Best in the West: Spurs vs Warriors
Spurs vs Warriors tonight 10:30PM ET on NBATV
Tonight is the night! It is finally time for the showdown we have been wanting since last playoffs. The Golden State Warriors (40-4) plays host to the San Antonio Spurs (38-6).
Both of these teams are having stand out seasons despite doubts that have been projected about them.
The Warriors, despite having come out of the deadly Western Conference and knocking off the Cavaliers to claim the title, faced a lot of negative talk because they did not have to play the Clippers or the Spurs in the playoffs. They also got by with not having to play a healthy Cleveland team. Then as they have been seemingly untouchable all season, the doubters have still lingered. They faced the criticism that they were not playing against any top-tier teams. They shut that talk down with two victories over Cleveland in less than a month, including a demolition victory over a full Cavalier roster.
On the other hand you have the Spurs, who every year it is wondered when Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobli, Tony Parker, and Greg Popovich are going to finally disband. Then they were questioned as to how LaMarcus Aldridge would fit into their style of play, and whether he could be effective. What about Kawhi Leonard? Can he become the star and leader of the future for this team? Is this team too old to contend? Can they keep pace with the fast, high-flying Warriors? As the questions pile up, the team continues to push through unscathed. They have only two more losses on the season than the “unbeatable” Warriors.
So let’s get into the matchup for tonight.
The Spurs will come into tonight making a peculiar, yet not so peculiar move for them. Tim Duncan is currently scratched from the lineup with knee soreness. This will put the pressure on Boris Diaw, Boban Marjanovic, and David West to fill that role tonight.
As far as the guard spots go, Tony Parker and Danny Green will be at the 1 and 2 spots. Tony Parker will have to be playing at his utmost defensive level. He is averaging 12.7 points per game this season and shooting almost 53 percent from the field. His counter part, Green will also have his hands full tonight. Green is averaging 6.9 points per game, and shooting under 40 percent. This could be a struggle for the Spurs, unless they can get a 4-8 from beyond the arc performance like Green had against the Lakers on Friday night.
The new-found strength of the Spurs team is in their forwards. Kawhi Leonard is averaging 20 points per game this season as he starts to take charge of this team. He also has just shy of seven rebounds a game. Like Parker, Leonard is shooting over 50 percent from the field and almost 48 percent from beyond the arc. On the other hand is Aldridge who is almost averaging a double-double (15.9 PPG, 8.9 RPG). Despite all of the worries about whether or not he would fit this system, he is showing that he adjusted just fine.
Jumping to the other side of the court, the home team looks to extend their home winning streak which is almost a year-long now. Opposite of Leonard and Aldridge, will be Draymond Green, who is making a compelling case for most improved player, and depending on how they plan to guard Kawhi, they have Andre Iguodala or Harrison Barnes. Iguodala only has one start on the year, but is the much better defender. Green brings his 14.7 points per game, 9.5 rebounds, and 7.5 assists up against one of the toughest defenders he will face. However, he has shown the ability this season to play at a level that is equal to that of Curry and Thompson.
Speaking of the Splash Brothers… they could have a field day against a Spurs team that has a much older guard group. Curry and Thompson are averaging a combined 50 points per game, 9 rebounds, and 9 assists. These stats don’t even take into account the fact, that all either of these guys need to do is hit a few shots, and it turns into a 20-point quarter.
The center position will be a combination of Festus Ezeli and Andrew Bogut in a normal lineup. However, if the Warriors find that small ball will work better for them, Green could be spending time at this spot as well.
No matter which way you look at this matchup, it will be one of the most intriguing games of the season.