Tip Off: 5:30 PM (PST)
New York Golden State
PG - Tony Parker Stephen Curry
SG - James Anderson Monta Ellis
SF - Richard Jefferson Dorell Wright
PF – Tim Duncan David Lee (questionable)
C - DeJuan Blair Andris Biedrins
Scope the opposition: Get your Spurs fix at 48 Minutes of Hell.
Preview: The Golden State Warriors (2-3) will travel to Texas to take on the San Antonio Spurs (3-2) on Wednesday night. The Dubs are coming off a loss in Phoenix, where the Suns made most of the hustle plays.
With David Lee missing the game due to an illness, the Warriors started Dominic McGuire at power forward and he did an adequate job filling in, scoring 14 points and registering nine rebounds. Nonetheless, Golden State was expected to win the rebounding matchup against Phoenix, and Lee’s absence was a huge blow on that front as the Suns grabbed 16 offensive rebounds.
Also, with Stephen Curry missing time due to foul trouble (he played 23 minutes), the Warriors were often lost on offense and the Suns took advantage by forcing 17 turnovers from the road team.
Needless to say, if Golden State does not rectify these issues, they will be in for a long night in San Antonio.
By the numbers, the Spurs may not be an impressive offensive rebounding team, but with the likes of Tim Duncan, Tiago Splitter and DeJuan Blair; San Antonio has the required size to make things difficult for opposing teams on the boards.
In addition, the Dubs will have their work cut out for them on the interior as the Spurs score 41.2 points per game in the paint (12th in the NBA). Kwame Brown and Ekpe Udoh have shown the ability to defend big men, but they can be taken advantage of in pick-and-roll situations. How the Warriors adjust their coverage against the Spurs will likely determine the tempo of the game as well as its winner.
Andris Biedrins is a decent defender for a big man given his size and reach, but he is far too foul prone for the Warriors to rely on his contributions on defense, especially against a big man like Tim Duncan.
With that said, the Spurs still have some issues to face on their own. Indeed, San Antonio is putting up 99.0 points per game (ninth in the league) but has just recently lost the services of Manu Ginobili due to a hand injury. At 17.4 points per game, he is not only the team’s leading scorer, but he is also the team’s closer as well as one of its top playmakers. His absence means that the Spurs may in fact rely a little more on Tony Parker for his scoring and also to close games out.
The Argentine’s absence gives the Warriors a clear cut advantage in the backcourt; and it’s also worth noting that in an effort to preserve his players for the bulk of the condensed season, Greg Poppovich has three of the five Spurs starters are averaging less than 25 minutes of playing time per game.
David Lee was present for practice on Tuesday but did not participate in drills, thus making his status questionable for the game.
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