San Antonio, TX — Sunday’s matchup between the two Western Conference, and let’s face it league powerhouses has more to it than meets the eye. Both the San Antonio Spurs (65-14) and Golden State Warriors (71-9) have more than just a regular season victory riding on this one.
For the ever dominant Spurs it means defending this season’s 39 game home win streak. While the Warriors had their NBA record 53 game home win streak snapped earlier this season by the Boston Celtics, San Antonio is riding a 49 game home win streak of their own. Even more significant for the Spurs is the fact that no team has ever gone undefeated at home for an entire season. With a win tonight that would change.
This definitely factors into strategic guru Greg Popovich’s move to start all his players. While Coach Popovich is known for his ability to make in game adjustments to counter his opposing coach, he is also known for seeing the bigger picture, often sitting star players to rest them at times other coaches might not see fit. All signs point to “Pop” wanting this regular season win more than any other in recent memory.
Countering Pop’s all hands on deck approach is his protege and now public enemy number one, Steve Kerr. Kerr has said he would rest players this final stretch unless they decided they could play. Putting the ball in his players court so to speak, this made the Warriors players step up and say they wanted to chase this illustrious record of 73 wins. If they want to break the Bulls’ record they must win their final two games.
Both squads can break their rival’s quest for history while also gaining a mental edge in the playoffs. For San Antonio it would be them telling the Warriors “This is our turf. You still can’t win here.” Tim Duncan has never lost a regular season game at home to the Warriors in his 19 year career. By winning tonight at the AT&T Center, Golden State can show that they can indeed win in San Antonio and that there is a new sheriff in town.
Regardless what happens these teams seem destined to meet in the Western Conference Finals which we know will go through Golden State after they locked up the number 1 seed with a win over the Spurs Saturday at Oracle Arena.
The last time these teams met in San Antonio the Warriors were without Andrew Bogut, Festus Ezeli, Andre Iguodala and James Michael McAdoo. Tonight both teams will be near full strength with only Boris Diaw (strained adductor) out. LaMarcus Aldridge (dislocated finger) is expected to play despite lingering soreness in his pinky which was dislocated at Golden State Saturday evening.
Steph Curry needs 12 three point FG in the remaining two games to be the first player in NBA history to his 400 3’s. He is also on pace to join the 50/40/90 club (.500 FG %, .400 3PT FG%, & .900 FT%).
*Tim Duncan is a late scratch for this game.