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SAN ANTONIO — The question was simple, and rookie forward Draymond Green's answer was simply put.

"Is this late-game thing now a thing?" Green was asked.

"Nope," Green said, taking his finger and slicing it across his neck. "That's dead. We're over that." If only it were so simple.

The Warriors' young team has never been on this stage before and it is showing when the pressure mounts. For the second consecutive playoff game, the Warriors blew a big lead late.

Unlike Game 6 against Denver, this time they lost.

They led by 16 points with four minutes left in Game 1 against No. 2-seed San Antonio.

But the Spurs closed regulation with an 18-2 run to force overtime, hijacking the momentum and eventually the series opener, winning 129-127 in double overtime.

"We're just young and inexperienced right now," center Andrew Bogut said. "We're not doing a good job of closing out games both offensively and defensively. I think defensively is where it all starts. We can go into an offensive drought, but we can't allow a team to score 16 straight points."

The Spurs made six straight field goals, including two 3-pointers — one from Danny Green that sent the game into overtime — in the final 3:57. Meanwhile, Golden State was 1 of 7 with two turnovers.

So, coach Mark Jackson, what happened?

"I think overall, you miss free throws, you don't value possessions, you throw away a possession offensively, you don't get back in transition, you don't pay attention to detail defensively, you give up a three, you have breakdowns."

The same happened, basically, against Denver. The Warriors, on their home court, led by 17 with 8:01 left in Game 6.

Golden State missed six of its next nine shots and turned it over nine times before guard Jarrett Jack sealed it in the final seconds with a pair of free throws.

Is a trend developing?

"It's a learning experience but it's a tough feeling," point guard Stephen Curry said. "You play so well for three-and-a-half quarters to put yourself in position to get a win on the road against a great basketball team, and you squander the lead. It is a concern you have to learn from.

"You can't keep doing the same thing, especially as these games in the playoffs become more important.

The biggest game-changing event in the Game 1 double-overtime loss to the Spurs was probably the moment Warriors guard Klay Thompson fouled out. What unfolded afterward was almost too tough to watch.

"It was killing me to watch from the sidelines," Thompson said. "I've got to be smarter than that. I play aggressive, but maybe limit to three or four fouls a night, just for the sake of our team because I need to be out there."

The Warriors weren't missing Thompson's to-die-for jumper. They were missing his defense. As soon as he came out, San Antonio guard Tony Parker took over the game.

"When Klay Thompson left the ball game, Tony Parker was able to create some separation," Jackson said. "I thought Harrison (Barnes) did a very good job on him, but Klay did a spectacular job on him."

Thompson has become Golden State's defensive stopper. His ability to play on-ball defense keeps the Warriors from having to switch and double-team.

Thompson has been especially adept at defending smaller, quicker point guards. He was effective slowing down Denver's Ty Lawson. Monday against the Spurs, he gave Parker fits.

At the 3:57 mark of the fourth quarter, with the Warriors up 16, Thompson picked up his sixth foul. At that point, Parker had played 33 minutes and had 12 points on 4 of 15 shooting.

As soon as Thompson was out, Parker proceeded to score six points on 3 of 3 shooting with an assist during an 18-2 San Antonio run to close regulation.

Who would've thought when the Warriors drafted him out of Washington State in 2011, his value to the team would be defense?

Known for his shooting ability, Thompson has learned to use his size and sneaky athleticism to become a good man-to-man defender. He is especially effective against smaller, speedy guards.

"I think I've got pretty quick feet, people don't realize that," Thompson said. "I have worked a lot harder on my defense since I've gotten to this level."



Jackson said rookie center Festus Ezeli will likely start alongside Bogut again for Game 2. The Warriors did that, Jackson said, to keep Bogut off Tim Duncan early. The bigger lineup would be even more necessary if Tiago Splitter returns to the starting lineup.

Curry became the first Warrior in more than 15 years to grace the cover of Sports Illustrated. He is on a regional cover set to hit stands this week. The last time the Warriors were on the cover was in December 1997 for the Latrell Sprewell-P.J. Carlesimo incident. "World B." Free was the last Warrior on the cover for on-court performance, back in December 1980. ... In the seven playoff games, Curry is now averaging 12.3 points on 69.6 percent shooting in the third quarter. He's made 17 of 26 3-pointers.

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