The Spurs will face-off against the always scary Golden State Warriors Thursday night in a game that will be nationally televised on TNT. The Spurs come into this game fresh off of a solid win against the Phoenix Suns the night before. San Antonio will be without Tony Parker for their second straight game after he injured his shin in a rough outing against the Los Angeles Clippers. Meanwhile, the Warriors were just reunited with a healthy Andre Iguodala and are no doubt feeling very confident heading into this game.
The Spurs' schedule has been atrocious early in the season. It feels as if every game is an away SEGABABA, and it just so happens that this one is just that. Including this Warriors game, the Spurs will have played seven games in the last ten days. Over the same stretch, this will be the Warriors' fifth. Seven games in ten days is so ridiculous that we don't even have an acronym for it. Maybe we don't need an acronym. I think we could just give it a nickname: Bulls@#$.
With Iguodala injured, the Warriors have struggled. They dropped two of their last three, four of their last seven. But as I mentioned, Iguodala is back. Rusty as he is, Andre is another one of those true NBA professionals that's pretty good at everything. I expect him to simply will himself to a productive game on the national stage.
The Spurs are very familiar with the Warriors as they met in last year's Western Conference Semifinals. Although the Spurs managed to win that series 4-2, they definitely developed that 'appropriate fear' for this team over the series. They already met once this season and the Spurs barely escaped with a victory, 76-74, even though Steph Curry sat out with an injury.
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Curry and Klay Thompson are unbelievable shooters for the Warriors. Both are capable of getting hot in a flash and once they catch, there is little opposing defenses can do to cool them off. It will be critical that the Spurs' defenders make life uncomfortable for both in each minute of the 48.
In their last two game, the Spurs have been very turnover prone. That absolutely cannot happen if they hope to win in Golden State. That crowd gets raucous as quickly as their shooters get hot, and each feeds off each other creating a situation that needs to be avoided at all costs.
Underneath the rim, the Warriors have a fairly formidable force in David Lee and Andrew Bogut. While neither is incredibly impressive defensively, they are large and take up a lot of space. Without Tony Parker to create, the Spurs will probably be facing an uphill battle in this one.
Cory Joseph is going to have to do a better job of creating tonight. He'll need to get into the paint to force that defense to help and shift so that some of our outside shooters can get some clean looks. If the Spurs can penetrate successfully, they'll have a shot. Lee and Bogut aren't mobile so if the ball can skip from side to side, driving lanes and slashing opportunities should open up.
If I were Pop, my pre-game speech would consist of saying, "Don't turn the ball over. Make the safe pass. Get back in transition. Do not leave Steph or Klay for any reason. And, PLEASE, do not turn the ball over. If we can keep the crowd quiet, we will win this game." I'd then look at Manu and say, "Look, we all know you are playing great. Be safe with the ball. If you are going to make a crazy move, get to the rim. Don't pass off of a Manu-move. Let's see if they can beat us if we have less than 10 turnovers." I'd then repeat that until the horn sounded. Once the horn sounded, I'd tell Tony, Manu and Kawhi to get back in the locker-room and wait for the fine.
Obviously, I'm not feeling confident heading into this one. To me, it's an easy schedule loss and I'd have absolutely no problem if Pop forfeited. Forget sitting Tim, Manu and Kawhi. Just don't show up. But Pop apparently doesn't believe in sitting his guys this year so we'll see what he does.
Game Prediction: Spurs by 1.
As always Tony must dominate Fisher, and NBA league pass is recommended for those who are willing to pony up the cash. Almost every Spurs game will be broadcast there, which is especially helpful for those of us who aren't in the San Antonio area. Please don't post links to illegal game feeds in the game thread. Links to illegal feeds are not permitted on SBNation, but you can probably find them out there on the internets if you're resourceful and desperate.
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