No, the Dubs need to find ways to beat the teams they’re jockeying with for playoff positioning, and the San Antonio Spurs fit that mold.
Who: Golden State Warriors (7-6) vs. San Antonio Spurs (8-6)
When: 7:00 p.m. PT
Where: Chase Center, San Francisco, California
TV: NBC Sports Bay Area
Projected starting lineups:
Warriors: Stephen Curry, Kelly Oubre Jr., Andrew Wiggins, Draymond Green, James Wiseman
Spurs: Dejounte Murray, Lonnie Walker, Keldon Johnson, DeMar DeRozan, LaMarcus Aldridge
Warriors: Beat the Lakers 115-113 — 3-2 in their last 5 games
Spurs: Beat the Blazers 125-104 — 3-2 in their last 5 games
Team ratings (garbage-time adjusted, per Cleaning The Glass):
Warriors: 106.9 offense (24th), 110.4 defense (16th), -3.5 net (22nd)
Spurs: 110.4 offense (16th), 108.7 defense (9th), +1.7 net (13th)
It always feels like a fun time when the Spurs and Warriors play, and Steve Kerr gets to face his good friend and mentor Gregg Popovich. And this year, Popovich has put together quite a formidable squad, and has them playing very strong defense.
The Warriors offense, despite boasting one of the best offensive players in NBA history, is still struggling to find third gear. Can they find it against a pesky Spurs D? Or will it be another frustrating day at the bucket-getting office?
Players to watch
Warrior to watch: Kelly Oubre Jr.
The Warriors changed Oubre’s minutes and role on Monday, and put him in the old Kevin Durant spot: exiting early in the first quarter, coming in to start the second, and helping lead the second unit. Oubre responded with his strongest game of the season, pouring in a season-high 23 points on 9-for-18 shooting, while playing tenacious defense.
Can he build on that and keep finding comfort? It’s worth watching.
Spur to watch: Dejounte Murray.
DeMar DeRozan gets the bulk of the attention, and for good reason. He’s averaging 20.7 points and 7.1 assists per game, and looks like he might have a reliable three ball for the first time in his career.
But I just love watching Murray play. He’s got his own pace. He’s subtle, but with hints of wizardry. He can make life hell on the defensive end.
Steph Curry should get the better of him, but don’t be shocked if Murray makes it a compelling fight.
Matchup to watch: James Wiseman vs. LaMarcus Aldridge.
Aldridge is a throwback to an older era, when big men were flat footed, and feasted on jump hooks, turnaround Js from the block, and 20 footers. He’s still a good player, but there is room for Wiseman to feast. Aldridge is slow, and can’t get down the court in transition. He doesn’t rebound well (just 6.1 rebounds per 36 minutes this season), and struggles when pulled out to the three-point line, as well as against rim-runners in the pick and roll.
Wiseman has an enormous athletic advantage in the matchup, but he also may learn a thing or two from a crafty 15-year veteran and seven-time All-Star. It’s a matchup he could dominate, or get dominated by.
Keys to victory
- Play up tempo and let the offense find rhythm with transition buckets and early shot clock opportunities.
- Make sure it’s Steph Curry’s world, and everyone else is just living in it.
- Don’t let DeMar DeRozan live at the free throw line, or at the rim.
Get another winning streak going, Dubs.