Throughout the second half of that first game and into the next three games, the Warriors outscored the Spurs by 87 points and each passing minute became more of a glimpse into the full potential of this team.
The Warriors thumped the short-handed Spurs 129-115 in San Antonio on Monday (NZ time) to sweep the series 4-0.
However, the result was never really in doubt against the depleted Spurs. Ginobili and the Spurs were eliminated by Golden State in the Western Conference Finals on Monday night, leaving many speculating about the 39-year-old's future. Patty Mills and Pau Gasol added 14 each and Jonathon Simmons scored 13.
"He kind of worked us pretty good these four games", said Draymond Green, who had 16 points, eight rebounds and eight assists for the Warriors.
After 15 years, he might have played his final National Basketball Association game.
So, heading into potentially the final game of his career, Gregg Popovich made a rare change-up - he chose to start Ginobili.More news: Real Madrid open to negotiating with Manchester United over Gareth Bale
The Warriors swept the Portland Trail Blazers, Utah Jazz and San Antonio Spurs, although the Spurs played without star forward Kawhi Leonard after he injured his ankle in Game 1, an injury that turned the series around. They beat the 76ers at full strength, and then Durant went down early in the game vs Washington and missed almost the rest of the season.
Golden State continued the excellent shooting in the second quarter. "This is maybe the best defensive team in the league on top of everything".
The Spurs continued to scratch and claw against the Warriors in the final stanza but could not stop the high-scoring of Golden State.
"I mean, this is a Hall of Fame player who allowed me to bring him off the bench for, I can't even remember now, the last decade or something, because it would make us a better team overall. But I'm hopeful stuff will get figured out".
Popovich ironically placed Ginobili in the starting line-up for game four, a move he said was to honour his time at the Spurs in case he did retire.
"When you lose by an average of 20 points per game in the last three games, you look at them in the eyes and say, 'Congratulations, man, you beat us fair and square".