SAN ANTONIO -- With about five minutes left in regulation of Game 1 between Golden State and San Antonio, Spurs fans somberly headed for the exits.
They'll remember that mistake forever.
The Spurs erased a 16-point deficit over the final 4:31 to force overtime before winning 129-127 in double overtime on a three from Manu Ginobili with 1.2 seconds left.
Ginobili's shot erased a deficit built on an unlikely bucket from undrafted rookie Kent Bazemore. Bazemore, known more for his celebrating at the end of the bench, put Golden State up 127-126 with a crafty bucket with 3.9 seconds left.
But that won't be what anyone remembers after Jarrett Jack's would-be game-winning three missed at the buzzer.
Despite the epic collapse, Warriors coach Mark Jackson stayed positive.
"Give them credit, they made plays and fought back," Jackson said. "We were careless at times, but I thought it was a great game. We're a young basketball team that will be better at the end of the day for playing against the San Antonio Spurs."
But the loss still leaves the Warriors down 1-0 against those Spurs after controlling throughout most of the Western Conference semifinals opener.
Ginobili was 4-of-19 from the field and 1-of-8 from three before a miscommunication by Golden State left him wide open to win it.
"Gregg Popovich is one of the greatest coaches of all time -- not just basketball," Bazemore said. "That guy probably has a million plays he's able to draw up right there. It was a miscommunication, we have to talk through it better."
San Antonio had a chance to end it at the buzzer in the first overtime too, but Ginobili, guarded by Draymond Green, missed badly.
Golden State led 104-88 before things fell apart. Over the next four minutes -- with Tim Duncan out of the game -- San Antonio went on a 15-0 run.
A bucket from Jack with 29 seconds left in regulation ended the drought for Golden State and made it 106-103, but it was for naught. Danny Green hit a three on the Spurs' ensuing possession to tie it before an off-balance shot from Stephen Curry was off-the-mark as time expired.
So it begs the question: What happened?
"I think we got too predictable," Curry said. "Coach was calling pick-and-rolls that were working all game, but we just didn't have much movement on the backside.
"If they know what you're running and they're able to funnel you where they want you it's tough to make plays. Obviously, if we made shots, it would have seemed like it was working."
The loss marred an incredible performance from Curry. He scored 44 points -- 38 in regulation -- in 58 minutes.
Golden State led 76-70 before Curry went to work midway through the third. He scored Golden State's next 14 points over the next 2:55 as it extended the lead to 90-72. He scored 22 in the quarter on 9-of-12 shooting and was 4-of-6 from deep without committing a turnover.
A change from the norm? Hardly.
Curry has turned the third quarters of these playoffs into his own personal playground.
He's averaged 12.6 points per third quarter over seven playoff games by shooting 69.6 percent from the field (32-for-46) and 65.4 from three (17-for-26).
"I still don't have a good explanation for it," Curry said. "I have the same mindset when I start the game, just try to be aggressive and take shots I think I can make in our offense."
Tony Parker scored 28 points to lead San Antonio, Green added 22 and Duncan 19.
Harrison Barnes and Klay Thompson both scored 19 points for the Warriors. Andrew Bogut had 10 points and 15 rebounds.
Despite outshooting San Antonio 55.0 percent to 38.1 in the first half, the Warriors led just 53-49 at halftime. The narrow lead was largely in part to how the teams fared at the free-throw line, where Golden State was just 5-of-10.
It was a stark contrast to Game 6 against Denver, when the Warriors were 23-of-24 from the line.
Chalk that up to a coaching win for San Antonio's Gregg Popovich, who went to the Hack-an-Aussie strategy with under a minute left in the half. He sent Andrew Bogut to the line twice on intentional, away-from-the-ball fouls in a 19-second span and Bogut was just 1-of-4.
San Antonio was 13-of-14 from the line in the half.
Game 2: Wednesday
Golden State will look to follow its first-round blueprint and even the series at 1-1 on Wednesday before returning to Oracle Arena for Game 3 on Friday.
Popovich said he was hopeful Tiago Splitter would be ready to return, but said its more likely that he won't play until the series heads to the Bay Area.
Golden State won both home games against the Spurs in the regular season, but the second -- which came in the second-to-last game of the season -- came against the Spurs reserves.
Jackson used his fourth different starting lineup this postseason when rookie center Festus Ezeli started alongside Andrew Bogut. Jackson stayed mum on what the starting five would be before the game. It was the first time this year the Warriors started that lineup.
It paid off early as Golden State outscored the Spurs 13-7 over the first 5:32 before the first substitutions were made, but Ezeli didn't return until there were just seconds remaining in the half.
With Harrison Barnes also in the starting lineup, it was the first time the Warriors had ever started a pair of rookies in the playoffs since the stat started being tracked in the 1970-71 season.
- Andrew Bogut had 10 rebounds in the first half -- the third straight half he had double-digit rebounds.
- After making just 14-of-67 (20.9 percent) during the regular season, rookie Draymond Green has found his stroke from deep. He was 2-of-4 against the Spurs, to up his playoff total to 8-of-16. One of Green's misses from deep was a buzzer-beater to end the first half.
- The loss was Golden State's 30th straight in San Antonio.
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