This Thursday’s national TV game showcases the defending NBA champs in the Golden State Warriors take on a struggling San Antonio Spurs team. This is their first matchup of the season, the last time they went head-to-head was in the Western Conference Finals, where the Warriors had soundly swept the Spurs.
San Antonio Spurs
The Spurs are in dire need of a win, and tonight is a perfect time for the pendulum to swing the other way for them. The Spurs return home Thursday after four straight road matchups against Eastern Conference teams. The Spurs are also coming off three straight losses, and have been underachieving as of late, as described in the NBA Week in Review here:
Despite their shortcomings lately, the Spurs have some bright spots that should keep them in contention in the West. Injuries to star forward Kawhi Leonard and point guard Tony Parker has been a burden to the team, but forward LaMarcus Aldridge and guard Dejounte Murray have stepped up to cover their production. LaMarcus Aldridge leads the team with 23.6 points per game, while Murray’s 3.7 assists per game lead the team while he takes over the role of distributor on offense. The Spurs’ defense has not been up to par lately, but a good performance against the Warriors can put this team back on the map.
GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS
Thursday is business as usual for the Golden State Warriors. The defending champs are 5-3, which isn’t as hot of a start as the team wanted. However, the Warriors have won four of their last five games, and are currently showing no signs of a championship hangover.
The big three scorers on the team in guards Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson and forward Kevin Durant are dealing, each scoring more than 20 points a game, headlined by Stephen Curry’s 28 points per game. A quiet, yet not so quiet, hustler on the team is forward Draymond Green, the defending NBA defensive player of the year. Green leads the team in assists and rebounds, and is the mouthpiece that brings a lot of stigma, albeit mostly negative, to the team. Together, this unit lead by Steve Kerr looks ready to catch fire again, and are more than prepared to put on a show.
There’s no doubt that two great teams are going head to head on Thursday. But with injuries to key players on the San Antonio side and the cold streak the Spurs are riding, it’s hard to bet against the Golden State Warriors’ mega-powered offense. Though most conference matchups tend to be nail-biters, the absence of Kawhi Leonard will prove costly in a Warriors’ blowout victory.
You can watch this game Thursday at 8pm EST on TNT.