While it may seem like Veterans Day was created to welcome the Spurs into town, the seasoned vets of San Antonio should not expect a warm welcome come Tuesday night in Oakland. The Spurs have swept the season series against the Warriors in 5 of the past 6 years, while compiling a 52-8 record against the Dubs since 1998. Although the Warriors have added some much-needed depth to their bench, the Spurs have brought back essentially the same team that took home the NBA championship just a season ago. A win over the defending champs is necessary for the psyche of any team with championship aspirations.
Head coach Steve Kerr is set to make his first professional coaching appearance against his former team, where he won 2 of his 5 NBA championships as a player in 1999 and 2003. Kerr's championship pedigree could have much to do with the Warriors' best start in 20 years. The coach will be put to the test Tuesday night, as the Warriors will again be without forward David Lee (hamstring), and possibly guard Klay Thompson (hand), for a second straight game. Klay said himself after the Warriors' loss to the Suns on Sunday that he would return to action Tuesday against the Spurs. Whether the Warriors will play it safe with Thompson or let him loose is still up for debate.
If Kerr and his staff were to take a page out of legendary Spurs coach Gregg Popovich's book, then Thompson would most likely be sitting. Popovich is known to sit key starters in big games, and Tuesday's game against the Warriors may be no different. All of the stars seem to be in line (to sit on the Spurs bench, that is), as San Antonio will be playing its second game in as many nights. The Warriors had a hard time Sunday night replacing Thompson's ability to space the floor and spread out the defense, which in turn allowed the Suns to constantly double- and triple-team Curry down the stretch.
Warriors Keys Key to the Game:
DON'T TURN THE BALL OVER! Easier said than done though, right? The Warriors committed 53 turnovers in just two games over the weekend, and are turning the ball over at a staggering clip of 20.1% of their offensive possessions. Before all of our heads explode, lets remember that the Warriors also lead the league in possessions per game. The turnovers are merely a product of the Warriors' aggressive style of play. More possessions = more points/turnovers. But if the Dubs are serious about making a deep playoff run, or even beating the Spurs tonight for that matter, they will need to cut down on their turnovers.
Some food for thought:
- San Antonio beat Flop City last night in LA, 89-85.
- The victory marked the 500th win by the Spurs' Big Three, which is second all-time to former Celtics greats Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish.
- Kawhi Leonard managed a measly 26 points and 10 rebounds against the Clippers, despite having pink eye.
- The Spurs are 8th-worst in the NBA with 16.5 turnovers per game. The Warriors are last with 22.5 per game.
- The Warriors lead the league with a 94.1 defensive rating, which means they allow 94.1 points per 100 possessions.
- The Warriors look to sell out their 85th consecutive game at the Roaracle.