Stephen Curry scores 36 points to lead the Warriors to a 129-115 victory, their 12th straight in this season’s playoffs. The Warriors now face either Cleveland or Boston.
SAN ANTONIO — Stephen Curry scored 36 points and the Golden State Warriors closed out the Western Conference finals against the injury-ravaged San Antonio Spurs with a 129-115 victory Monday night, becoming the first team in league history to start the playoffs 12-0.
Golden State led by as many as 22 points in cruising to its third straight NBA Finals. The Warriors await a possible third straight championship matchup with Cleveland, which leads Boston 2-1 in the East finals.
“It’s great to be one of the last two teams standing, we’ll see how it goes,” said Kevin Durant, who had 29 points and 12 rebounds.
San Antonio’s only lead came on the opening possession when Manu Ginóbili tossed in a left-handed scoop shot. The Spurs started Ginóbili in what could be his final game with the team. The 39-year-old had maintained he will not ponder whether to retire or return until after the season.
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Unsure if the beloved veteran will return, the crowd serenaded Ginóbili with “Manu, Manu” chants as the game came to a close.
“An amazing competitor, even more fun playing against him,” Durant said of Ginóbili. “He was phenomenal this series.”
Kyle Anderson scored 20 points to lead the Spurs, who were without Kawhi Leonard, Tony Parker and David Lee. San Antonio didn’t go down without a fight despite the injuries.
Anderson dove on the court for a loose ball that the Spurs had tipped away defensively, pushing the ball upcourt to Mills, who fed Ginóbili for a three-pointer that cut San Antonio’s deficit to 108-94 with seven minutes remaining.
The effort made Spurs coach Gregg Popovich smile and clap at times, but the Warriors’ depth and talent proved too much for short-handed San Antonio.
Golden State shot 56 percent and was 14 for 39 on three-pointers. Draymond Green had 16 points, eight rebounds and eight assists for the Warriors.
Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge closed out a disappointing series with his second eight-point effort against the Warriors.
Ginóbili finished with 15 points in 32 minutes.
Durant has the opportunity to opt out of his deal with the Warriors this summer. All expectations are that he will, but for financial reasons, not because he’s unhappy.
“I love it here,” Durant has said. “I love my teammates. I love the city (of Oakland). I love the organization. I love it here. I don’t plan on going anywhere else.”
But Durant does have a decision to make. He will be eligible for the mega max, which should start somewhere around $36 million. But if he’s willing to take a paycut — only a 20 percent increase on his salary this season, starting at $31.8 million — it will give the Warriors more flexibility in their attempt to keep Andre Iguodala and/or Shaun Livingston.