The San Antonio Spurs continued their dominance at home, even against the NBA's most dominant team.
LaMarcus Aldridge had 26 points and 13 rebounds, and the Spurs beat the Golden State Warriors 87-79 on Saturday night to remain perfect at the AT&T Center this season and extend their home winning streak over the defending champions to 33 straight regular-season games.
The Spurs held the Warriors to a season-low point total, using a bruising defence to slow Stephen Curry in a tense showdown between the league’s top two teams.
“They’re a great team, they’re the bar in the NBA and it just felt good to win tonight,” Aldridge said.
San Antonio (59-10) moved within three games of Golden State (62-7) for the league’s top seed with two meetings remaining in April.
Kawhi Leonard added 18 points and 14 rebounds for the Spurs, who have won 44 straight at home in the regular season, tied for the second-longest streak in NBA history with the 1995/96 Chicago Bulls.
San Antonio did it by having Tim Duncan come off the bench for only the third time in his career to counter Golden State’s smaller line-up.
The Spurs normally make opposing teams react to what they are doing, but they have never faced a team like the Warriors. Golden State can still set the single-season record with 73 victories if they close the season 11-2.
“No, they’re just a different type of team,” San Antonio guard Danny Green said. “There’s a reason they were champions last year and the No 1 team right now. They’re an anomaly. They have everybody that can shoot big baskets for them.”
That made Golden State’s futility Saturday that much more surprising. The Spurs held Curry to 14 points while limiting him to 1-for-12 shooting on three-pointers.
“Tonight we executed well on the defensive end, but offensively I didn’t allow us to get comfortable,” Curry said. “I’ve got to play a lot better, manage the game a lot better, especially if certain shots that I normally make aren’t falling. You’ve got to be able to adjust and find different ways to impact.”
Curry was continually harassed by Green, who blocked two shots while holding the MVP front-runner to 4-for-18 shooting.
“I thought Steph missed a few early that he normally makes and he never really got in a rhythm and that happens,” Golden State coach Steve Kerr said.
Curry missed his first seven three-point attempts and was blocked for the first time this season from long range when Green rose to stuff the guard 2 minutes into the second quarter.
Golden State had seven turnovers in the first half and finished with 11 in remaining winless in San Antonio during the regular season since 1997, the season before Duncan was drafted.
Klay Thompson added 15 points for Golden State and Draymond Green had 11.
The Warriors were without starting centre Andrew Bogut, forcing Kerr to start Draymond Green at centre alongside Harrison Barnes and Brandon Rush.
San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich opted to start Boris Diaw at centre in place of Duncan and the change in starting line-up was beneficial immediately, as the 6ft 8in Frenchman made his first three attempts as San Antonio took an 8-5 lead.
The Spurs were then able to slow down the Warriors, limiting the NBA’s highest-scoring team to 37 points in the first half.
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