Shorthanded Warriors Cannot Hang With the Dominant Spurs

Warriors

The shorthanded Warriors just could not hang with the dominant Spurs on Wednesday night. Golden State (46-29) had their backs against the wall from the very tip without starters Andre Iguodala, David Lee and Andrew Bogut. San Antonio (59-16) knocked off the Warriors 111-90 for 19 straight wins on the season. Wednesday night’s win also marked 21 straight home victories for the Spurs over the Warriors.

It was a well-rounded team win for the scorching hot Spurs that saw 11 different players score, including six in double figures. Tony Parker had a team high 18 points to go along with eight assists. Tim Duncan had 15 points and eight rebounds and the veterans set the tone throughout the entire game.

Reserve Marreese Speights lead the Warriors with 22 points and nine rebounds, as he saw more playing time than usual stemming from the absence of Golden State’s starting bigs.

Coming off of a game winner in Dallas on Tuesday night, Stephen Curry dished out 10 assists but was held to just 11 points on 5-15 shooting. Backcourt mate Klay Thompson scored 15 points while connecting on all three of his triple attempts, but overall the Spurs defense was just too much for the Splash Brothers.

San Antonio knew heading into the game that taking out Curry and Thompson would essentially be all that was needed to knock off the short-handed Warriors squad and they did just that.

The Warriors remain in the sixth overall seed of the Western Conference, just one and a half games up on the Phoenix Suns and two games up on the Dallas Mavericks and Memphis Grizzlies.

San Antonio has pushed their overall conference lead up to four games over the second place Oklahoma City Thunder. Their franchise best 19-game winning streak could not have come at a better time. The healthy, streaking San Antonio Spurs look to be the Western Conference favorites, if not the league favorites to win the title.

With just seven regular season games remaining, the Warriors will face just one more playoff team when they travel to Portland to take on the Trailblazers on April 13. With a more than favorable schedule, the Warriors have a golden opportunity to wrap up their second straight playoff berth since the ’90-’91 and ’91-’92 seasons.

But for the Warriors, the question heading into the postseason will be health. Without a healthy Andrew Bogut, the Warriors are a significantly worse defensive and rebounding team. They were out-rebounded by the Spurs 45-33 on Wednesday night. If that trend continues much longer, playoff teams will capitalize on second chance points and run the Warriors right out of the building.

The Spurs on the other hand are heading toward 17 straight playoff appearances, seeking the fifth title that they were just seconds away from a season ago. They obviously haven’t forgotten about it and have come back even stronger this season.

San Antonio, who knocked the Warriors out of the playoffs last year, swept the regular season series 4-0. Add that to their 31 straight home wins and it’s safe to say that they have Golden State’s number.

Commentary by Rich Peters
@Tricky_Roma

Sources:
Basketball-Reference
ESPN
NBA.com

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