LOS ANGELES: Klay Thompson scored 27 points as the Golden State Warriors recovered from an early maul-ing to score a 112-92 victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday (Friday in Manila).
A stormy encounter between the two Western Conference big guns saw Warriors coach Steve Kerr lose his cool on the sidelines before Spurs counterpart Gregg Popovich was ejected late in the game.
Popovich was tossed in the fourth quarter after picking up a second technical foul following an altercation with a member of the officiating crew.
Courtside microphones picked up Popovich swearing at the referee before he was given his marching orders.
Kerr also risked ejection in the first quarter, and needed to be held back by assistant Mike Brown after he was handed a technical foul.
The tirade by the Warriors coach came as the Spurs jumped out to a 28-12 first quarter lead.
“We might as well start every game here down 20 — other than the playoffs last year, that’s been four or five straight games where that’s happened,” Kerr said afterwards.
“They have an edge on us with their size and strength and we weren’t ready to battle early, and that’s why we fell behind. Once we started competing and running and pushing the ball, we got into a good groove.”
The reigning NBA champions gradually began chipping away at the deficit and had closed the gap to 34-24 by the end of the first quarter.
Thompson’s 27 points led the scoring for the Warriors, with three rebounds and two assists.
Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry also weighed in with 20-point hauls as the Warriors improved to 6-3 and climbed to third in the Western Conference.
Durant scored 24 points with eight rebounds while Curry had 21 points. Draymond Green also cracked double digits with 16 points.
“In the first half, our intensity was there, or focus was there, but we just gave up too many offensive rebounds and broken play open 3s — and they hit a bunch of them,” Curry said.
“Against this team if we can get stops, especially when they have their bigs out there and our playmakers rebound and push and run the wings, things will work in our favor.”
LaMarcus Aldridge led the scoring for San Antonio with 24 points and 10 rebounds while Kyle Anderson added 16 points.
Spanish veteran Pau Gasol was the only other Spurs player to reach double figures, with 11 points. The defeat saw San Antonio fall to 10th with a 4-4 record.
Thursday’s defeat marked the first time since February 2015 that the Spurs have lost four games in a row.
“Whether you win or lose, it’s a game of mistakes,” Popovich said afterwards.
“We lost against the best team in the world and there’s a lot of things we need to improve on.”
In Thursday’s other game, Damian Lillard scored a three-pointer with less than a second left on the clock to give Portland a 113-110 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers at Moda Center.
Lillard’s last-gasp bucket was part of a 32-point haul and came just moments after Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had tied it up for Los Angeles with his own three-pointer with 15.5 seconds remaining.
Brook Lopez led the Lakers scoring with 27 points while rookie Kyle Kuzma came off the bench to add 22.
The Trail Blazers improved to 5-4 with the win while the Lakers fell to 3-5.