The San Antonio Spurs welcome the Golden State Warriors to AT&T Center for a Saturday night showdown that is not to be missed (8.30pm ET on ABC). There is no doubt January’s first meeting, a 120-90 point drubbing in favor of the Warriors, is on their mind. Beyond that however, the Spurs are looking toward the postseason for the 19th year in a row.
A win against Golden State not only evens the head-to-head with two more remaining, but it also puts the Spurs in position to do what they do best and quietly rise to the top of the Western Conference as the best team in basketball. Granted, they would need an all but perfect end to their season to catch the Warriors, who are four games ahead in the standings, but when it comes to a Gregg Popovich team, never say never.
Especially given that according to ESPN’s Basketball Power Index, the Spurs have a 66 percent chance of earning the win, something that no doubt stems from a little fact that is this: the Spurs are 34-0 at home this season and hold a 32-game winning streak against the Warriors in San Antonio. It’s the second longest such home winning streak against a single opponent in NBA history.
Speaking of history, the Warriors are on the precipice of it. As the best team in the NBA, Golden State finds themselves on pace to actually best the 72-win total set by the ’95-96 Chicago Bulls. They have 62 wins in 68 tries which is four games better than the Spurs and an amazing 15.5 games ahead of the third place Oklahoma City Thunder. One of these streaks has to give, be it Golden State’s record or San Antonio’s record at home.
Before this preview reaches a betting tips conclusion, let’s delve deeper into each team’s strengths and weaknesses to get an idea, beyond the impressive home record of the Spurs and the dominance of the Warriors, to see which has the best chance to pick up the crucial win today.
Spurs Healthy and Playing some of their Best Basketball Recently
Staying healthy has always been key for the Spurs, one of the oldest teams in the league. Even with Popovich assembling a fantastic bench, one which production and efficiency-wise is better than some teams’ starting five, keeping the veterans fresh is easier said than done.
When the Warriors met the Spurs in January , Tim Duncan (pictured), the Spurs’ defensive captain and longest tenured player, missed the contest due to injury. This allowed the Warriors to play pace, something that doesn’t favor the older Spurs, and caused a season-high 25 turnovers for San Antonio.
This time however, Duncan is fully healthy and is turning back the clock in a lot of ways. The Spurs’ turnaround began with Duncan when he was drafted first overall in the 1997 season. Fortunately right now, the soon-to-be 40-year-old is going very well and as a result, the Spurs have lost just twice in the last two months and have won each of their last five.
In fact, Duncan is coming off of a great game in which he scored 11 points, had seven rebounds and added another two blocks. In that same game, LaMarcus Aldridge and Kawhi Leonard netted 22 points apiece and combined for four blocks.
Unfortunately for the Spurs, as good as they are playing, Golden State is playing even better. They are on a seven-game winning streak that has seen them score at least 115 a game. Additionally, in these seven games, Golden State has won by double digits five times.
The Indomitable, Unstoppable Force of Curry and Thompson
Deemed the Splash Brothers for reasons still not quite known, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson are an absolute force. If not the best duo in basketball (you could argue Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook in OKC are), they are certainly among the top two.
Curry and Thompson are just incredible together and they are hugely responsible for Golden State’s historical run. On the season, Curry, a surefire MVP frontrunner, leads the league with 30.5 points per game. Thompson averages just under 22. Against the Spurs back in January, Curry paced all players with 37 points while Thompson added 11.
However, to the greatness of the Warriors, the combined 48 wasn’t even half of the team’s points. The bench had a great night, playing up to the Spurs’ bench, which is normally the one recording huge scoring totals.
Curry and Thompson are both also in the top 10 of three-point field goal percentage with Curry attempting more than anyone at 11 per game. Impressively, on average, he makes almost half. Thompson, attempting just under eight has the second most attempts of all players and he too makes slightly under half. It’s no surprise this is the top three point shooting team in the NBA. Perhaps surprisingly though, is the team who is number two, the Spurs.
Golden State makes just over 41 percent of their threes while San Antonio makes just over 38. However, there is a big difference in attempts as Golden State shoots 31 per game on average compared to just under 19 for the Spurs. In their first meeting in January, this stat played out as San Antonio made just five threes whereas the Warriors had 11. Golden State also soundly won the rebound battle, something that with Duncan back in the lineup, the Spurs should control in this game.
Golden State Warriors vs San Antonio Spurs Betting Picks Predictions
Until these two teams inevitably meet in the Western Conference Finals, this game and the two to follow, will be the most exciting offerings remaining in the NBA season.
Golden State and San Antonio are head and shoulders above the rest of the competition and have done so boasting similar teams and styles. The biggest difference is the age as Golden State is very much a young team while San Antonio boasts many years of collective experience. And with youth comes the ability to run a faster-paced offense, something that is the Spurs’ biggest nightmare in playing the Warriors.
But no one adapts better or makes adjustments better than the Spurs’ head coach. There’s no doubt he’s taken what they learned from the first game and is ready to implement it into a successful game plan in this game.
- Coupled with the team being healthy and playing some of its best basketball lately, as well as the home winning streak, as good as Golden State is, our preview’s pick is to take the Spurs -3pts to win this on the spread @ -115 with Bovada Sportsbook. It is -3.5pts with BetOnline and 5Dimes @ odds of -105 and -110 respectively.
Marilee writes on NFL, MLB, NBA & tennis for USA Betting. Another area of her sporting journalistic expertise is pro wrestling. A native of Philadelphia and a big Eagles fan, she has been a sports writer for many major websites including Bleacher Report and Rant Sports. She started her journalistic career early, as sports editor for her college newspaper.