Injury-riddled Warriors limp into game vs. Spurs
But the Warriors' run to back-to-back league titles combined with the Spurs struggle for consistency have taken a little stuffing out of Sunday's showdown at the AT&T Center in the Alamo City between the two teams.
The Warriors (12-5) head to San Antonio after a 112-109 loss to Dallas on Saturday in their third road game in four nights in Texas. The loss in Big D came after as setback to Houston on Thursday.
Golden State played without forward Draymond Green against the Mavericks as coach Steve Kerr decided to give him some time off to heal an injury to his right toe and right foot. Kerr told the San Jose Mercury-News that Green will "probably" also sit on Sunday against San Antonio.
"We decided to give him some time off," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. "We don't know how long it will be. But the toe [injury] has been lingering."
Green also missed two games last week against Milwaukee and Brooklyn after injuring his right toe and foot against Memphis. He also served a team-imposed one-game suspension on Tuesday against Atlanta for disparaging teammate Kevin Durant during a huddle after regulation against the Clippers.
The Spurs (7-7) limp home after three straight losses on the road, the most recent setback a 116-111 defeat to the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday. That loss was San Antonio's fifth in its past six games after the Spurs had won four in a row.
DeMar DeRozan, who has established himself as the Spurs' go-to scoring option, poured in 34 points in the loss to the Clippers while Rudy Gay hit for 19, Bryn Forbes added 17 and Patty Mills scored 12 points for San Antonio.
The Spurs fought back from a 14-point, second-quarter deficit in the game's final minutes before falling short.
"We got better tonight in a lot of different ways," San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich told the San Antonio Express News after the loss. "We keep having those periods where we're making a few unnecessary fouls or screw up some defensive rotations and give up a seven- or eight-point run...But that's part of the learning process for a young team that hasn't played together.
The Spurs' other erstwhile All-Star, forward LaMarcus Aldridge, managed just 10 points on 3 of 15 shooting but did pull down 16 rebounds against Los Angeles. Aldridge had only 6 points (making just 3 of 12 shots from the floor) in San Antonio's loss Wednesday in Phoenix.
He's averaging 11.0 points per game on 31.6 percent shooting from the field in Spurs' seven losses this season. "I don't think I've ever gone through (something like) this ... but I will figure it out," Aldridge said of the offensive slump.
The Spurs went 1-3 against Golden State during the 2017-18 regular season. San Antonio and Warriors also met in the opening round of the 2018 NBA Playoffs, with Golden State taking four-of-five games on their way to an NBA title. The Spurs hold an 107-60 all-time edge on Golden State, including a 63-20 record against the Warriors at home.