Golden State Warriors (0-0, 0-0 Home) vs San Antonio Spurs (0-0, 0-0 Road)
How to Watch?
Date: Tuesday October 25th, 2016
Location: Oracle Arena - Oakland, CA
Time: 7:30 PST
TV: National - TNT (thanks to @CountNoremac for pointing this out) Radio: 95.7 THE GAME
G Steph Curry vs Tony Parker
G Klay Thompson vs Manu Ginobili?
F Kevin F’n Durant vs Kawhi Leonard
F Draymond Green vs LaMarcus Aldridge
C Zaza Pachulia vs Pau Gasol
The Warriors... finally return to the floor for a game that counts for the first time since... well we don’t have to talk about that anymore, do we! It’s a new year, one with a revamped roster (did you hear Kevin Durant plays for us now?) and astronomical expectations.
Steve Kerr trots out one of the best starting lineups in franchise history, featuring four All-Stars and a new agile center in Zaza Pachulia, who hopes to fill in for the departed Andrew Bogut. This team should have no problem scoring, but we saw in the preseason that teams will attack Golden State (GS) on the defensive end where they now lack the rim protection that had become a trademark of years past. Will it even matter though? With Durant, Curry and Thompson the Warriors feature three players that average over 20 Points Per Game (PPG) and could simply out-score their opponents nightly. Combine this firepower with a home crowd that helped GS dominate in Oakland last year, and you have the Warriors favored for one of many times in the coming season.
The Spurs... lost one of their franchise cornerstones in the offseason in the Big Fundamental Tim Duncan. While Duncan has been one of the best players in the last 20 years in the NBA, last year was a quiet way for him go out, watching Duncan average only 8.9 points on 25 Minutes Per Game (MPG). He has been replaced with Warrior-killer Pau Gasol, who found himself an All-Star again last year with Chicago while averaging 16.5 PPG and 11 Rebounds Per Game (RPG). He will now dominate the high-post for a smart skilled Spurs team who are made even more dangerous by a multi-talented passing big man who had his best Value Over Replaced Player (VORP) since 2012 after escaping LA for a contender.
The Spurs have traditionally always gotten the best of the Warriors; however, they watched Golden State take three of four games from them in 2015/16. San Antonio finished last year with 67 wins, which included sitting their stars for many of those mid-season contests. While a normal NBA season would have seen that performance as dominating, they were dwarfed by the Warriors winning a crazy 73 games.
In the Warriors’ wins over the Spurs last year, Golden State averaged 108 points while the Spurs only reached 100 once. In the Spurs’ victory, San Antonio won a defensive battle 87-79 in Golden State’s lowest output of the season. If Golden State is hitting shots, it is hard to see San Antonio keeping up. Last year’s matchups also saw great one-on-one duels between Steph Curry and Kawhi Leonard; this year, Leonard will have a larger task matchup with Kevin Durant. The Spurs can usually count on Danny Green to be a solid 2nd wing defender, but Green will miss this matchup with an injury. Who will get the starting defensive task?
Though this Spurs team has improved from last year’s solid 67-win team, the absence of Danny Green will be too much to overcome while trying to keep up with the Warrior’s weapons. Not even David Lee (#fullsquad) can save San Antonio from offering up their services to be on the wrong side of Golden State’s first victory of the season. I see a 110-95 victory for the defending Western Conference Champs, and a happy opening night for the home crowd.