Spurs-Warriors Preview

The Associated Press

Back to nearly full strength, the Golden State Warriors put it all together their last time out.

Somewhat voluntarily, the San Antonio Spurs won't be anywhere near full strength Thursday in Oakland.

Golden State should have a good chance at earning a rare win against the Spurs with the Southwest Division leaders missing Tony Parker, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili.

The Warriors (14-12) had dropped nine of 14 before beating New Orleans 104-93 on Tuesday. Stephen Curry led the way with 28 points and 12 assists while David Lee scored 21 to go with a season-high 17 rebounds.

Golden State also got a boost from Andre Iguodala, who played 17 minutes in his first game back since missing 12 with a left hamstring injury. The All-Star forward had just two points and two assists but figures to play a much bigger role going forward.

"I got tired of watching," he said. "You get a new appreciation for the game, especially seeing your brothers struggle."

Iguodala, averaging 12.1 points and 6.0 assists, is also shooting 53.5 percent - well above his career mark of 46.1.

"He's a guy that makes life so much easier for everybody on the floor," coach Mark Jackson said. "His ability to make plays, his ability to read and react, we missed him. Glad to have him back."

Golden State again played without backup center Jermaine O'Neal, who has missed four straight games with a sprained wrist and is day-to-day.

After losing Parker to a bruised shin in Monday's 115-92 loss at the Clippers, San Antonio (20-5) bounced back two nights later with a 108-101 win at Phoenix. Ginobili scored 11 of his season-high 24 points in the final four-plus minutes while Duncan added 17 and 13 boards.

"I played pretty well," Ginobili said. "In general the minutes I played I scored well and I moved the ball. I think I did OK. I'm very happy that I helped the team win because we are in a tough stretch."

That stretch got tougher when Gregg Popovich announced earlier Thursday that he'd rest Ginobili and Duncan in the Spurs' seventh game in 10 nights ahead of a visit from Oklahoma City on Saturday.

A similar move in a nationally televised game against Miami last season earned Popovich a $250,000 fine.

San Antonio beat the Warriors 76-74 in the first meeting Nov. 8 behind a team-high 18 points from Parker. While the Spurs are 18-2 in the last 20 regular-season matchups, those two defeats came in their last two visits to Golden State.

San Antonio is 53-10 in the series dating to April 1998, including last season's Western Conference semifinals, and must replace Parker's 18.9 points per game - his highest average against any team.

"It makes a difference, but they still find ways to execute and hurt you," Jackson said of Parker's absence. "They've got guys that know how to play and know how to win ballgames.

"It's still going to be a challenge for us. ... They're going to run the same stuff, so we understand that, and we've got to be ready."

Near the top of the NBA with 24.3 points per game, Curry has scored at least 20 in a career-best 11 consecutive games. He didn't play against the Spurs last month due to injury.

Klay Thompson is averaging 15.3 points on 35.5 percent shooting over the last four games, well below his season marks of 20.1 and 46.1. The Warriors are just 5-10 when Thompson is held to 21 points or fewer.

What to Read Next