The Spurs hope to take advantage of a chance to move 1 1/2 games up on the Mavs when they face the Golden State Warriors at the AT&T Center.
San Antonio has won 12 of its last 14, but has just a half-game lead in the conference and the Southwest Division to show for it. Dallas has won seven of 10 to continue its season-long push for home-court advantage throughout the West playoffs.
The Mavericks, though, lost at New Jersey on Sunday to drop a half-game behind the Spurs. Dallas hosts Houston on Tuesday night, meaning the Spurs could have an opportunity to give themselves a small amount of breathing room in the conference race if the Mavs lose.
San Antonio’s history against Golden State suggests the Spurs should at least be able to maintain their lead over Dallas on Tuesday.
The Spurs have beaten the Warriors six straight times, and haven’t lost to them at home during Tim Duncan’s nine-year career. Golden State’s last road win in the series was a 108-94 victory Feb. 14, 1997—four months before Duncan was drafted No. 1 overall by San Antonio.
The Spurs routed the Rockets 92-77 on the road Saturday for their fourth straight victory. Tony Parker scored 23 points and Duncan added 14 for San Antonio, which overcame a 5-for-23 start from the field to defeat a Houston team playing without Tracy McGrady.
“It was absolutely a big win for us,” Duncan said. “But the start looked like it was going the wrong way.”
On Tuesday, San Antonio will again benefit from the absence of one of its opponent’s top players, as Warriors point guard Baron Davis will miss his third straight game. Davis, out with a sprained ankle that hasn’t healed in the last month, isn’t expected to play again before Thursday’s game at Dallas.
The Warriors, though, have won two straight without Davis, defeating Philadelphia 98-89 on Sunday.
Golden State also didn’t have to deal with defending a star player, as the 76ers played their fourth straight game without Allen Iverson. Derek Fisher had 12 points and nine assists in Davis’ place, Mike Dunleavy scored a season-high 28 points and Jason Richardson added 23 for the Warriors.
Golden State appears to be playing with freedom and comfort after a recently completed 1-4 road trip all but ended their postseason hopes.
“I just looked at playing and winning games for us,” said Dunleavy, who scored 24 points in Thursday’s 105-97 win over Minnesota and has the highest two-game scoring stretch of his career. “We really shouldn’t have been paying attention to (the playoff picture) all season long.”
The Warriors haven’t beaten the Spurs since a 97-80 home victory on March 15, 2004.