OAKLAND, Calif. - His spirits down, his left ankle limp and his team's season hanging in the balance, Stephen Curry wondered whether he could recover for the biggest game of his career until a text message popped up on his phone around 2 a.m. Saturday.
Curry called back his mother, Sonya, and vented his frustrations about his latest - and most inopportune - injury setback. Finally, she spoke up to calm his concerns.
"She just reminded me and battled tested me to rely on my teammates and support," Curry said.
What followed was a Mother's Day masterpiece.
Curry scored 22 points to go with six rebounds and four assists on a bum ankle, rallying the Golden State Warriors past the San Antonio Spurs, 97-87, in overtime yesterday to even the Western Conference semifinal at two games apiece.
"It seems like every time you get on a roll and feel somewhat healthy there's a setback," said Curry, who shot 7-for-15 from the floor, including five of 10 from three-point range. "And it just tests you. It changes your routine. It changes your outlook on the game, your preparation. You've got to deal with the injury and the adjustments your making as a team."
Game 5 is Tuesday in San Antonio.
Curry and the Warriors overcame the obstacles with contributions from all over. Rookie Harrison Barnes had a career-high 26 points and 10 rebounds, Jarrett Jack added 24 points in reserve and Andrew Bogut grabbed 18 rebounds to help Golden State erase an eight-point deficit in the final 5 minutes of regulation. The Warriors scored the first nine points of overtime.
Even Warriors coach Mark Jackson doubted whether Curry could play, especially after his star point guard took an anti-inflammatory injection in the morning to ease the soreness in his sprained ankle and still had trouble getting loose. Jackson cornered Curry to see how he felt.
"He said, 'I'm going to give you what I got, coach,' That's not the language he speaks. I knew right away that he was not 100 percent," said Jackson. "Once again, it's that same spirit flowing through that locker room that refuses to quit."
Even for all of the theater Curry provided, the Spurs seized control of a sloppy slugfest at the start until going cold shooting when it mattered most.
Tony Parker, wearing a black sleeve around his bruised left calf, poured in 17 points on 6-for-17 shooting but never broke free the way he did in scoring 32 points the previous contest, saying the injury limited his ability to elevate. Manu Ginobili had 21 points and Tim Duncan added 19 points and 15 rebounds as the Spurs ran out of steam in the end.
"We put ourselves in a position to win the game and it's frustrating because we feel like we gave it away," Duncan said.
Golden State outshot San Antonio 38 to 35.5 to percent. The Warriors also outrebounded the Spurs, 65-51.
"They did a good job in overtime. Just as simple as that," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said.
Ginobili hit a mid-range jumper and a three, and Kawhi Leonard put back a rebound for an easy layup to put the Spurs ahead, 80-72, with 4:49 left in the fourth quarter. With the series slipping away from the Warriors, their home sellout crowd sat down and fell silent for one of the few times in the fourth quarter all postseason.
Jack hit three jumpers and Klay Thompson added another to pull the Warriors even with less than a minute to play in regulation. After Parker provided a jumper to put the Spurs ahead, 84-82, Thompson dribbled to his right and banked in the tying shot over Leonard with 30 seconds left.