By Ivan Munoz
The San Antonio Spurs got the added energy Gregg Popovich wanted against the Golden State Warriors and a stellar performance from Tony Parker that they desperately needed.
Now the Warriors will have to win two in a row to keep the Spurs from returning to the Western Conference Finals.
Santa Clara sophomore Josh McKie, who is not a Warriors fan, still believes that the series is up for grabs.
“I am not sure who will win at this point. The Spurs are now up 3-2, but I think the Warriors should have won the first game. In my opinion, it is still a toss up,” said McKie.
Parker had 25 points and 10 assists, and the Spurs held the Warriors’ starting backcourt to 13 points for a 109-91 victory Tuesday night to take the lead in their topsy-turvy playoff series.
Despite being outworked and trailing by as many as 18 points in the second half, Golden State Head Coach Mark Jackson believes his team can rebound and win Game 6 at home Friday and force a deciding Game 7 in San Antonio on Sunday.
“It’s doable,” Jackson said. “We look forward to going back home, playing our brand of basketball and putting the pressure back on them.”
Ty Van, a sophomore theater and economics double major, is still betting on the Warriors’ youth to win the series over the experienced Spurs.
“I don’t think that their youth is a disadvantage,” said Van. “I think that them being young is advantageous for the reasons that they’re going to be taking some chances. They have nothing to lose and the Spurs have everything to lose. So I think the Warriors are going to pull it out and win the series.”
The Warriors must put added pressure on Parker specifically.
The all-star point guard was 9-for-16 from the field while continually attacking Golden State’s interior defense for layups and short jumpers when he wasn’t finding open teammates. Parker’s 10 assists came with only two turnovers in 34 minutes.
“It’s big for all of us,” Tim Duncan said of his teammate’s penetration. “It’s big for us because it collapses their defense.”
In regards to defending Parker, Golden State’s Stephen Curry said, “I think I held my own in the first four games, but (Tuesday) I wasn’t locked in. That is inexcusable. This is a big game. I dropped the ball.”
“Putting pressure and defending Tony Parker is key if the Warriors seek to win the series,” said Santa Clara student Brian Thai. “The Warriors have to defend well, but I think they will have an edge over Parker and the Spurs in Game 6 because they will be playing at home.”
The Spurs held Jackson’s self-proclaimed “greatest-shooting backcourt” in NBA history to 6-for-22 shooting. Curry was 1-for-7 on 3-pointers, while Klay Thompson was held to four points and did not attempt a 3-pointer.
Rookie Harrison Barnes scored 25 points, Jarrett Jack added 20 and Carl Landry poured in 16 for Golden State, but Curry was held to nine points.
Curry has not missed any time since turning his left ankle late in Game 3, but the injury seemed to limit his mobility on Tuesday.
“It is sore, but I came in feeling good,” Curry said. “I was pretty optimistic about how I could play tonight, but it didn’t go that way.”
He played only four and a half minutes in the fourth quarter, leaving the game for good with four minutes left.
“It got to a point where (San Antonio) had made plays and I had to look toward Game 6,” Jackson said. “It was just being smart, that’s all. I didn’t want to see (Curry) get hurt.”
Thai is slightly concerned about Curry’s ankles.
“I hope that his ankle problems do not limit his explosiveness. We are counting on him to do big things in the remaining games,” said Thai.
McKie does not believe the Warriors can do it without Curry.
“Unless Curry scores some ridiculous amount of points and goes 10-for-10 from the 3-point line, the Warriors seem to lose,” said McKie.
In Game 5, the Spurs led for all but the opening six minutes of the game and moved one game closer to advancing to their 12th conference final in franchise history.
“Nobody talks about getting this over with like you’ve got a rash,” Popovich said. “Like you can take a pill or put some cream on it, it’s going to be gone. This is a war.”
Contact Ivan Munoz at email@example.com.The Associated Press contributed to this report.