The San Antonio Spurs will host the Golden State Warriors for the second time in two nights, after the Spurs escaped with a 105-100 victory on Monday.
The Spurs are doing pretty well this season, sitting at a 14-10 record (7-7 home), which is above expectations. They are riding a three game winning streak, despite missing LaMarcus Aldridge in those games.
Golden State (12-12, 4-7 away) has now lost two close games in a row (vs Dallas and San Antonio), and they risk falling below .500 for the first time since they were 2-3 at the start of the season. The Warriors have been pretty solid lately, but inconsistency remains a problem as they try to integrate new pieces like Wiggins and Oubre in a team which misses Klay Thompson for the season.
The Spurs will continue to miss Aldrdige. White will also miss the game after playing yesterday, while Walker will probably return. The Warriors will be without a single center for the third game in a row. That didn’t seen to affect them all that much so far, and the Spurs don’t particularly excel in height in order to take advantage (the Warriors actually outrebounded them yesterday).
Last night’s game was a steal for the Spurs. They were down 14 and being outplayed in the first half, but the Warriors got careless with the ball and allowed them back into the game. The Warriors also had their chances late in the game, but missed free throws and silly decisions ended up costing them the match.
A split of these two games would make sense. Golden State looked like the better team yesterday, and are probably a better team than the Spurs – particularly considering that San Antonio is without Aldridge.
Surely one can’t expect the Warriors to turn over the ball 20 times again tonight, which is what did them in yesterday (the Spurs only had 10). There’s no doubt they worked on that on video and in scrimmage, and taking care of the ball will be a main focus.
One might also expect Curry to play a couple more minutes in the fourth quarter, although Steve Kerr defended his decision by speaking about Steph’s long term health. But he knows all to well that he made a mistake. The way Curry has been playing and the way he impacted both of Golden State’s last two games when he came in in the 4th, it’s almost a guarantee that the Warriors would have won both of those games if Kerr wasn’t stubborn to rest Steph so much.
It must be said that the Warriors lost 41 of the last 44 games played in San Antonio, which is an incredible stat. For me, what happened 5-10 years ago holds little relevance (back then the Spurs were by far the better team anyway, and now there are also no fans in the stands) and this H2H doesn’t mean much. Can’t be a mental block either – most players are new, while the ones from the old days are three time champions who have seen and done it all, so surely they aren’t intimidated of playing in San Antonio. But you may have a different opinion, so you be the judge.
I’m backing the Warriors pretty confidently. They haven’t lost three games in a row all season (and Spurs have not won 4 in a row).