NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, March 22nd (All times Eastern)
San Antonio Spurs (52-16) at Golden State Warriors (44-26), 10:30 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - It's pretty much lights out for an opponent when the San Antonio Spurs carry a lead into the fourth quarter.
The Spurs are 41-1 when entering the fourth quarter with a lead and will put that mark to the test Saturday against the Golden State Warriors. The Spurs will face a formidable foe in the Warriors and have a 12-game winning streak on the line when the two Western giants collide.
San Antonio had a 69-57 advantage after three quarters in Friday's 99-79 victory over the Sacramento Kings and was led by Marco Belinelli's 17 points off the bench. Kawhi Leonard scored 15 points and both Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili had 14 in the win, the Spurs' fourth straight on the road.
It wasn't a pretty performance by the Spurs and they made 39 percent from the floor, while posting a 5-of-25 effort from 3-point range. Still, the veteran Spurs were able to overcome a tough night shooting and extended their NBA-best road record to 26-8.
"It was one of those games that we couldn't make a shot. The good thing is that they couldn't make one either," said Ginobili. "The defense was great and that's what kept us up 10 almost the whole game."
The 12-game winning streak is the first by San Antonio since Nov. 1-24, 2010 and the team last won 13 in a row from Feb. 13-March 13, 2007.
The Spurs, who sit 1 1/2 games ahead of Oklahoma City for the West's top seed and are headed toward another playoff berth, will wrap up a three-game road trip Saturday and are slated to play two at home versus Philadelphia and Denver.
The Warriors have won three straight and eight of their last 10. Saturday will be the third game of a five-game homestand for Golden State, which has beaten Orlando and Milwaukee on this residency.
On Thursday, the Warriors worked hard for a 115-110 win over the Bucks.
Stephen Curry scored 31 points with 11 assists to lead the Warriors to the win. He made four free throws in the final seconds to seal the victory.
Klay Thompson deposited 29 points for Golden State, while David Lee contributed a 22-point, 12-rebound double-double. Jordan Crawford added 12 off the bench in the win.
"We've got guys that set screens for us, that move the ball," said Curry. "We've got to finish those plays."
The Warriors are 18 games over .500 for the first time in 20 years and last sat 19 games above the mark back in 1993-94 at 50-31.
"We are going to enjoy the ride. We are going to appreciate everything that we were able to accomplish as a team and as a unit because you can take it for granted," said Golden State coach Mark Jackson. "There are people that are 19 years old that have never seen this. That's a wild moment."
The Warriors are currently the sixth seed in the Western Conference and in a bid to make the playoffs for consecutive seasons for the first time since the 1990-91 and 1991-92 seasons. They have been playing tough since the All-Star break with a 13-4 record, while holding the opposition to 43.1 percent shooting.
They are 19-4 when holding the opposition below 40 percent from the field this season. Indiana has held more opponents under that mark (26).
The Spurs have beaten the Warriors twice this season, including once at Oracle Arena in December. San Antonio, which dispatched Golden State in the Western Conference semifinals last season, is 8-2 in its last 10 regular-season games as the visitor in this series.
03/22 10:19:52 ET