The Golden State Warriors were the stars of the party in San Antonio on Friday, cruising to a 144-113 victory over the Spurs before an NBA record crowd of 68,323 at the Alamodome.
Jordan Poole led the defending champion Warriors with 25 points off the bench, and Donte DiVincenzo added 22 as Golden State’s reserves came up big.
They were not the names that attracted the raucous crowd to the Alamodome — the Spurs’ home from 1993 to 2002 before their move to the AT&T Center arena.
But that hardly mattered as fans celebrated both teams and the sheer size of the crowd — which shattered the previous record attendance for a regular-season NBA game of 62,046, for a showdown between Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls and the Atlanta Hawks at the Georgia Dome on March 27, 1998.
The Spurs played the game at their old arena as part of the celebrations of the franchise’s 50th-anniversary season.
Old-school Spurs fans relished a chance to return to the ‘Dome, but plenty of those in the crowd were drawn by Warriors star Stephen Curry and his teammates.
Curry scored 15 points on six-of-12 shooting. Klay Thompson and Andrew Wiggins had 16 apiece as eight Warriors players scored in double figures.
It was a morale-boosting away win for the Warriors, who have struggled mightily on the road this season.
And it was an emotional night for Warriors coach Steve Kerr, who played four seasons in San Antonio and won two titles with the Spurs.
“Just the presentation of the game was spectacular,” said Kerr, who received a huge cheer before the game when the Spurs showed a video tribute to him.
“To get an ovation from 68,000 fans gives you chills.”
Curry called the atmosphere “amazing,” as did Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, who said he advised his young team “just to play the game and not worry about everything else.”
Tre Jones led the Spurs with 21 points, and five San Antonio players scored in double figures. But Golden State led by five after the first quarter and never looked back.
“The fans enjoyed themselves, even though we were getting our ass kicked,” Popovich said. “They seemed to be having a hell of a time, so there must have been a lot of beer sales out there.
“It was a great night,” he added.
There was more on-court drama in Indianapolis, where Atlanta’s John Collins tipped in the game-winner with seven-tenths of a second remaining in the Hawks’ 113-111 victory over the Pacers.
Dejounte Murray’s dunk put Atlanta up 108-107 with 2:08 to play. Bennedict Mathurin answered with a basket that gave the Pacers the lead with 58 seconds remaining.
Trae Young drained a three-pointer for Atlanta before two free throws from Indiana’s Buddy Hield knotted the score at 111-111 with 21.5 seconds to play.
There were 2.1 seconds on the clock when Murray managed to corral a miss from Young but couldn’t get his own basket to drop. Collins grabbed that rebound and made the put-back basket — just his second of the night — for the win.
In Sacramento, Domantas Sabonis delivered a triple-double of 19 points, 15 rebounds and 16 assists, along with two steals and two blocks, to lead the Kings in a 139-114 victory over the Houston Rockets.
New York point guard Jalen Brunson continued his recent strong form, scoring 34 points — including four free throws in the final 14 seconds — in a 112-108 Knicks victory over the Wizards in Washington.
Julius Randle added 23 points and 16 rebounds for the Knicks, who withstood a 40-point performance from Washington’s Kyle Kuzma.
Lauri Markkanen starred in Utah’s 112-108 victory over the Orlando Magic, leading the Jazz with 28 points and blocking a three-point attempt by Franz Wagner with 5.8 seconds left.
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