The basketball world’s 2-year reprieve from the dominance of the Golden State Warriors appears to have reached its conclusion early on in the 2021-2022 campaign. After nearly sneaking into the playoffs last season as the lower seed no one wants to play against when April rolls around, they”ve come back with a few tweaks. Last year’s success was largely built on one of the league’s best defenses (a top 5 unit) and the ridiculous offensive prowess of scoring champion Stephen Curry, who went on a tear after the All Star Break. That prowess was able to cover up a lot of Golden State’s deficiencies on the offensive end, where they finished just 20th in offensive rating. This year, the defense is just as good, while the offense is once again humming at the level fan’s became accustomed to during their 5-year dominance over the Western Conference. At 19-3, they have the make-up of a team that can make a deep run in the playoffs.
All of this without Klay Thompson, who is expected to return by as soon as Christmas.
San Antonio, who comes in riding a season-best 3 game win streak, is catching Steve Kerr’s group tonight on a SEGABABA after their 2nd game in 3 nights against the equally-dominant Phoenix Suns. Regardless of that, every night is an opportunity to prove something in the Western Conference and for many, Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors are once again that measuring stick.
San Antonio Spurs (7-13) at Golden State Warriors (19-3)
December 3, 2021 | 7:30 PM CST
Watch: KENS 5 | Listen: WOAI (1200 AM)
Spurs Injuries: Zach Collins (Out — Ankle), Devin Vassell (Day to day — Quadriceps)
Warriors Injuries: Klay Thompson (Out - Achilles), Andre Iguodala (Out - knee), James Wiseman (Knee - Out)
What to watch for
- Stephen Curry and Draymond Green have missed just a single game this season, but with this being a SEGABABA coming off two big, hyped-up games against Phoenix and Kerr being a Popovich disciple, this seems like as likely a candidate as any for a “rest” game. Not counting on that to happen is a smart bet, but anything’s possible. When they are out there, their pick and roll attack is arguably the most dangerous in the league and plays a large part in Golden State’s offensive attack.
- Andrew Wiggins has had a career resurgence since coming to the Warriors. The 7th year pro out of Kansas and former No. 1 overall pick back in 2014 has found a home in San Fran these last two seasons as a defensive-minded wing who can hit the open shot and put the ball on the floor effectively when he has to. He may never be an elite ball-handling playmaker like so many thought coming out of college, but with guys like Steph and Draymond running the show, the Warriors need him to be a play-finisher, which he’s done at an efficient level (49/38/72 shooting splits). Case in point: 101 of Wiggins’ 146 made field goals have been assisted on, nearly 70%. Check out his 35 point performance against the Raptors 2 weeks ago for a visual depiction of that stat.
- The Spurs shot the lights out in the first half against Portland before, save for Bryn Forbes, falling way back down to earth in the 2nd half. They’ll need some more of that first half magic to come back tonight if they hope to keep pace with a Warriors team that leads the league in 3 point makes per game (15) and ranks 3rd in attempts (41.1)
- Dejounte Murray continues to prove that he’s more than capable of leading this Spurs’ offense. In a season where he’s averaging 8 dimes a game, his 13 assists in the win over Portland marked the 5th time he’s had double-digit assists this season after registering just 5 total such games all of last season. How he handles the offense while chasing around Golden State’s shooters tonight should be intriguing.
- Gary Payton II has been one of the best stories of the year. Son of a Hall of Famer, Payton has been bouncing around the league since coming out of Oregon State in 2016 and originally going undrafted. While not the best shooter or greatest offensive threat, the 28 year old former Beaver has managed to carve out a role as a defensive pest and overall Charlie Hustle who loves to throw down jams off the bench for the Warriors this season.
For the Warriors fan’s perspective, please visit Golden State of Mind.
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