Warriors' veteran tag team makes sure things stayed calm in Game 3 win vs Spurs

Warriors' veteran tag team makes sure things stayed calm in Game 3 win vs Spurs

SAN ANTONIO -- The Illinois Boys don’t do flash or dash. They don’t do much thrilling or spilling, either.

They do reliable.

Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston do smooth hoops. They are seasoned veterans that do what it takes to make the game easier for their teammates, and the Warriors are the beneficiaries.

Both were on their games Thursday night, providing the insulation within a 110-97 victory over the San Antonio Spurs in Game 3 of their first-round series.

While Kevin Durant was leading the team and scoring and rebounding, and Draymond Green was leading in assists and blocks, and Kevon Looney was leading in steals, Iguodala and Livington were leading forces in making sure things stayed tight and together.

“It’s kind of funny how we trade off,” said Iguodala, from Springfield, Ill.

“We flip and flop,” said Livingston, from Peoria.

Iguodala played 27 minutes and made 4-of-9 shots from the field, Livingston played 20 minutes and made 4-of-9 from the field.

They combined for 26 points, 16 for Livingston and 10 for Iguodala. They combined for seven rebound and five assists. Iguodala was plus-12, Livingston plus-7.

Most important, they combined for one turnover.

On a night when the death of Erin Popovich, the wife of Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, was in the minds of all inside AT&T Center, the Warriors needed Iguodala and Livingston to be their usual steady selves.

“To have that veteran leadership in the locker room, I think it’s great,” Draymond Green said. “It was a perfect setup for a letdown . . . but we still wanted to come out and try to win the game. Having that veteran leadership to try to put that to the side, no matter what, knowing that they were going to come out on an emotional high.”

Green didn’t mention Iguodala or Livingston by name. He didn’t have to.

They are team leaders and calming influences in the locker room and on the court. And each does it quietly and without pomp.

Iguodala is 34, in his 14th season, drafted ninth overall in 2004 from the University of Arizona. Livingston is 32, in his 14th season, drafted fourth overall, out of Peoria Central High School.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr, by design, wants one of them on the court at all times.

They swapped in the first quarter, Livingston for Iguodala. They swapped in the second quarter, Iguodala for Livingston. They swapped in the third, Livingston for Iguodala and again in the fourth, Iguodala for Livingston.

“We just let the game come to us,” Livingston said.

Maybe that’s why the work they do seems so smooth and almost quiet.

Warriors upgrade JaVale McGee before Game 3, will start third straight vs Spurs

Warriors upgrade JaVale McGee before Game 3, will start third straight vs Spurs

SAN ANTONIO -- JaVale McGee will make his third consecutive start for the Warriors Thursday night when they take the floor for Game 3 of their first-round series against the Spurs.

His presence allows the Warriors to keep intact their rotation of centers, which during this series has included Kevon Looney and David West, with Draymond Green moving into that role for scant minutes in each of the first two games.

Zaza Pachulia, who started 57 games in the regular season, has not played in either game. Rookie Jordan Bell has played a total of eight minutes, and Damian Jones a total of five.

McGee had been listed as questionable after sustaining a bruise to his left quadriceps in Game 2 on Monday. He did not practice Wednesday but participated in the morning shootaround ahead of Game 3.

In night full of raw emotions, Warriors need road defense to step up vs Spurs

In night full of raw emotions, Warriors need road defense to step up vs Spurs

SAN ANTONIO -- After shaking off a solid blow from the Spurs early in Game 2 Monday in Oakland, the Warriors expect an even bigger fight when the teams meet for Game 3 Thursday night at AT&T Center.

Coverage on NBC Sports Bay Area begins at 5 o’clock, with tipoff scheduled for 6:30.

In sweeping of San Antonio in the Western Conference Finals last May, the Warriors overcame a second-quarter deficit on the road in Game 3. With a 2-0 series lead, they’ll be out to squash any chance of a Spurs comeback in the best-of-seven series.

San Antonio will be coached by assistant Ettore Messina, who is replacing Gregg Popovich. The Spurs were terrific at home in the regular season, posting a 33-8 record, behind only Houston and Toronto.

BETTING LINE

Warriors by 4

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Warriors big men vs. LaMarcus Aldridge: With JaVale McGee’s availability uncertain, the Warriors will have to dig into their rotation in an effort to contain Aldridge, who rang up 34 points and 12 rebounds in Game 2. If McGee can’t go, expect the bulk of the minutes to be divided between Kevon Looney and David West. Draymond Green will take a few shifts and Zaza Pachulia, did not play in Game 1 or 2, could be pressed into service.

INJURY REPORT

Warriors: C JaVale McGee (L quad contusion) is listed as questionable. G Stephen Curry (L MCL sprain) and G Pat McCaw (lumbar spine contusion) are listed as out.

Spurs: F Joffrey Lauvergne (personal business) and F Kawhi Leonard (return from injury management) are listed as out. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich (personal reasons) will not be at the game.

SERIES TO DATE

Game 1: Warriors 113, Spurs 92 Game 2: Warriors 116-, Spurs 101

GAME OFFICIALS

Zach Zarba (crew chief), Rodney Mott, Sean Wright, Tre Maddox (alternate)

SERIES HISTORY

The Warriors won three of four in the regular season, 112-92 on Nov. 2 at San Antonio, 122-105 on Feb. 10 in Oakland and 110-107 on March 8 in Oakland before losing 89-75 on March 19 in San Antonio. The Warriors swept the Spurs in the 2017 Western Conference Finals. The Warriors are 13-6 (including postseason) against San Antonio in the Steve Kerr era.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH

RAW EMOTIONS: Coaches and players on both teams are affected by the death of Erin Popovich, Gregg’s wife of 40 years. Emotions are certain to in the building how emotions will influence the outcome, but they are certain to be a factor. Can the Spurs summon an inspirational, storybook performance?

VENUE CHANGE: The Spurs were a markedly better team at home, as suggested by their splits. They were 33-8 at AT&T Center vs. 14-27 on the road. They’ll get a big lift from the sellout crowd in one of the few arenas where the Warriors don’t expect audible support. They do, however, embrace the role of villain.

ROAD DEFENSE: The Warriors rediscovered their ferocious defense in Games 1 and 2 at home. Aside from a few lapses in the first half of Game 2, they were aggressive and effective and able to smother San Antonio’s offense. To be determined is whether than intensity traveled to Texas.