Spurs-Warriors battle for supremacy in Western Conference
Teams have split two meetings this season
SAN ANTONIO – The Golden State Warriors are looking very vulnerable lately and now need to win each of their four remaining games in order to break the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls’ record of 72 regular-season wins. The path to 73 will have to include two wins over the San Antonio Spurs, who visit the Warriors on Thursday.
Golden State lost to Boston on Friday to end an NBA-record 54-game home winning streak and fell again at home on Tuesday in overtime after blowing a 17-point lead against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
"You have so much media attention and everybody talking about breaking the record and you lose focus a little bit," Warriors coach Steve Kerr, who was a member of the 95-96 Bulls, told reporters. "The same thing happened 20 years ago. (The Bulls) didn't play well down the stretch. This doesn't surprise me. It's easy to get lost in all this stuff. We haven't been very dialed in of late.”
The Spurs are only 3 1/2 games behind Golden State in the standings and still have a shot at 70 victories if they win out. San Antonio scratched its way past Utah 88-86 to earn a fourth straight win on Tuesday and may have all of its starters available on Thursday.
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ABOUT THE SPURS (65-12): The assumption has been that San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich would rest starters in the two remaining games against the Warriors, but point guard Tony Parker refuted that notion in a postgame TV interview on Tuesday.
“I think we'll play," Parker said in the interview. "Utah, I thought (Popovich) was going to rest everybody. But we played Utah, so I don't see any reason we're not playing Golden State.”
That win over the Jazz marked the 1,000th career regular-season victory for Spurs center Tim Duncan, making him the third player in history (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, 1,074, and Robert Parish, 1,014) to reach the mark.
ABOUT THE WARRIORS (69-9): Golden State bounced back from its last to the Celtics by cruising past the Portland Trail Blazers 136-111 on Sunday but had the same problems crop up against the Timberwolves on Tuesday that plagued it in other losses this season.
“We’re trying to hit the home run, instead of just a bunch of singles,” Kerr told reporters after his team committed a season-high 24 turnovers. “…Bad coaching. Bad playing. Bad everything.”
The letdown came despite the return of sixth man Andre Iguodala, who sat out the previous 13 games with a sprained ankle.
1. Spurs F Kawhi Leonard is 3-of-14 from 3-point range in the last three games.
2. Warriors PG Stephen Curry, who earlier this season became the first player to hit 300 3-pointers in a season, needs 18 in the final four games to reach 400.
3. The teams have split two meetings this season, with Golden State blasting San Antonio 120-90 at home on Jan. 25.