SAN ANTONIO, Texas – Shooting guard Klay Thompson scored 27 points to lead the defending-champion NBA Golden State Warriors to a 112-92 win over the injury-riddled San Antonio Spurs, who have just a .500 record heading into Friday night’s game against the Charlotte Hornets.
The Warriors and Spurs locked horns on Thursday night for the first time since last season’s Western Conference Finals, but the marquee matchup was marred by the absence of two key injured San Antonio players: superstar Kawhi Leonard and veteran point guard Tony Parker.
Even so, the Spurs jumped out to a 31-12 lead at the AT&T Center in San Antonio against the Warriors, who were sluggish defensively and were unable to get anything going offensively until late in the first quarter.
But buoyed by the superstar trio of Thompson, Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry, the Warriors (6-3) came roaring back to cut the Spurs’ lead to five by halftime at 55-50.
The second half was all Warriors, who clamped down on defense to allow San Antonio to score just 37 points over the final two quarters.
Thompson went 5-of-8 from 3-point range, while Durant finished with 24 points and Curry added 21. The Spurs were led by power forward LaMarcus Aldridge’s 24 points and 10 rebounds.
“We might as well start every game here down 20,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr told reporters afterward. “Other than the playoffs last year, that will be four or five straight games where that happened.”
The Spurs once again were without Leonard, regarded along with LeBron James as the best two-way player in the NBA.
The superstar small forward has not played an official game since injuring his ankle in Game 1 of the 2017 Western Conference Finals in Oakland, California.
The Spurs were leading that contest by 23 points in the third quarter when Leonard landed on the foot of charging Warriors center Zaza Pachulia after a jump shot, a play Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich described as “dangerous and unsportsmanlike.”
Without Leonard, the Warriors rallied to win that game 113-111 and subsequently went on to close out the Spurs four games to none. They then defeated James and the Cleveland Cavaliers four games to one in the NBA Finals.
Pachulia, who was booed throughout Thursday night’s game, finished with four points and three rebounds in just 13 minutes of action.
Leonard has not played thus far in the 2017-2018 season due to a nagging quad injury.
The Spurs (4-4) will look to get back on track on Friday night when they host the Hornets, who have won three games in a row to improve their record to 5-3.
In one other game Thursday night, the Portland Trail Blazers edged the Los Angeles Lakers 113-110 on a last-second 3-pointer by star point guard Damian Lillard.