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With point guard Stephen Curry out of the lineup, the Warriors theoretically would turn to Klay Thompson and David Lee to lead the offense. Theory did not hold up Friday night in San Antonio.
Thompson, the team's leading scorer at 24 points per game, finished with 11 points on 5-of-16 shooting. Lee, the No. 2 scorer at 20.2, totaled 13 on 5-of-13 shooting.
What followed was an aesthetically unsightly 76-74 defeat that would not have been that close without a game-high 21 points from backup point guard Toney Douglas.
[RECAP: Spurs 76, Warriors 74]
"Toney Douglas did an outstanding job coming in off the bench,'' Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. "He very much impacted the game.
"Our guys did a very good job of battling without (one of) our best players.''
With Curry out as a precaution with a bone bruise on his left ankle, the Warriors offense sputtered and stalled. They shot 41 percent, with season lows in field goals (29) and assists (16). The Spurs shot 39 percent from the field and 50 percent from the line but grabbed 11 offensive rebounds.
This game was partly about tight defense but mostly about teams unable to convert shots they usually make. Tony Parker led the Spurs with 18 points, including the last seven they scored -- despite missing four free throws in the final minutes.
"It was just a game of mistakes -- lots of mistakes,'' Spurs wing Manu Ginobili said.
"It was an ugly game offensively,'' Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "The only guy who could put it in the hole was Douglas it seemed. He was on fire, but everybody else seemed to be struggling. We were fortunate. Anybody could have won that game.''
The Spurs gritted their way to victory. But if the Warriors want to be among the elite -- and they have that potential -- they'll need to win these types of games. And they'll need their primary scorers to show much better.
THE GOOD: Douglas. Usually Curry's backup, he came off the bench and carried the scoring load with more production than anyone had a right to expect.
"We're going to face some adversity," he said. "It's a long season. And even with Steph out, we still had a chance to win the game. Shows the kind of depth we have . . . we didn't even play our best ball tonight."
Center Andrew Bogut had his first double-digit rebound game of the season, snagging a game-high 13. He entered the game averaging 6.4.
THE BAD: Guard Andre Iguodala. He started at point guard and submitted the weakest of his five performances this season. His nine points were unimpressive, his two assists sub-mediocre and his six turnovers simply abysmal.
THE FUTURE: The Warriors on Saturday night move on to Memphis, another house of horrors. They've lost their last nine games against the Grizzlies, and the last eight in a row on the road. Memphis, which released coach Lionel Hollins after losing in the Western Conference finals, is off to a 2-3 start under Dave Joerger, who was promoted from an assistant to head coach.