Warriors Walk Away Victorious in Emotional Battle

Golden State Warriors

In an NBA playoff season fraught with in-game skirmishes, fines for misconduct, and off-the-court trash talk, Tuesday's game five contest between the Golden State Warriors and the San Antonio Spurs was anything but confrontational. The Warriors walked out of Oracle Arena with a 99-91 victory, wrapping up the series and looking forward to the next round clash with the upstart New Orleans Pelicans. However, on this night, the contest waged against the Spurs was more than just a game. With an air of mutual respect between the two teams, the game had an underlying tone of emotion felt on both sides of the ball.

A pall was cast on the series last week following the death of Spurs coach Gregg Popovich's wife, Erin, from a respiratory illness. As one of the most well-loved matriarchs in the NBA circuit, Erin's sudden passing left a huge hole in hearts of many. Popovich was understandably absent from the bench during Tuesday's contest, missing his third straight playoff game. Shortly after the final buzzer sounded, Warriors coach Steve Kerr approached Popovich's substitute, Ettore Messina, to offer him a warm handshake and support for what was undoubtedly a rough week for the entire Spurs organization.

In addition, it is becoming apparent that this could have possibly been Spurs star Manu Ginobili’s last professional game. At 40, Ginobili has been considering retirement throughout this season, although he has not made an official announcement. The future Hall of Famer came off of the bench to contribute 10 points to his team's effort. As the seconds ticked off the clock, Ginobili had the honors of dribbling the ball to see the game to its conclusion. Recognizing the gravity of the situation, Kevin Durant was immediately at Ginobili's side, offering him a long embrace. Durant's farewell was just the beginning, as shortly after, Klay Thompson, Stephen Curry, and Kerr all showed their love and appreciation for the legend.

Game 1 of the series against the Pelicans will fire up this Saturday at Oracle Arena. The Pelicans surprised the sporting world with their first-round series sweep of the Portland Trailblazers and have been waiting patiently for their next opponent to be determined. Game time has not yet been set.

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