Golden State goes for win No. 72 in San Antonio to cap off a marquee slate of games with playoff implications on NBA TV
POSTED: Apr 10, 2016 11:46 AM ET
Two of the greatest teams in NBA history look to keep their regular-season records alive in San Antonio.
NBA TV's tripleheader coverage kicks off at noon ET with a critical Eastern Conference matchup. The Hornets enter today's action in the No. 6 seed, tied record-wise with No. 5 seed Miami, 1.0 game behind No. 4 seed Boston and 1.5 games behind No. 3 seed Atlanta. All three spots are in reach for Charlotte with three games left and you know they would love to move into the No. 3 or 4 seeds to secure home-court advantage in the first round. The Hornets are 2-1 against the Wizards this season, even though offensive leaders Kemba Walker and Nicolas Batum have each shot below 41 percent during all three games. Charlotte will need much more from Walker and Batum tonight against a Wizards team looking to play spoiler. Speaking of that ...
The Wizards were officially eliminated from playoff contention last week after a disappointing, injury-filled season. John Wall did all he could to power Washington, but injuries continually disrupted the Wizards chemistry and made it difficult for the team to find a rhythm. Wall has missed the Wizards' last two games with a sore right knee and he could be sidelined again tonight. That would open the door for Bradley Beal, who has stepped up in Wall's absence to average 25.0 points on 56.8 percent from the field and 45.5 percent from 3-point over the last two games. Expect Beal and the Wizards to be extremely motivated tonight as they look to create havoc in the middle of the Eastern Conference playoff picture (they also host No. 3 seed Atlanta on the final night of the season).
The Mavericks can officially punch their ticket to the postseason with a win over the Clippers on NBA TV this afternoon. It would be the third straight playoff appearance for Dallas and 15th over its last 16 seasons. They currently sit in the No. 7 seed out West, 2.0 games ahead of No. 8 seed Utah, 0.5 games behind No. 6 seed Memphis and 1.5 games back of No. 5 seed Portland. The Mavericks have fought through injuries all season and will have to again tonight after guard J.J. Barea suffered a right groin strain the Mavericks win over Memphis on Friday night. Barea had been on fire before the injury, averaging 22.3 points on 52.9 percent shooting and 6.3 assists over his previous seven games. With Barea likely out, future Hall of Famer Dirk Nowitzki will fall back into his familiar role of offensive leader for Dallas. Nowitzki is averaging 23.0 points on 54.2 percent shooting and 8.0 rebounds over three games against the Clippers this season (1-2 record).
The Clippers locked up the No. 4 seed in the West last week, which has given coach Doc Rivers an opportunity to rest some of his key contributors. Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan and J.J. Redick all sat out against the Jazz on Friday. But the Clippers were still able to pull off the win as veteran Jamal Crawford stepped up to score 30 and power Los Angeles past Utah in overtime. Expect coach Rivers to deploy a similar rest strategy against the Mavericks tonight, and expect Crawford to come out shooting again. There are few players as exciting as Crawford when he finds his rhythm, even at the ripe age of 36.
Inside Access: San Antonio Spurs vs. Golden State Warriors
A behind the scenes look as the Golden State Warriors got their 70th win of the season, making them the second team in NBA history to do so, with a 112-101 defeat of the San Antonio Spurs
Regular season games don't get much bigger than this. The Warriors, 71-9, must win tonight in San Antonio to keep their chase for an NBA-record 73 wins alive. The Warriors kept the record in play on Saturday in Memphis with their closest win of the season, 100-99. The Warriors are 17-2 on the second night of a back-to-back set, with the two losses coming in Milwaukee on Dec. 12 and in San Antonio on Mar. 19. In fact, the Warriors have lost 33 straight regular season games in San Antonio with their last win coming on February 14, 1997. They will look to snap that streak with a win tonight, which would tie them with the iconic 1995-96 Chicago Bulls for most wins in NBA history and set the record for most road wins in a season (34).
The Spurs have their own record in play as they look to become the first team in NBA history to go 41-0 at home during the regular season. The Spurs are currently 39-0 in San Antonio with an average margin of victory of 14.7 points. The home team has won every game during the Spurs vs. Warriors season series, so San Antonio has the upper hand tonight. A loss would mark a third straight defeat for San Antonio, which is unprecedented for them this season. They lost a second straight for the first time on Friday when they fell to the Denver Nuggets, 102-98.
It's sometimes easy to forget how dominant the Warriors and Spurs have been this season amid all the hoopla and storylines that have surrounded them. San Antonio currently has the fifth best point different in NBA history (+11.0 points per game) while Golden State has the seventh best (10.69). They have the top two records in the league, two of the top three offensive ratings (Warriors are first, Spurs third) and two of the top five defenses (Spurs are first, Warriors fifth). They play different styles and at different paces, but when it comes down to it they both win. And they will both look to continue that winning tonight as they hope to keep their historic quests alive and make a statement before the playoffs start next week. You won't want to miss it!
NBA.com staff reports