After starting a three-game homestand with back-to-back defeats, the San Antonio Spurs (37-27) got a much-needed win over the Memphis Grizzlies. However, they barely beat the worst team in the NBA, 100-98. And to make matters worse, they suffered yet another injury as Pau Gasol injured his shoulder in a collision with his brother, Marc.
All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge returned to the lineup after a brief one-game absence but was still visibly bothered by that sprained ankle as he went just 2-of-8 for seven points. And just like they always seem to do, the Spurs bench produced when they team needed them to. Tony Parker turned back the clock to drop 23 points, while Davis Bertans added 17 points in just 19 minutes.
Still, the Spurs will not be in the best of form ahead of their matchup with the Golden State Warriors (50-14), who just continue to rack up the wins. The Warriors extended their current win streak to six games with a comfortable 114-101 win over the Brooklyn Nets.
Stephen Curry showed no lingering effects of the ankle he tweaked against the Atlanta Hawks as he dropped 34 points in 34 minutes and went 6-of-12 from beyond the arc. Kevin Durant had a rare off-night by his incredibly high standards as he went just 7-of-16 from the field. It was just the third time he shot below 50 percent since the start of February. But Klay Thompson and Draymond Green picked up the slack with 18 and 16 points, respectively.
Three keys to the game
Home-court advantage - The Warriors are always a formidable team at Oracle. They just handed down a 112-80 beatdown on the Thunder and also beat the Spurs at home last month, 122-105. It’s pretty hard to see the Spurs preventing something similar from happening given how poorly they’ve been playing recently. They’ve also been quite subpar on the road this season, going just 14-19.
Warriors mindset - There’s something about facing the Spurs that’s brought the best out of the Warriors this season. Aside from that 122-105 win last month, they also rocked the Spurs 112-92 in San Antonio earlier in the year. As they showed in the Thunder game as well, the Warriors have an extra gear they can reach - particularly on defense - that can make them borderline unstoppable. If they go out with that same mindset again, the struggling Spurs will be in trouble.
Spurs firepower - As their first two matchups have shown, the Spurs just don’t have the horses to run with the Warriors. It’s bad enough that they’ll be without Kawhi Leonard, but they’ll also be missing Gasol who was one of their few reliable offensive weapons. It’ll take a monumental effort from San Antonio to make this game more competitive than the first two, but unless someone just catches fire offensively, it’s hard to see that happening.
Matchup to watch
Dejounte Murray vs Stephen Curry - Murray has done fairly well since entering the starting lineup for the Spurs, although he’s coming off one of his worst games in a while with just four points in 18 minutes against Memphis. His matchup against the great Steph Curry will be one to watch just to see if he can hang with the two-time MVP.
Spurs projected starting lineup
PG - Dejounte Murray | SG - Patty Mills | SF - Kyle Anderson | PF - LaMarcus Aldridge | C - Davis Bertans
Warriors projected starting lineup
PG - Stephen Curry | SG - Klay Thompson | SF - Kevin Durant | PF - Draymond Green | C - Zaza Pachulia
Kyle Anderson has been a thorn in the Warriors’ side this season. The slow-moving small forward has worked his way to 18.0 points, 6.5 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 2.5 blocks, and 2.0 steals in two meetings against the champs. With the Spurs once again short of reliable scoring options, he should have the chances to put together another strong fantasy game.
As for the Warriors, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green have supplanted Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant as the team’s most reliable fantasy option against the Spurs this season. The sweet-shooting guard is averaging 26.0 points against San Antonio on 68 percent shooting. Meanwhile, Green is putting up 16.5 points, 6.5 boards, and 8.5 assists against their Western Conference rivals.
It's hard to fathom a Spurs team losing to the same team - even if that team's the Warriors - by 12 or more points three times in a row, but it's just hard to make a logical case for them. They remain lacking in offensive weapons, their best player is likely not at 100 percent, and they have just not been good on the road. While 11.5 points seems like a lofty spread, the Warriors should be able to cover it.
The Warriors extend their win streak to seven games as they once again stomp the Spurs, 115-100.
This game will be broadcast nationally on TNT. Tip-off is at 10:30 pm Eastern.