The San Antonio Spurs had the upper hand in the first half of the de facto three-game series against Golden State Warriors. The Spurs led Game 5 of the Western Conference Semifinals, 54-51, at the halftime.
A 10-5 run to start the second quarter got the Warriors back in the game after being down by as many as 12 points. The bench, led by veteran Jarrett Jack's nine points, came alive for the Warriors.
Tim Duncan led the way for the Spurs with 10 points on 3-of-9 shooting and added six rebounds. He got off to a strong start in the first quarter, scoring all 10 of his points in the first 12 minutes before the Warriors bottled him up in the second. Kawhi Leonard added nine points on 4-of-5 shooting. The Spurs shot an unsustainable 72.2 percent from the field in the first quarter and finished at 51.3 percent from the half.
The Warriors shot well in their own regard in the first half, particularly in the first quarter with a 52.4 percent mark from the field, including 3-of-6 from beyond the arc. Stephen Curry continued to show signs of injury and was clearly still hobbled by the left ankle that nearly kept him out of action in Game 4. He finished the half with seven points, while Klay Thompson added just two. Harrison Barnes picked up the slack and led all scorers with 15.
SB Nation's Rodger Sherman broke things down before the action began and looked at some keys to the game. Here's a look at them after 24 minutes of action:
How do Klay and Curry do?
Thanks to head coach Mark Jackson, the Bay Area's dynamic duo now has to live up to the "best backcourt in NBA history" moniker. So far, it's been rough going for the young guards who have struggled to find their shot early on, shooting just 4-for-16 from the field combined.
Fortunately, Barnes is emerging as a star and made up for their deficiencies.
Can the Spurs snap out of their shooting slump?
The Spurs looked like they were going to snap out of their shooting slump in a big way in the first quarter, but reverted to their old ways in the second as the Warriors' defense flustered them into tough looks.
It was a tale of two quarters for San Antonio, who shot a blazing 72.2 percent from the field in the first before coming back down to earth in the second with a sub-40 percent performance.
Can anybody grab defensive rebounds?
In such a tightly-contested game and series, extra possessions mean a lot. In the first four games of the series, one team has had 10 or more offensive rebounds seven times. That means that second chance opportunities have been abundant.
In Game 5, though, each team has cleaned up their act on the glass.
Both teams have nine offensive boards combined, and they've also managed to take care of the ball with just nine combined turnovers.
It's going to be a fun second half.