Gregg Popovich was home with his family following the death of his wife, and they hadn't played the defending champs close in the first three games.
Popovich and his wife Erin, 67, had been married for four decades and had two children and two two grandchildren.
Lead assistant Ettore Messina did lead the Spurs again, but to a much different showing than in Game 3.
The Warriors had won each of the first three games of the best-of-seven series by double-digit margins, but the Spurs were in no mood to get pushed around again Sunday.
One of the Spurs who goes back furthest with Popovich, Manu Ginobili, was instrumental in the victory. Neither teams were particularly efficient, but the Spurs were able to find open shooters to help them to their highest scoring quarter in the series. Golden State's 61 rebounds are the most by a team in a playoff loss since the Phoenix Suns lost Game 5 of the 1995 Western Conference semifinals to the Houston Rockets. San Antonio made 15 of 28 3-point attempts. And despite Kevin Durant going for 34 points and 13 rebounds, it wasn't enough to finish off the Spurs.
Long story short, it was a complete backbreaker for the Warriors, demoralizing them to the point that they lost their composure and focus. Draymond Green flirted with a triple-double, scoring nine points with 18 rebounds and nine assists, but Golden State shot just 38 per cent from the floor.
With the momentum shifted in their favor, the Warriors pulled to within two with a little less than six minutes left in the game. "Now, we have a few hours to feel good about this win, and tomorrow [Monday], we'll start thinking about game five". An even more interesting storyline to add to this is the fact that the New Orleans Pelicans, who the Warriors would play in round two, just wrapped up a clean sweep of the Portland Trail Blazers, so they'll get extra time off.
Patty Mills, driving against the Warriors' Andre Iguodala in the Spurs' 103-90 win in Game 4 of the first-round playoff series Sunday, hit three three-pointers.More news: Sting and Shaggy Perform at Queen's Elizabeth's Birthday Party
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Ten of Ginobili's points came in the final six minutes of the fourth quarter, with the Spurs trying to hold off a surging Warriors squad. "Poor execution for us means the ball is not moving".
"The feeling in the last quarter was great because we were all doing good and we were all fired up".
At the same time, bad habits are hard to break.
"Let this be a lesson to us that we have to come out and take care of business", Livingston said.
One of those shots was an Aldridge 3-pointer that he banked in late in the fourth quarter with the Spurs in desperate need of a basket. Ginobili also passed Reggie Miller for third in career 3-pointers in playoff history.
Dejounte Murray found his shooting touch for the Spurs. The Warriors squandered an opportunity to sweep their first-round series against the San Antonio Spurs. And while they are not as strong as they've been in the recent past, they typically don't wilt.
The Warriors shot 34-of-90 from the field, committed 16 turnovers and had only 19 assists.
And so for almost an entire first half, the Warriors played with the same kind of complacency that plagued them periodically through the 2017-18 regular season. Thompson missed four of his first five shots, which included an airballed mid-range jumper.