Saturday, April 02, 2016

Wrinkles in Time for the Warriors-- and the Spurs

Golden State's loss to the Celtics on Friday night shakes up the rest of the regular season schedule, possibly for the Spurs as well as the Warriors.

The loss meant that the Warriors will not be the first team to win out at home for an entire season.  But the Spurs still can be.

The loss also means the Warriors must win one of its two remaining meetings with the Spurs to surpass the Bulls' season record by one game.

It also means that the Warriors will have to win one of its remaining two road games, either at San Antonio (where this Warriors team, like many before it, has not won) or in Memphis.  And of course, win out at home against Portland, Minnesota--and the Spurs.

What both the Warriors and to a lesser extent the Spurs do about resting their starters will likely be determined game-by-game by outcomes.  If the Warriors lose more than one game, Steve Kerr may well opt for rest.That will also depend on when the Warriors clinch the best overall record, giving them home court advantage throughout the playoffs. Which will also factor in whether or when the Spurs rest their vets.

Now the Warriors cannot tie the record by winning their home game against the Spurs.  That might lessen the pressure on the Spurs, and they might rest their veterans for that game.

But the game in San Antonio might be different.  If the Spurs haven't lost at home at that point, they would be highly motivated to go all out to win over the Warriors, so they can be the first team to win out for an entire season.  If the Warriors still have the 73 win possibility, they too will send out their starters.  But if either or both conditions don't pertain, this game may well be played by backups.

As for the Celtics game, the Warriors most prominent vulnerability was in evidence: turnovers.   Also the loss of Andrew Bogut in the second half allowed Boston to keep pace offensively.  Steph Curry and the team made adjustments to free Curry in the second half, but Klay Thompson was stifled--that's a problem.  Still, the tying shot rattled off the rim at the end of the gain, and there wasn't enough time for Curry to reload.  

In the end, of course, it's one game at a time.  And Sunday's game against Portland is no gimme, especially with Bogut listed as questionable, and neither Iguodala or Ezeili apparently ready to play.

No comments: