Saturday, February 21, 2015, 2.30pm AEDT
AFTER a groundbreaking all star weekend that saw the Splash Brothers – Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson – dazzle, the Golden State Warriors get back to the grind of the regular season against aging legends the San Antonio Spurs.
And while the Spurs hold a commanding 102-52 all time record, times have changed in 2015.
Golden State at 42 wins and just nine losses, has the best record in the NBA and is arguably the best team, along with the Atlanta Hawks.
The Spurs are comfortably in the playoff race, sitting sixth with a record of 34-19, but they’re along way off the heady play of the Warriors.
But that doesn’t mean you can discount them.
They’re arguably the best team of the past 15 years and have a habit of breaking the Warriors’ heart.
Tim Duncan, despite his advanced years, was still an all star and is still one of the premiere big men in the game.
The Big Fundamental seems to find another gear against the Warriors and you can expect, win or lose, a double double out of the future hall of famer and the Spurs greatest player.
Parker missed much of December with a hamstring strain, but coach Gregg Popovich said he’s back to about 90 percent and that spells trouble for the Warriors, who he tends to torch routinely.
After a slow start to the season that had the nay sayers writing them off, the Spurs found another gear before the all star break, winning 11 of their last 14 games, with the only blemishes being defeats at the hands of Western Conference rivals the Los Angeles Clippers and East competitors the Miami heat and the Chicago Bulls.
Last time out, they did it for Pop, giving their superstar coach his 1001st career win with a massive blow out over Detroit, 104-87 at the Palace in Auburn Hills.
Role player Danny Green led the Spurs with 19, while oft injured point guard Tony Parker dropped 17 and his back court partner in crime Manu Ginobili added 13.
It was the third road game in a row for the Spurs, who will be glad for the all star break – they have another six away in a row, starting with the Warriors at Oracle.
“Great way to finish (before the break),” Parker said of the win.
The Spurs held Detroit monsters Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe to 7-of-20 shooting.
Amazingly, Duncan and Kawhi Leonard combined for just two points on 0-of-10 shooting in the first half, before finishing with eight points a piece.
It just shows how much depth this side has and they can kill you with many weapons.
Speaking of many weapons, it’s a case of pick your poison with the Warriors.
There aren’t many NBA teams that can afford to start former all stars David Lee and Andre Iguodala on the bench.
But that’s exactly what Steve Kerr’s mob does.
What a luxury?
But, when you have arguably the best shooting back court in the history of the NBA in Curry and Thompson, a beastly defensive front court of Andrew Bogut and Draymond Green and a guy named Harrison Barnes as your fifth scoring option, it must be done.
The Warriors have wowed the NBA with their brilliant play and winning tenacity and the Spurs must brace themselves for what’s to come in front of a rabid crowd.
Curry is obviously the heart and soul, averaging 23.6 points per game, 7.9 assists per game and 2.16 steals per game, but his mate Thompson has been equally impressive filling up the basket, dropping in 22.1 ppg to round off the highest scoring back court in the game.
After back-to-back losses to the Chicago Bulls and Utah Jazz in late January, the Warriors have won six of their last seven, with their only blemish a loss to fellow NBA leader Atlanta, 124-116, in an epic battle that was without doubt the best game of the NBA season.
Just before the all star break, they had to fight hard to overcome the lowly Minnesota Timberwolves, 94-91 away from home.
Iguodala and the Brazilian blur Leandro Barbosa scored 18 points between them in keying in the reserves as Curry packed in 25 points on 9 of 23 shooting, to go with eight assists, five rebounds and three steals, as the Warriors eked out a win in their fifth game in eight nights, with four of those on the road.
Golden State Warriors win
Hard to go past the Dubs here.
They’re just too good.
For all the brilliance of Duncan, Parker, Ginobili and Leonard, those boys are the past.
Curry, Thompson and company are the future.
Look for the Warriors, who are number one in the league for scoring and assists and fifth in rebounds, to run the Spurs ragged.
There won’t be much stopping that back court. Expect Parker to get his, but to get fried on the offensive end.
We think this could be a high scoring affair, so inspect the overs if they’re around the 205-208 mark.
Suggested parlay bet
– Golden State Warriors to defeat San Antonio Spurs
– Milwaukee Bucks to defeat the Denver Nuggets
– Chicago Bulls to defeat the Detroit Pistons
We’re just going to go with a skinny three-legger this weekend.
There doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of value, despite the big card.
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With toss of the coin games including the Cleveland Cavaliers at the Washington Wizards, the Houston Rockets at the Dallas Mavericks and the Toronto Raptors at the Atlanta Hawks, we’re steering clear.
You’ve already ready why we like the Warriors to knock off San Antonio, so we’ll skip that.
We’re unabashed Bucks fans at mobilesportsbetting.com and we love what they’ve done this season. Despite losing their prized pick Jabari Parker to a season ending knee injury, point guard Brandon Knight and his band of merry men have really impressed, easily surpassing last season’s effort and turning in a 30-23 record, good enough for sixth in the east.
On the other hand, the 20-33 Denver Nuggets are in turmoil, with rumour surrounding the imminent trade of their best player, pint sized point guard Ty Lawson. They men from the Mile High City have been woefully disappointing this season and while their opponents fight for play off positioning, the Nuggs have their eyes on a sweet draft prize. Easy win to the Bucks.
The Chicago Bulls have been a frustrating side to bet on, but, while the Detroit Pistons have been better since they jettisoned dead weight Josh Smith before the all star break, we can’t see them getting up over the Bulls.
Chicago, led by Pau Gasol, Jimmy Butler, Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah, is third in the East with a 34-20 record, only two and a half games back from Toronto in second. The Pistons, who get their best work out of front men Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe – coupled with some surprising play from DJ Augustin, who has stepped up in the absence of the injured Brandon Jennings – are just 21-33, but that leaves them just two games outside the play off race in the terrible East. We can’t see them improving here, though, and Chicago should do the business.