Gameday: Warriors at Spurs - 11/8/13


The Warriors flirted with a fourth quarter comeback but ultimately fell short in Friday’s 76-74 loss in San Antonio. Never holding a lead in the game, the Warriors missed out on a chance to tie the game as a shot from Andre Iguodala rimmed out as time expired. Toney Douglas stepped up with a team-high 21 points in the absence of Stephen Curry, who sat out the game with a bone bruise in his left ankle. David Lee added 13 points and 10 boards for his second straight double-double and Andrew Bogut logged six points, 13 rebounds and five assists on a night that saw the Warriors struggle offensively. Now 2-1 on their current road trip, the Warriors play the Grizzlies on Saturday in the back end of a back to back.

It’s a new season and last year’s playoff series really has no impact on Friday’s Warriors-Spurs matchup in San Antonio, but it is hard to completely ignore the recent history between these two teams. As all Warriors fans remember, the Dubs’ 2012-13 season came to an end against the Spurs in a six-game Western Conference semifinal series. That’s not lost on anybody, but the Warriors are a new team and made several moves this offseason with the intention of becoming a NBA powerhouse like the Spurs have been for the past two decades. While it’s certainly a small sample size, the Warriors are off to a 4-1 start to the season and the team is eager to build on that success. A good showing against a strong Spurs squad on Friday would go a long way in establishing the Dubs’ credibility as true contenders in the Western Conference.
Klay Thompson took over when the team needed him most, leading the way to a 106-93 Warriors win in Minnesota on Wednesday. Thompson scored 26 of his 30 points in the second half, including 13-straight for the Warriors during a critical fourth quarter stretch. David Lee also had a big night with 22 points and 15 rebounds and Harrison Barnes provided a lift off the bench with 14 points on 6-for-8 shooting in his season debut. After a slow start that saw them trail by as many as eight points, the Warriors got back into the game with defense and held the Timberwolves to 37.8 percent shooting, their fourth opponent in five games to shoot less than 40 percent. GAME
For a guy who hasn’t played in nearly a month, Harrison Barnes surely didn’t show any signs of rust. The second-year Warrior made his season debut and gave the Warriors a much-needed spark off the bench in Wednesday’s win. He was the main reason that the Warriors’ second unit out-scored Minnesota’s bench 27-10, and the most impressive aspect of his performance was that he was able to do produce at a high level (14 points, 6-for-8 shooting) in just 14 minutes. His minute total figures to increase as he plays his way into basketball shape, and considering his breakout performance against the Spurs in last year’s playoffs, Barnes’ return couldn’t have come at a better time for the Warriors.
If you’re a Warriors fan, and if you’re reading this you probably are, then you have to like what you’ve seen from the team’s defensive effort through the first five games of the season. The Dubs have held their opponents to less than 40 percent shooting from the field in each of their four wins, and it’s not a big mystery as to how that is happening. Andrew Bogut is healthy and protecting the paint as well as any big in the league right now, and Andre Iguodala has been equally as effective as a perimeter defender. Combine that with Thompson’s on-the-ball defense and the improvement of Stephen Curry and David Lee in that area and it’s no wonder that the warriors are in the top-five in several defensive categories, including second to the undefeated Pacers in defensive efficiency, a stat that measures how many points a team gives up per 100 possessions (90.6).
Like the Warriors, the Spurs enter Friday’s conference showdown with a 4-1 record. A model of consistency through the years, San Antonio returns 12 players from last year’s team that made the NBA Finals. As usual, the team is led by Tony Parker and Tim Duncan. Parker leads the team in scoring and assists and is coming off a summer in which he earned EuroBasket MVP honors, while Duncan continues to play at a high level with averages of 15.3 points, 6.5 rebounds and 4.0 assists in just 28 minutes per contest. How the Warriors contain Parker and Duncan will go a long way in determining whether or not San Antonio’s 29-game home winning streak against the Warriors (regular season only) continues.

Injury Report
GSW: Stephen Curry (bone bruise, left ankle) is a game-time decision. Festus Ezeli (right knee surgery) is out.

SA: Matt Bonner (tightness in left calf) is out.




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