OAKLAND – After a week off for the All-Star break, the team with the best record in the NBA gets back to work Friday night against a most appropriate competitor.
The Warriors (42-9) take their home floor to face the defending champion San Antonio Spurs, one of only two visitors to win this season at Oracle Arena.
The Spurs (34-20), who posted a 113-100 victory on Nov. 11 in Oakland, are on the second night of a back-to-back set, having lost a grueling contest to the Clippers on Thursday night in Los Angeles.
The Warriors privately concede that a win over the Spurs means more than most, simply because they see San Antonio as the model for their own franchise.
Warriors by 6.5
MATCHUPS TO WATCH:
Andrew Bogut vs Tim Duncan. Though Duncan plays power forward and occasionally will be defended by Draymond Green, it is Bogut who will try to keep the ageless one under control. It might be made easier after Duncan played 33 minutes Thursday night in LA.
Stephen Curry vs. Tony Parker. Each man will have a hard time stopping the other. Parker is a savvy vet who remains one of the quickest players in the league. Curry is a savvy vet who has maybe the deepest offensive arsenal in the league. His edge is in knocking down 3-pointers, where Parker strikes from midrange.
Draymond Green/Klay Thompson/Harrison Barnes vs. Kawhi Leonard. Leonard is a terrific two-way wing that had an atrocious game Thursday will be out to make amends. Though Barnes may get the initial assignment, Warriors coach Steve Kerr will be ready to make adjustments if Leonard has his "A" game early.
KEYS TO VICTORY:
1) Cherish the ball. The Warrior have learned the hard way that few teams are better than the Spurs at punishing teams for their turnovers.
2) Limit the seconds. The Spurs have hurt the Warriors in the past by grabbing offensive rebounds, often long off missed 3-point attempts, and hitting the second shot.
3) Win the bench battle. Both teams have very capable benches, but the Warriors have the advantage of more rest. They have the potential to run on San Antonio's reserves.
"The Spurs seem to be (our) big brother and they just keep beating on us. We've got to just come out and play." – Warriors wing Andre Iguodala
Warriors 7-3, Spurs 7-3.
Warriors: No injuries listed.
Spurs: No injuries listed.
The Warriors have lost the last five meetings and have been swept by the Spurs in five of the last six season series. The Warriors have lost 53 of the past 61 regular-season meetings.