The last two days have been a roller coaster for the San Antonio Spurs (3-2) as they lost guard Manu Ginobili to a broken hand in their loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday, then the team made three roster changes on Tuesday.
Just because Ginobili’s out doesn’t mean the season is over, the Spurs must press forward with the team they currently have in order to maintain a winning record in the Western Conference.
The Spurs will host the Golden State Warriors (2-3) led by the guard duo of Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry. Forward David Lee is questionable to play due to illness.
The Warriors have yet to win a road game and are looking to end a two game losing skid. The Warriors have two impressive wins by defeating the Chicago Bulls and New York Knicks, but they also have an embarrassing 28-point loss to the Philadelphia 76ersand double-digit losses to the Los Angeles Clippers and Phoenix Suns.
The Warriors are on the verge of adding scoring guard Nate Robinson to the team pending he passes his physical.
The Warriors are learning an entirely new system with former NBA analyst and player Mark Jackson taking over the team this season. The Warriors’ horrific defense from the past is making improvements under Jackson as they are ranked in the middle of the league by holding their opponents to an average of 96.6 points per game.
The Good for the Warriors
One area where the Warriors are ranked top-10 in the league in is in steals, as the Warriors average nine steals per game, which is tied for sixth in the NBA.
The Bad for the Warriors
Though Monta Ellis can fill up the scoring sheet as an individual, the Warriors struggle to score points as a team as they average 89.4 points per game, which is ranked at 25th in the league.
Investigating the Warriors offense
The Warriors are a team that attacks from the perimeter to the paint with Ellis and Curry driving and kicking out to teammates, similar to the Spurs’ attack with Parker and Ginobili. Against the Suns, 39.6% of the Warriors' points came from inside the paint while the other percentages were from the perimeter. The Warriors are led by Ellis (20 points, 5 assists, 18.5 FGA), Lee (18.8 points, 8 rebounds, 16.8 FGA), and Curry (14 points, 5 assists, 2.3 steals, 11.8 FGA). Brandon Rush (10.6 points, 8.4 FGA) is the go to man off of the bench.
Projected Line-Ups/Matchups (starters underlined)
Spurs: Tony Parker, James Anderson, T.J. Ford, Gary Neal
Warriors: Stephen Curry, Monta Ellis, Brandon Rush, Ish Smith, Klay Thompson, Charles Jenkins
Spurs: Richard Jefferson, Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green
Warriors: Dorell Wright, Chris Wright
Spurs: Tim Duncan, DeJuan Blair, Tiago Splitter, Matt Bonner, Ike Diogu
Warriors: Andris Biedrins, Dominic McGuire, Kwame Brown, Ekpe Udoh, Jeremy Tyler
Spurs: Manu Ginobili (broken 5th metacarpal), Warriors: David Lee (questionable, illness)
Even with Ginobili out, the Spurs look to have advantages on the wing, frontcourt, and in bench depth. Like the Timberwolves, all it takes is a few open shots to get the Warriors firing on all cylinders as the majority of their guards can hit from behind the arc. As long as the Spurs take care of the ball, get some scoring from the frontcourt and bench; they should be able to get their first win without Ginobili.
The spurs lose when the opponent has big team. And the warriors have. The frontline of the spurs is so thin that they depend on their shooting guards and small guards to man the interior. The signing of Ike Doigu would help but not enough. He is a journeyman who never left his niche. The apurs are reluctant to spend. Maybe preparatory to the retirement of TD, they hope to sign a big man next season. Maybe they have reached the point of rebuilding. Let us wait and see.