Having just beaten Golden State in a thriller last night, the Spurs and Warriors are back at it again tonight on a SEGABABA. San Antonio overcame a poor shooting performance and another early double-digit deficit to even up the series 1-1, and tonight’s matchup will represent an opportunity to get a valuable season series win in the Wild Wild West’s playoffs race.
San Antonio Spurs (14-10) vs. Golden State Warriors (12-12)
February 9, 2021 | 7:30 PM CST
Watch: FSSW | Listen: WOAI (1200 AM)
Spurs injuries: Lonnie Walker IV (Available — illness), LaMarcus Aldridge (Out — hip), Derrick White (Out — load management), Luka Samanic (G League), Tre Jones (G League)
Warriors Injuries: Klay Thompson (Out — Achilles), Marquese Chriss (Out — leg), Kevon Looney (Out — ankle), James Wiseman (Out — wrist), Alen Smailagić (G League), Jordan Poole (G League), Nico Mannion (G League)
Battling complacency of the miniseries
One of the quirks comprised by the season’s compressed 72-game scheduled and an attempt to cut down travel time and safety during the COVID-19 pandemic is something that otherwise never happens in an NBA regular season: playing the same team in the same venue twice in a row, sometimes on consecutive nights.
This is the fifth such series for the Spurs this season, and so far they have not gone well for the Silver and Black, who are 3-6 in those nine games, including getting swept in two of the home-home series against the Lakers and Grizzlies, while splitting series with the Rockets at home and Timberwolves on the road.
They got off on the right foot last night, winning the “series opener” for the just the second time. Now they need to stay focused and not rest on their laurels tonight. Going up against the same team twice in a row is tough enough, and that’s only compounded on a SEGABABA, when there’s little time to rest and make adjustments. A win would give the Spurs a valuable season series win over a team they are in direct competition with for both a playoff spot and seeding, so they need to come out focused and ready to go. (They especially need to be prepared for Stephen Curry to come out in nuclear revenge mode.)
Keep attacking on both ends
While the Spurs are short on big men without Aldridge, the Warriors are even more shorthanded down low, and the Spurs did an excellent job of taking advantage by attacking the rim on Monday with 40 points in the paint to help them overcome an otherwise poor shooting night.
Dejounte Murray was a big part of that, as he played with a relentless nature, in part to take advantage of the undersized Curry and lack shot blockers on the Warriors’ end. He also led the charge on defense with a career-high 8 steals as part of the Warriors 20 turnovers, which helped slow down Golden State after a hot start and allowed the Spurs ten more shot attempts to help make up for some of the misses.
One area where the Spurs will need to make some serious adjustments before tonight is on their defensive rotations. While they did well enough when holding their defensive form in the half court, they got burned by too many backdoor cuts from the Warriors and in transition, usually as a result of miscommunicating on switches or being too focused on Curry. When the Spurs made them work for the points for most of the final two-and-a-half quarters, they were the superior team. Eliminate the easy opposition points, and things will be a lot smoother.
For the Warriors fans’ perspective, visit Golden State of Mind.
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.