Spurs - Warriors Preview
The San Antonio Spurs have all but secured one of the top two seeds in the Western Conference, and they're not overly concerned with which one they get.
The Spurs will try to aid their chances of finishing atop the conference by extending their dominance of the short-handed and struggling Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena on Monday night.
San Antonio (42-16) clinched its ninth division title in 12 seasons Saturday with a 105-91 victory over Phoenix. The Spurs jumped out to a 35-13 lead after one quarter and led by 24 at halftime, allowing coach Gregg Popovich to once again rest his starters.
Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan, the latter of whom had a team-best 19 points, didn't play during the final period and for much of the second half. None of San Antonio's 13 active players logged more than 25 minutes.
The win kept the Spurs one game back of Oklahoma City in the West - they're even in the loss column - but Duncan says his team is not obsessed with that race.
"We're going to end up where we end up. There's no reason to sit there and study it," he said. "We're going to play these games as best as we can.
"We're in a great position right now. Hopefully we can end on top. If we don't, hopefully we're number two and we're happy with that."
San Antonio will try to help itself with a 14th consecutive victory over the Warriors (22-37). The Spurs have also prevailed in 46 of 53 matchups and five in a row in northern California.
This time, they'll face a team that's lost three key players and traded away another last month.
David Lee is the latest Golden State starter who's likely out for the season. An MRI on Friday revealed the power forward has a strained groin and a stress reaction.
The Warriors are already missing Andrew Bogut (ankle), Stephen Curry (ankle) and former Spur Richard Jefferson (knee). Bogut was acquired in a deal that sent leading scorer Monta Ellis to Milwaukee on March 14, and Jefferson was shipped from San Antonio to Golden State the next day.
Ellis scored 38 points and Curry had 20 during a 101-95 loss in San Antonio on Jan. 4, their only meeting this season.
Golden State is 4-16 since trading away Ellis and suffered its fourth straight loss Saturday, 112-104 at the Los Angeles Clippers. The Warriors stayed competitive by hitting 15 3-pointers - one shy of their season high - but could never take command after being outscored 24-5 in the first six minutes.
Nate Robinson scored a season-high 28 points and was one of four Golden State players to top 20.
"We're undermanned and undersized, but we fought. There's no quit in us," said swingman Klay Thompson, who had 24 points for the second straight game. "We've been short-handed all year, so it's a learning experience, especially for us rookies."
Manu Ginobili, who sat out the win in January with a broken left hand, has averaged 22.0 points on 52.9 percent shooting in his last five matchups. He scored a team-best 20 during the most recent visit to Oakland, a 113-102 win Jan. 24, 2011.
Former Warriors guard Stephen Jackson, acquired in the Jefferson deal after playing for Milwaukee, has scored at least 30 points in each of his last two games at Oracle Arena.
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