The Spurs put an exclamation point on a perfect month of March with a dominant road win over the struggling and completely lost Indiana Pacers on Monday night. The win was a clear illustration of what San Antonio has done to teams since the All-Star break; they moved the ball with precision and purpose while playing lights out on defense. On the flip side, the loss magnified Indiana's woes, dropping them percentage points below Miami in the East.
Up Around The Bend
As the playoffs quickly approach, the question is worth asking: Can anything stop this Spurs team?
San Antonio has now won a franchise-record 18 straight games heading into tonight's contest against Golden State. The Warriors are sitting in sixth place in the Western Conference, but only 2 games away from ninth and missing they playoffs altogether. It's no surprise that rumors have been circling around the potential fate of head coach Mark Jackson. The Warriors were 45-28 on the season and 6-4 in their last 10 games heading into last night's road contest against Dallas.
Although they're known as an offensive team with a backcourt capable of lighting up anyone in the league, Golden State has recently added another threat to their repertoire by becoming one of the better defensive teams in the NBA. The Warriors are eighth in the league in points allowed and are second in total rebounding. That being said, Golden State is still very scary on the offensive end because of the shooting weapons on the floor. The Warriors are 10th in the league in scoring and ninth in assists per game. The issue, at least offensively, for Golden State has been depth. The Warriors only have three players - Stephen Curry, David Lee and Klay Thompson - averaging in double figures. Harrison Barnes is fourth on the team in scoring with 9.3 points No one else on the roster averages over eight.
While Curry is known as a three-point specialist, the young point guard knew he had to embrace his role as a distributor this season. He leads the team with 23.7 points per game and is averaging 8.4 assists. He also leads the team with 1.5 steals per game and a PER of 23.6. The Warriors' other scorers, Lee and Thompson, average 18.5 and 18.1 points, respectively. While Andrew Bogut leads the team with 10.1 rebounds per game, he isn't a consistent threat on the offensive side of the ball, averaging less than eight points per game in 26.4 minutes of action.
Earlier in the week the lack of offense hurt Golden State in a loss to the Knicks. Curry racked up 32 points in 41 minutes on just 21 shots, but received little to no help from his teammates. Lee was out with a strained hamstring and Bogut missed the game due to a pelvis injury. That put all of the scoring pressure on the backcourt and Thompson wasn't hot enough to help carry the Golden State offense. With the depleted starting lineup, even more pressure was put on the reserves who scored a disappointing 13 total points in the loss. What should be even more worrying for Golden State is that Bogut is expected to be out for the game in San Antonio with his injury.
Jermaine O'Neal and Marreese Speights are players who can look competent at times, but both are suited more for bench minutes at this point in their careers. With those two starting, Golden State's bench relies heavily on Barnes and Draymond Green, both whom have disappointed basketball fans from all over the Bay Area this season.
After San Antonio's dominant March, it's hard to envision any team hanging with the Spurs without being at full strength; especially a team that needs to rely so much on outside jumpers to win games. As good as Golden State has surprisingly been on the defensive end, it's safe to say San Antonio has been better offensively over the past month. The ball movement from the Spurs' offense has been utterly legendary during this winning streak and the Warriors have no shot of slowing them down without Andrew Bogut and a full-strength David Lee. San Antonio should make the Warriors victim number 19 tonight.
Key Bench Players
Warriors perspective can be found at Golden State of Mind.
Game Prediction: Spurs by 7.
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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