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May 14, 2013

No quit in Golden State

OAKLAND, Calif. — Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson placed a prominent poem by an unknown author in every player’s locker before Game 4 against the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday that had a simple title:

Don’t Quit.

Jackson’s gritty Golden State team never has this season. Neither have the four-time champion Spurs, led by a group of veterans who have stood the test of time.

Young or old, it might not matter at this point.

Both teams are writing a new script in the playoffs, giving each other all they can handle in a thrilling Western Conference semifinal that has had more twists and turns than anybody ever predicted. The Warriors and Spurs head into a critical Game 5 tilt in San Antonio on Tuesday night tied at two apiece.

What started as a best-of-seven series is suddenly a best of three.

“It’s a great place to be,” Jackson said at Golden State’s practice facility in Oakland on Monday before the team boarded a flight to San Antonio. “It’s a great story.”

Differing in style and experience, the Warriors and Spurs share at least one common thread: each has reason to be confident and concerned before the next ball is tossed.

Both have blown late leads and lost a game in overtime that they felt they shouldn’t. Each has won once on the other’s home floor, and neither has won consecutive games.

“They’ve already won one here, so there is no reason to be comfortable here,” Spurs forward Tim Duncan said back at team headquarters in San Antonio. “We’re happy we have home court and we’re happy to have a game (in Oakland), but there is no comfort level. We’re 2-2. This next game is a huge game for both teams.”

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