SAN ANTONIO -- For the first time in these playoffs, the Warriors find themselves on the brink of elimination.

With the best-of-seven series knotted entering Game 5, with a chance to take control of the series and put San Antonio on the ropes, the Warriors blinked. Tuesday's 109-91 loss was far from the nail-biters that defined this series.

The Warriors' defense was scrambled and unfocused. Their star guard, Stephen Curry, was wholly unproductive. Their immovable force in the middle, center Andrew Bogut, looked like the guy who's been battling injury all season.

Thursday, the series shifts back to Oracle Arena, where Golden State hasn't played well this series. The Warriors need a win to force a Game 7 and keep their postseason run alive.

"We'll be fine," coach Mark Jackson said. "We're excited about Game 6. We talked about it being a great series. ... My guys will bounce back."

The first two games in San Antonio, the Warriors dominated all but the fourth quarter and two overtime periods of Game 1. They blew the doors of the Spurs in Game 2, winning their first game in The Alamo since 1997.

But Tuesday, Golden State's defense was hardly the enigma it had been for the Spurs all series.

A big part was the struggles of Bogut. He played just 18 minutes, finishing with six rebounds as the Warriors were outboarded for the first time this series. He tweaked his ankle in the second quarter and sat out most of the first half. He started the third quarter. But he clearly wasn't the same presence inside.

Guard Tony Parker, the engine of the San Antonio machine, looked like the dominant All-Star he did in Game 1. He finished with 25 points and 10 assists in 34 minutes, knocking down his midrange jumper and getting in the lane.

The Warriors blew countless defensive assignments, leading to open looks for the likes of Kawhi Leonard (17) and Danny Green (16). San Antonio shot 51.9 percent from the field and made 10 of 21 3-pointers.

"We just let them get comfortable," said rookie forward Harrison Barnes, who had 25 points and seven rebounds. "We started off the game turning the ball over, which turned into fast breaks, giving them easy looks. Before, every shot they took, even if they got 3s, was contested. (Tuesday) night, it was just break down after break down. ... We were just off."

And Golden State didn't have the fire power to match the Spurs. Curry, who moved much better on his sprained ankle, had his worst game of the postseason.

He finished with nine points on 4 of 14 shooting, missing six of his seven 3-point attempts. He had eight assists but committed four of the Warriors' 14 turnovers. He was exploited on defense as the Spurs went at him repeatedly.

Guard Klay Thompson managed just four points on 2 of 8 shooting, failing to even attempt a 3-pointer for the first time all season. The Warriors only stayed within striking distance because of the play of Barnes and backup guard Jarrett Jack, who finished with 20 points off the bench.

"Me and Klay have to be better for us to get to where we're trying to go," Curry said. "There's no cutting around it."

Barnes scored on three straight trips to turn a 14-point deficit into a 90-82 Spurs lead with 6:12 left.

But San Antonio responded with 10 straight, capped by a 3-pointer from Manu Ginobili. A miss and two turnovers fueled the run, which promoted Jackson to waive the white flag at the 4:04 mark, sitting Curry, Bogut, Thompson and Barnes for good.

"I had to look towards Game 6," Jackson said. "It was just being smart, that's all. ... It was a long night for us. Give them credit."

The Warriors pride itself on bouncing back. It was pointed out a few times they haven't lost twice in a row in either of the two first-round series.

Golden State has faced down-and-out on multiple times. They've dealt with injuries, gone through losing streaks and overcome doubts all season.

Now, they face their toughest task all season: a closeout game against a team experienced at closing out.

"It's not the end of the world for us," Bogut said. It is a tough loss just the way we lost. We ran out of steam and those things happened. A similar situation happened to us in Denver for Game 5 and we bounced back. I anticipate going back to Oakland and bouncing back."

more coverage

inside

Poole: Warriors' playoff lives depend on health of Curry, Bogut. Page 4

Notebook: Barnes scores 25 on day he's named to first-team All-Rookie squad. Page 4

Online extra

Read Marcus Thompson's "Inside the Warriors" blog at www.ibabuzz.com/warriors