By the end, Golden State point guard Tim Hardaway stood taller than San Antonio’s 7-foot-1 center David Robinson.
Hardaway scored 32 points and the seventh-seeded Warriors eliminated Robinson and the Spurs in four games with a 110-97 victory Friday night in the first round of the NBA playoffs.
“I just tried to play my normal game,” Hardaway said. “I was just trying to get the offense going. I was pumped up all night. I didn’t sleep last night. I woke up, my stomach was turning, and I was ready to play the game.”
Staying with their four-guard offense most of the way, the Warriors defeated the Midwest Division champions for the third game in a row and advanced into the Western Conference semifinals against the Lakers. Game 1 of that series is scheduled for Sunday at the Forum at 5 p.m.
“We won’t have much preparation time (for the Lakers),” Warrior Coach Don Nelson said. “We have a good idea what we’re going to do. We’re just going to have to wing it.”
Golden State led, 80-64, in the third quarter and 82-73 going into the fourth before the Spurs pulled within 84-79 on Willie Anderson’s driving layup with 9:53 to play.
After a timeout by the Warriors, Milt Richmond’s 18-foot basket, followed by a three-pointer by Hardaway, put Golden State ahead, 89-79, with 8:59 remaining. Another three-point basket by Hardaway with 6:05 to play made it 92-82 before Sarunas Marciulionis, making an 18-foot jump shot falling onto the seat of his pants, converted a three-point play to make the Warriors’ lead 95-84 with 5:16 left.
San Antonio could not get closer than six points the rest of the way as the Warriors made nine of 10 free throws down the stretch.
“Their defense didn’t really seem all that different than what I saw all season,” Robinson said. “We just let them get aggressive and take the game away from us. This loss is a tough one and I don’t feel I fulfilled my responsibility.”
Chris Mullin added 23 points and Richmond had 17 for the Warriors.
Sean Elliott scored 23 points to lead San Antonio. Strickland added 21 points and Robinson had 18.