The San Antonio Spurs have handled the Golden State Warriors with Tim Duncan in the lineup. They might be without their star big man Tuesday night when they try to continue that dominance in the teams' first meeting of the season.
Duncan could miss his third consecutive game after spraining his right knee and ankle in a 100-79 win over Portland on Dec. 2. The Spurs (17-3), holders of the best record in the Western Conference, have won both games without him and hope he will be healthy enough to return Tuesday.
Since drafting Duncan first overall in 1997, the Spurs are 33-5 against the Warriors - winning all 19 meetings at home and going 14-5 in Oakland. Duncan, who is averaging 17.6 points and a team-high 8.9 rebounds on the season, has been a major factor in that dominance with career averages of 21.9 points and 12.0 rebounds against the Warriors.
With Duncan out for two games, the Spurs got a pair of season-high 37-point performances from Manu Ginobili, including one off the bench in Friday's 104-98 victory over Utah that extended their winning streak to a season high-tying five games.
"I'm surprised by nothing that Manu Ginobili does," said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, whose team has won 10 of 11. "I just take it for granted that there will be a surprise every game. So I think I need a new word for surprised. He's just the ultimate competitor."
Ginobili is having an outstanding start to the season, leading the team with 21.2 points per game after scoring a career-high 16.5 in 2006-07. He has been used off the bench in all but one game, a 97-95 win over Dallas on Wednesday when he had the first of his consecutive 37-point performances.
Ginobili, though, hasn't fared well in seven games at Oracle Arena, averaging 12.7 points and shooting 42.2 percent from the field, including 31.8 from 3-point range.
The Warriors (11-9), meanwhile, are looking to rebound from a 123-113 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday. It was only their third defeat in 14 games after starting the season with a six-game slide.
"We are right where we need to be," said Warriors swingman Stephen Jackson, who had 18 points Sunday. "We kind of put ourselves in the hole but we are fine."
Jackson missed the first seven games of the season and has been a big part of the Warriors' success over the last 13 games, averaging 21.8 points. He has struggled in nine career games against his former team, though, shooting 35.9 percent and averaging 12.9 points versus San Antonio. Jackson was a member of the Spurs' championship team in 2002-03.
Baron Davis, Golden State's leader with 23.1 points and 8.5 assists per game, will try to help the Warriors beat San Antonio for only the second time in 12 matchups. An injury kept him out of Golden State's last win over the Spurs, 111-102 at home on Nov. 27, 2006.
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