Spurs-Warriors Preview

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.