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Game Preview: San Antonio Spurs at Golden State Warriors

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In the 3rd game of the Century of the Season, San Antonio rolls into the Bay Area looking to win...as they do in all their basketball games....mostly.

Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports

San Antonio Spurs at Golden State Warriors

Oracle Arena, Oakland, CA
Date: 4/7/16, Time: 9:30 PM Spurs Time
TV: TNT  - RADIO: 1200 AM WOAI

It's here, the third of four games between the Spurs and Warriors. Thy hyperbole has been flying. The angst over historic finishes is in full effect. ESPN has at least three videos up on who Gregg Popovich might or might not start (spoiler: nobody knows). The new talking point after the Warriors OT loss to Minnesota was "the Spurs could actually win the West!" It's come to that now, I guess.

I'm not sure how much I can tell you about the Warriors you don't already know (aside from the fact that I haven't seen so many people worried about a 69-9 team...ever). I haven't checked, but I'm pretty sure this is one of, if not the, only games between teams with 65+ wins each. Fun fact, there will be at least one more this year. (I know it seems like I can tell the future, and it's true, I can) As far as this game goes, I think it's fairly straight forward. Golden State is coming off of a bad loss to the T-Wolves at home and will be fired up, despite being bored of the regular season. If Pop decides to roll with the whole squad, I fully anticipate him to have a short leash and a quick white flag if things seem out of hand.

The Warriors have seen the Spurs hard switches and desperate 3-point line defense and will be ready for it. I'm not smart enough to know how or even if Pop will counter, but I doubt either Steve Kerr or Pop will be throwing out many new wrinkles in the next two matchups. What I will want to see is how the Spurs handle not having Boris Diaw available. He will be vital in any possible playoff match up and it will be interesting to see how San Antonio handles not having the services of the most interesting man in the NBA.

What I think is far more interesting than the outcome of this game is the possible seeding in the West.  While it is true that the Spurs could win the top seed by winning out and the Warriors losing one more game out of the two they aren't playing the Spurs, I think it's far more likely that the Warriors end the season in first. That means they face the 8 seed. Right now, the likely candidates are Dallas, Houston and Utah.

At first glance, nobody wants to play the Mavericks with that veteran laden team coached by one of the best in the business or even the Rockets with all their talent. That being said, I hope that Utah gets matched up with Golden State. The Jazz are young and will probably lose in 5 or 6 to whoever they face, but it won't be easy, as they proved Tuesday night. Watching the Mavs and Rockets as I write this, I can't see Houston being anything but cannon fodder for the Warriors.  Dallas might be tricky, just because of how good Rick Carlisle is and when Dirk might go crazy.  I'm still hoping for the Jazz to see GS. The real tragedy is the the Clippers or Thunder will probably going to get a completely depleted Memphis team to sweep in the first round. Those guys don't deserve that kind of good fortune.

While tonight's game will hopefully be fun and entertaining, or at least a Spurs win, it won't really tell us much about these two teams should things progress to a playoff matchup. One thing I hope to see is an aggressive and dominant LaMarcus Aldridge. He can dominate when the Warriors go small and he'll need to if the Spurs hope to have any success against Golden State's small ball lineup.

That thought reminds me of a rant I've been saving up: this idea that somebody can guard all five positions in the NBA is laughable and needs to be put to rest. Draymond Green is the latest recipient of this goofy claim.  LeBron James was at one time credited with the same impossible skill set. You know why nobody is saying that about LeBron any more? Because it's not true. There may be players those guys can guard for a short time playing 1 thru 5, but nobody can consistently do that against the best guys.  Nobody.  Sure, maybe Green or James can get the better of guys on a possession or two, but let's be real about this folks, there's too many really good players in the NBA for somebody to be able to guard 5 positions. Glad I got that off my chest. On to the lineups:

San Antonio Spurs (65-12)

Golden State Warriors (69-9)

April 7, 2016

Oracle Arena, Oakland, CA

9:30 PM CDT

TV: TNT

Starters

Tony Parker

PG

Stephen Curry

Danny Green

SG

Klay Thompson

Kawhi Leonard

SF

Harrison Barnes

LaMarcus Aldridge

PF

Draymond Green

Tim Duncan

C

Andrew Bogut

Game prediction: Spurs by 8.

For the Warriors fans' perspective, visit Golden State Of Mind.

As always, Tony must dominate Fisher.