The Spurs continue their Rodeo Road Trip on Saturday, looking to build on their impressive 129-81 victory in Phoenix. This test will be much stiffer than Wednesday’s, as they look to take down the league’s best team, the Golden State Warriors, on their home court, while missing a handful of key players.
San Antonio Spurs (35-21) at Golden State Warriors (42-13)
February 10th, 2018 | 7:30 CDT
Watch: ABC | Listen: WOAI
Spurs injuries: Kawhi Leonard (quadriceps), Rudy Gay (heel), Tony Parker (back), Dejounte Murray (ankle)
Warriors injuries: Jordan Bell (ankle)
Protecting the rock
Everyone knows how dangerous the Warriors attack is, as it’s consistently been one of the top offenses in the league over the course of the last five seasons. The Warriors rank first this season in fast-break points per game (20.7), and the Spurs can do themselves a few favors by limiting live-ball turnovers and keeping their opponents from wreaking havoc in the open court.
As usual under Gregg Popovich, the Spurs do a sound job of protecting the basketball, averaging just over 13 turnovers per game as a team. Facing one of the league’s most opportunistic squads, they’ll have to be extra careful, or this game could get out of hand in a hurry.
Staying composed on defense
The Spurs are a great defensive team to begin with, but when they force teams to play a half-court game, it becomes nearly impossible to score against this unit. The Spurs are second in the NBA in defensive efficiency, allowing only 1.005 points per possession—only the Boston Celtics rank higher, at 0.993 points per possession.
The clash of styles on Saturday night pits the outstanding Spurs defense against a Golden State offense that is second in the league behind the Houston Rockets offensive efficiency, averaging 1.114 points per possession. As mentioned above, the up-tempo offense of the Warriors plays a great role in their efficient offensive numbers, so a stout defensive performance coupled with limiting turnovers should give the Spurs a fighting chance.
The Warriors will likely look to make things as difficult as possible for LaMarcus Aldridge, keeping him from getting touches where he likes to get them and throwing as many double teams as possible his way. It’ll take one — or likely a couple — of Spurs role players to knock down shots and a concerted effort to move the ball to try and keep things lose.
Vegas line: Warriors by 11.
Game prediction: Warriors by 5.
For the Warriors fans’ 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.