Spurs aim to quiet Warriors fans again

Published: Sunday, May. 12, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 3C
Last Modified: Sunday, May. 12, 2013 - 12:00 pm

OAKLAND – As the NBA playoffs have progressed, the Warriors' home-court advantage at Oracle Arena has gained more recognition nationally.

As you might expect, the old guard of the San Antonio Spurs was undaunted by that upon the team's arrival in Oakland.

That showed as Tony Parker and Tim Duncan came out with a little extra fire in Friday's Game 3 win over the Warriors at Oracle.

The crowd was loud to start, but in the closing seconds, Warriors fans were headed to the exits as Golden State dropped its first home game of the postseason in four outings.

The second-seeded Spurs managed to do what the Denver Nuggets couldn't in the first round – quiet what can be as raucous a crowd as there is in the NBA.

And the Spurs enjoyed the rude welcome and were glad to silence Oracle.

"It was a great atmosphere," Duncan said after scoring 23 points and grabbing 10 rebounds in the 102-92 win. "More than anything, we knew coming in here it was going to be a great atmosphere."

The Warriors had taken home-court advantage from the Spurs with their Game 2 win. In fact, the Warriors had dominated the first two games, save for a late-game collapse that cost them Game 1.

That was enough to expect Warriors fans to be as loud as ever. But Duncan and Parker (32 points, five assists) know how to handle a hostile crowd.

"We didn't care how loud they got," Duncan said. " … Obviously, we didn't want to get down 20 and get them into a frenzy. I enjoy this environment. I enjoy being in a good gym and being in front of a good crowd."

About the only thing that could quiet Warriors fans besides the Spurs winning was the sight of Stephen Curry limping in the fourth quarter.

Curry, who has been bothered by ankle injures throughout his four NBA seasons, sprained his left ankle with 4:40 to play. Today's 12:30 p.m. start, six hours earlier than most Sunday games in Oakland, gives him less time to receive treatment. His availability will be a game-time decision.

Curry injured the same ankle in the first round. Having received an anti-inflammatory injection twice in the postseason, he is reluctant to do so again for today's game.

"If I can give the team anything, I will play," Curry said. "I feel like if I can get to a point where I'm not hobbling and I can cut how I want to, it doesn't have to be 100 percent, as long as I can be confident that it won't do any further damage. I have a feeling I'll be at that point (today), no problem."

Losing Curry would severely hamper the Warriors' hopes of another playoff upset.

All-Star forward David Lee is still severely limited by a torn right hip flexor suffered in Game 1 of the Denver series. Lee has played 4 minutes, 27 seconds in the last four games, with both appearances coming in home games.

The Warriors would start Jarrett Jack if Curry cannot play. Jack isn't the long-range shooter Curry is and is more prone to dribble to make a play, which can run out the shot clock if he can't find a teammate quickly enough.

The Spurs have no problem taking advantage of a depleted team. They did that in a first-round sweep of the Los Angeles Lakers.

San Antonio would go up 3-1 in the series with a win today and could wrap it up at home Tuesday.

"Game 4s are always huge," Duncan said. "The goal is to get to four (wins) however you can get there. We want to keep them on their heels, set them back as far as we can. If we can come in here and take two, it's great for us."

Follow The Bee's Jason Jones on Twitter @mr_jasonjones and read more about the team at www.sacbee.com/kings.

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