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Game Preview: San Antonio Spurs vs. Golden State Warriors

Two days after bouncing the defending champs, the Spurs face the first-place Warriors for the last time in the regular season.

NBA: San Antonio Spurs at Golden State Warriors Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

San Antonio has been its best against the NBA’s elite all year long, going 13-2 against the top 4 seeds of each conference and 9-1 against the top 5.

Two of those wins have come over the visiting Warriors, in a pair of meetings with fundamentally different makeups. The first came in October at Oracle, with both teams busy integrating new pieces into their systems, while the second was a battle of skeleton crews in San Antonio earlier this month.

The one thing the meetings had in common? Both were blowout victories for the Spurs, with an average point difference of 29.5.

Tonight will be the last time they play each other in the regular season. And even though Gregg Popovich and Steve Kerr are known for placing little weight in individual games like this, fans will still be watching to see what meaning it will have, if any, if they meet again in the Western Conference Finals.

There’s obviously no reason for Pop to give too much away before the postseason, but it’ll be interesting to see how the Spurs attack another team that lacks a true rim protector. The Warriors are light years ahead of the Cavs defensively right now, but I’ll keep my eyes open for plays like this that bend the D and create open looks on the floor:

Of the two, I might argue Golden State, even on a SEGABABA and without Kevin Durant, may need the win more than San Antonio at this point. The one seed is theirs to lose, and they’ve not yet shown how they can handle the Spurs’ size and lineup versatility. For a team that runs on mojo, it would be something of a statement win.

San Antonio Spurs (57-16) vs. Golden State Warriors (60-14)

March 29, 2017 | 8:30 pm CDT

Watch: ESPN; Listen: 1200 AM WOAI

Spurs injuries: Dejounte Murray (groin)

Warriors injuries: Kevin Durant (knee)

How much does this game matter?

The Warriors still own the league’s best record. They have by far the best net rating, and they’ve managed to get by without Kevin Durant. When healthy, they’ll still probably be the most favored team to win it all, even if they don’t have homecourt advantage throughout the playoffs. Plus, they’re coming into tonight fresh off a game in Houston and still without (arguably) their best player.

For seeding purposes, at least, this game definitely carries weight. The Spurs already own the series tie-breaker and they can square things up in the loss column with a win. The Warriors have the easier record moving forward (only one more game on the road after tonight compared to four for the Spurs), but anything is possible.

Kawhi and Draymond

Tonight’s game will (probably, hopefully) feature two premiere defenders in Kawhi Leonard and Draymond Green. Green will look to hold his own against LaMarcus Aldridge most of the night, but will also be tasked with covering ample ground with his help defense. It’s a big ask of a guy on any night, much less on a SEGABABA. We’ll see what he has left in the tank.

Vegas line: Spurs by 4.5.

Game prediction: Spurs by 7.

For the Warriors fan’s perspective, visit Golden State of Mind.

As always Tony must dominate Fisher.

PtR's Gamethread will be up this evening for those who want to chat through the game. You can also follow along with the action through PtR's Twitter feed.