SAN ANTONIO -- The harder they fall, the bigger and tougher they seem when they push themselves back up again.

Now the Warriors are playoff giants, amazing how that works.

The Warriors didn't just beat San Antonio in Game 2 at the AT&T Center on Wednesday night, though they did that quite convincingly 100-91 to even this series 1-1 with the next two games at Oracle Arena.

More: The Warriors resolved about a million issues, beat back a billion doubts and re-raised the flag of NBA significance.

They're here. They're not going away, even if it very much seemed like it just one game ago.

That's when they kicked away a 16-point lead in the final minutes of regulation in a Game 1 loss.

And then in Game 2, the Warriors held strong, held on and maybe showed they're a little bit better than the Spurs.

"I think for seven-and-a-half quarters, we've played better basketball than (the Spurs) have," Stephen Curry said as he accepted congratulations walking to the team bus. "So you want more to show for it. But the fact that we came back from that collapse and got this win, it makes up for that feeling."

The Warriors have arrived, because they won a game they almost lost, after losing a game they absolutely should've won.

Their interpretation: Part of the reason they won Game 2 was because of the way they lost Game 1.

They could've collapsed in a hangover of pain and frustration. Instead, they used that anger.


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"Yesterday was a bitch of a day for us," center Andrew Bogut said of the reflection time between Games 1 and 2. "We didn't enjoy it. It was a dog day for us. But we forgot about it today, came to the game with a focus."

On Wednesday, the Warriors built another huge lead in the first part of this game, as large as 20 points at one stage.

This time they mainly rode the brilliant shooting and defense of Klay Thompson, who scored 29 points in a blistering first half.

Then the Spurs came rallying back in the second half, the home crowd roared, the Warriors' lead got as small as six points ... and it went no further.

"Game 1 made us better," coach Mark Jackson said. "We didn't panic. We made plays.

"That's a heckuva basketball team that's extremely well-coached and has no quit in them. We don't have any quit in us, either."

In the face of the Spurs' desperate rush, the Warriors made stops, made shots, didn't fumble the ball and generally did nothing similar to what happened in the last minutes of Game 1.

For a young roster in a new situation that had almost fumbled away Game 6 in the Denver series, too, this means something beyond just a playoff victory.

It doesn't guarantee they'll go on to beat the Spurs in this series, but it means the Warriors can play superior basketball at the beginning and end of huge games.

"We needed this win to exorcise the demons," Curry said. "I really think us going through the situation, now we truly realize how big of a deal this is -- what we're doing."

What they're doing is shoving around the Spurs, attacking them, and, oh, by the way, shooting the lights out.

Once Thompson went on his 8-for-9 3-point shooting spree, you could only watch Curry alongside him and think: Now the Warriors have two of these guys.

And, thanks to a handful of Jarrett Jack (a Game 1 goat) and Curry baskets in the late-going, and tremendous defense throughout, the Warriors also have an example of grace under fire.

Now they're headed to Oracle for Games 3 and 4, with the chance to take a commanding lead over a Spurs team that had beaten the Warriors 30 consecutive times in San Antonio.

"This is everything," Thompson said. "It changes the whole dynamic of the series."

This changes everything in this second-round series, just like the Game 1 Spurs comeback changed everything before that.

But this changes it even more, because the Warriors are coming home and standing taller than they've stood in decades.

They took one of the hardest shots a team can take in Game 1, and they're still here. Bigger and bolder than ever now.