, 'well this is about time that we had these breaks.'"

San Antonio shot 53 percent on 3-pointers after shooting just 26 percent in the opening three games. 

Rudy Gay scored 14 points for San Antonio, Dejounte Murray had 12 and Kyle Anderson added 10.

Assistant coach Ettore Messina coached the Spurs for the second straight game following the death Erin Popovich, the wife of head coach Gregg Popovich.

The Spurs did not announce if Popovich would make the trip to Oakland. 

Sunday's win culminated what has been an emotional few days for the franchise. "These days to have just a little bit of joy, which of course is not comparable to anything, is just something that we want to savor," said Messina.

"We have a few hours to feel good about this win and tomorrow we'll start thinking about Game 5," said Ginobili.


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