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Warriors vs. Spurs Preview: The Texas tour continues

Can the Dubs get a second win against San Antonio?

San Antonio Spurs v Golden State Warriors Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The Golden State Warriors small ball tour of Texas continues, with the first of two games in two nights against the San Antonio Spurs, a team the Dubs beat 121-99 on Jan. 20.

The deets

Who: Golden State Warriors (12-11) vs. San Antonio Spurs (13-10)

When: 5:30 p.m. PT

Where: AT&T Center, San Antonio, Texas

TV: NBC Sports Bay Area

Projected starting lineups:

Warriors: Stephen Curry, Kelly Oubre Jr., Andrew Wiggins, Juan Toscano-Anderson, Draymond Green
Spurs: Derrick White, Dejounte Murray, Keldon Johnson, DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl

Last results:

Warriors: Lost to the Mavs 134-132 — 2-3 in their last 5 games
Spurs: Beat the Rockets 111-106 — 3-2 in their last 5 games

Team ratings (garbage-time adjusted, per Cleaning The Glass):

Warriors: 110.8 offense (19th), 111.6 defense (15th), -0.8 net (15th)
Spurs: 110.6 offense (21st), 110.6 defense (10th), 0.0 net (14th)

The story

The Warriors cleanly beat the Spurs a few weeks ago, but the tides have turned a bit since then. One of the keys in that game was the athleticism of James Wiseman, who dominated his performance against the much less agile LaMarcus Aldridge.

Now Wiseman, along with the rest of the Warriors center rotation, is injured, forcing the Dubs to play small ball. And Aldridge is also injured, leaving San Antonio to turn to Jakob Poeltl.

Small ball is the key, regardless. The Dubs need to run Poeltl off the floor, and make the game fast and frenetic. And if they do, it will likely be a good night in Texas.

Players to watch

Warrior to watch: Draymond Green.

Small ball has always suited Green, and that’s been on full display of late. In the two games against the Dallas Mavericks, Green had 15 assists — not 15 assists combined, but 15 assists in each game. He totaled 30 assists in 66 minutes, which is utterly ridiculous for a center.

The Dubs will be playing small ball again in San Antonio, and Green can once again try to control the tempo on both ends.

Spur to watch: DeMar DeRozan.

With Aldridge out, DeRozan is the first, second, and third option in San Antonio’s offense. Holding him to an inefficient night — and keeping him from racking up big assist totals — is a huge key.

Matchup to watch: Steph Curry vs. Derrick White and Dejounte Murray.

Green isn’t the only one who has benefitted from the small ball movement in Golden State. The offense is moving much more freely, and it’s bringing out the best in Curry. In the two Dallas games, the two-time MVP splashed in 85 points in 67 minutes, with a true-shooting percentage of 78.5%. It was some of the best basketball we’ve ever seen from him.

White and Murray are two tremendous perimeter defenders, and this should be a fun battle.

Keys to victory

  • Keep DeMar DeRozan uncomfortable
  • Keep the game fast and frenetic, with the ball moving all around
  • Don’t fall into a first quarter deficit
  • Draymond Green be aggressive on offense

Get back in the win column, Dubs.

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