The San Antonio Spurs (35-21) snapped their recent two-game losing skid in the most dominant way imaginable. They completely demolished the Phoenix Suns en route to a 129-81 win. LaMarcus Aldridge had his way with the Suns as he dropped 23 points and 13 rebounds in just 28 minutes of work. Meanwhile, both Danny Green and Patty Mills finished 6-of-9 from the field and 5-of-7 on 3-pointers. However, point guard Dejounte Murray sprained his ankle during the game and is set to join a lengthy list of Spurs absentees.
Murray won't be available for their visit to the Golden State Warriors (42-13), who made sure their very rare losing streak did not last very long. They took care of business at home with a dominant 121-103 win over the Dallas Mavericks. The Warriors stars came out to shine as Kevin Durant dropped a team-high 24 points, nine rebounds, and four assists in 30 minutes, while Stephen Curry went for 20 points, seven boards, and eight assists. Klay Thompson added 18 points, and Draymond Green stuffed the stat sheet with 12 points, ten rebounds, six assists, two blocks, and two steals.
Three keys to the game
Spurs’ severe scoring shortage – The Spurs are incredibly shorthanded at the moment. Not only are they still without Kawhi Leonard and Rudy Gay, but point guards Murray and Tony Parker are both out as well. They were similarly without a bunch of players in their first meeting against the Warriors and they got smashed by 20 points at home. Scoring at will against the Suns is one thing, but it’ll be a completely different matter facing a Warriors defense which is so many times better.
Warriors’ star power – Golden State’s offense is pretty good as well. And unlike the Spurs, the Warriors will have their complete arsenal of weapons available for this matchup. Their four All-Stars combined for 88 of the team’s 112 points in their first meeting, and they are fully capable of delivering a similar performance against the shorthanded Spurs.
Bench battle – With so many absentees for this marquee matchup, the Spurs will have to dig even deeper into their famously deep bench in order to find some sort of production against the Warriors. However, it remains to be seen whether the likes of Manu Ginobili or Bryn Forbes can provide enough to give the Spurs enough of an advantage over the Warriors’ reserves, who got a good run out in garbage time against Dallas.
Matchup to watch
Draymond Green vs LaMarcus Aldridge – Green will most likely have the assignment of picking up Aldridge for a good portion of the game, especially with the Spurs playing some smaller lineups recently. Aldridge had a decent game against the Warriors in their first meeting, but he didn’t have nearly enough help. And if Green can slow him down a bit more this time around, it’ll spell even more trouble for the Spurs.
Spurs projected starting lineup
PG – Patty Mills | SG – Danny Green | SF – Kyle Anderson | PF – Davis Bertans | C - LaMarcus Aldridge
Warriors projected starting lineup
PG – Stephen Curry | SG – Klay Thompson | SF – Kevin Durant | PF – Draymond Green | C – Zaza Pachulia
Durant can’t miss at the moment. He’s averaging 27.6 points on a blistering 61 percent shooting from the field over his last five games. With Kawhi still out, he’ll get the chance to continue that hot streak against a Spurs team which doesn’t seem to have too many answers for him. Meanwhile, Stephen Curry has cooled off significantly from his scorching January, but he’s still delivering a consistent fantasy line of 20 points with around five rebounds and five assists.
As for the Spurs, Aldridge is the obvious candidate to go off fantasy-wise. He’s putting up a solid line of 23 points, 7.6 rebounds, 3.2 assists, and 1.6 blocks over his last five games. And of course, Patty Mills will possibly get the chance to play over 30 minutes with the Spurs’ other point guard options unavailable.
It's never a good idea to count out the Spurs, but they just have too many key absentees to keep pace with the Warriors. Golden State have spanked San Antonio by 20 on the road. Don't be the least bit surprised if another double-digit win is on the cards for the Warriors, who are 11-point home favorites.
The Warriors score another sizable win over the shorthanded Spurs, 112-98.
This game will be broadcast nationally on ABC. Tip-off is at 8:30 pm Eastern.